Hillary Clinton: Angels Are Guiding My Lite!” proclaimed the cover of the National Examiner. But it was a typical tabloid bait-and-switch tactic.

They offered the testimony of an unnamed source that Ms. Rodham Clinton believes angels will “guide and protect her, Bill and Chelsea throughout the next four years.” And they had a photo of an angel lapel pin she wears. But the best proof they could offer was a brief prayer in which the First Lady didn’t mention angels at all. Nevertheless, the tabloid’s source was quick to say, “I’m certain that this was really a plea to her angels.”

At last angels have joined the ranks of the late Elvis, the polyandrous Liz, and the racially ambivalent Michael as cultural icons for America’s Slim-Fast-swilling, soap opera-watching millions.

But the angels of popular culture are more like celestial versions of the fairy godmother from Disney’s Cinderella than they are like the mighty archangel Michael who successfully drove the Devil and his evil angels from heaven and exiled them to earth.

The angels of the tabloids are cosmic mascots who use magical powers to make our lives just a little sweeter than they might have been. Perhaps that is why the Examiner juxtaposed its Hillary Clinton headline next to one about the healing power of crystals.

Want to tell angel facts from current fads? Look to Timothy Jones’s article beginning on page 18.

Cover artist Michael Annino himself has a special interest in angels. He was not named for an Uncle Mike or even the Mikey from the Life cereal box. He was named for that warrior archangel. When he was a boy, artist Michael’s mother gave him a medal portraying Saint Michael, which he wore faithfully for many years. He has long enjoyed reading about angels, but our cover was his first professional opportunity to paint one.

DAVID NEFF, Managing

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