Cuomo now selling weird poster celebrating New York's coronavirus ... triumph?

There’s no difference between this and, say, a scenario in which Bush sold a playfully kitschy poster in late 2005 memorializing the feds’ response to Hurricane Katrina.

Well, one difference. Wa-a-a-a-ay more people died on Cuomo’s watch in New York from the pandemic than died during the storm 15 years ago.

Believe it or not, this monstrosity is now available for pre-order on New York State’s official governor’s website. (At $14.50, it’s supposedly being sold at cost, not for profit.) If you want to memorialize a state government failure with few equals in American history but you also want to do it in an unbearably twee way, reserve your copy now. Click the image in the tweet for the full image:

State senator Zellnor Myrie reacted yesterday with puzzlement when it went online: “I mean this with 0% snark: how is this not wildly offensive? This is an artful monument to death and tragedy being sold by the state. I’m legit perplexed.” Myrie’s a Democrat, just like Cuomo.

The strangest thing about it isn’t that Cuomo would feel the urge to commemorate this catastrophe or even that he’d choose to do it in such an offbeat way, although both of those are … really strange. (The intro on the governor’s website begins, “I love history. I love poster art.”) The strangest thing is how jokey and personal some of the allusions in the poster are. Cuomo’s daughters are depicted, as is his Pontiac GTO muscle car. Zoom in and you’ll find an image of “boyfriend cliff,” which no one can make sense of but which I assume refers to some of the parental advice Cuomo would occasionally dispense during his endless “golden boy” media tour at the height of New York’s crisis. A Twitter pal notes:

That’s exactly it. It looks like something a high-school kid would design for a circle of friends filled with in-jokes to commemorate senior year. From Cuomo’s perspective, with the media fawning over his daily briefings and his job approval soaring, the pandemic probably does seem a bit like senior year. It was hard — but fun! — and by the time it was over everyone had bonded and could have a laugh about it. Remember, this is a guy who was regularly interviewed about the crisis on a major cable “news” network by his own brother. Of course he has an unserious, egocentric perspective on what his state’s just been though.

Or is this strategic? Maybe the only way to persuade people that New York’s unmatched spike in deaths and Cuomo’s disastrous policy of sending infected patients back into nursing homes weren’t as terrible as they think is to try to convince them that they should regard what they’ve been through as a fond memory. (“Honey, remember when we used to snuggle on the couch and watch Cuomo every day at noon to find out how many people had died?”) This isn’t the first time, in fact, that he’s embraced the visual image of a steep epidemic curve even though that’s been the worst-case scenario since day one of the pandemic. The whole point of lockdowns was to flatten the curve and prevent massive death and hospitalizations; New York moved so belatedly on that that they failed to avert exponential growth, finally seeing a reduction in cases only after tens of thousands of their most vulnerable residents died. To return to the analogy up top, it’d be like Bush highlighting imagery of people drowning to “celebrate” the Katrina response.

I’ll leave you with this reaction from Jake Tapper. The YouTube title for the video of Cuomo’s appearance on Fallon last night, by the way, is “Gov. Andrew Cuomo on New York Reopening and His Dating Life.” Senior year, man. College applications are stressful but hopefully you at least get laid after prom!