‘Subtext’ refers to unseen messages or implications found in creative work. As it suggests, subtext is a written phenomenon, but it shows up in different ways. Subtext is how Walt Whitman expressed homoerotic observations in Leaves of Grass; how most Dr. Seuss books are arguably about the negative environmental impact of consumerism; how the plot of Stranger Things could promote colonialism and imperialism; how Elvis’ “Blue Christmas” may not refer to the colour of his mood. Subtext can be rooted in truth or conspiracy, or both.
Because I see or perceive subtext everywhere these days — especially in media, manifest as bias — I wonder if people see subtext in Discorder. And then I wonder if the masthead isn’t trying to send messages to our readers. Doesn’t all independent media passionately seek to tug the world in a certain direction? At the very least, don’t we strive to convince you of our worth?
Last year’s Winter Issue featured Kimmortal on the cover, photographed by Matthew Power. It was one of several photographs we considered. The cover photo we chose wasn’t the strongest of the shoot, but Kim’s smile had an effect on us. The masthead spent longer than usual deliberating on that cover. Following the U.S. presidential election, following political decisions in Canada (alluded to in last year’s Editor’s Note), the issue felt high stakes. When the masthead arrived at a consensus, it was because of a message we wanted to convey to you, our readers: smile in hope, smile in resistance.
This month’s cover is a photograph by Victoria-based photographer, Betsy Frost. As with Kimmortal’s cover last year, it required some discussion, but not as much. We’re confident about this year’s message, carried across the issue through words and imagery:
2018, we’re ready.