Naked belief?

Believer editor Heidi Julavits is opposed not only to stinging critiques of fiction, but also to harsh judgment of exposed flesh and hot tub water smelling of rotten eggs — “in fact,” she says, “a pleasant smell.”

I know, I know, so what? Girl likes her hot tub and loves her body (see the accompanying bio), and there’s no need to be a bitter old bag about it, right?

Here’s the thing. Sometimes we at can’t tell whether the Observer’s The Transom is being serious (see, e.g., a past heartwarming tale in which the phrase “summering in the Hamptons” is decoded), but we will direct you nevertheless to the Believer staff naked body mystery hunt.

Are the people pictured in the photograph above, which appeared alongside Julavits’ article, actually staffers at the magazine? (And if so, is this really what it takes to sell print literary magazines nowadays? Was this what Ruminator’s Susannah McNeely needed to do? Will young authors now be expected to appear naked in their dust jacket photos? Can you excuse me while I go vomit copiously into the toilet? — Thanks. Better now.)

Updates: It seems that Believer-affiliated people are, in fact, pictured.

One reader (probably speaking for many) takes issue with the implication that the magazine could be “pandering to flash mongers” to sell copies, and says, if they were, “don’t you think they’d feature Heidi [Julavits] and Vendela [Vida] who are both very attractive as opposed to guys who, well, aren’t?”


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