Dear Newsweek Critics: If That’s Porn, Then I’m a Hottentot…

A few months back I took umbrage with a Time Magazine  story and cover image. This was not because I thought the cover image was shocking or disgusting like many critics did. No, I disliked the image and the coverlines because I thought the magazine unfairly stirred up controversy by asking women if they were “Mom” enough like the breast feeding woman portrayed on their cover.

In my opening paragraph on the topic, I mentioned that I wasn’t picking on Newsweek because it’s  so hard to take them seriously anymore. This was especially true after their “Lady Di At 50″ fiasco.

This week Newsweek finds itself being taken to task on a whole host of fronts for their “Food Porn” cover. What are the alleged “porn”y aspects of the cover? The red lips? The two rather, ahem, small stocks of asparagus posed over the model’s open mouth?

Ummm, No. That is not porn…

This is all a shame because I’d actually like to know what the “101 Best Places to Eat in The World” are. I’d also like to read some of the other articles promoted on the front cover. But not because of the cover image.

As other writers have pointed out, the photo that Newsweek used for it’s cover is stock. It was last used in the U.K.’s “Observer Food Monthly” in 2008.

Now that, folks, strikes me as a rather shocking failure of editorial control. Laugh at Newsweek all you want. They still have a fairly large circulation and their combined print and digital strength is nothing to sneeze at. So if they make that kind of mistake it tells you that the host is rather sick.

As to the so called “porn” aspects of the image…

Oh please. No really. Grow up!

No,  I have to ask: Seriously? If this is all it takes to get writers and editorialists into a tizzy, then I think we have to question the conventional wisdom that says that porn has gone “mainstream” in America.

Look, I’ve worked in the world of print porn. This is not exactly something that I am proud of. However, it’s not something I am ashamed of either. It’s just a fact of life in the newsstand world. If you work in our little backwater of the publishing universe, at some point in time, everything circles back to porn. Like it or not, whatever your opinion, at some point samples of the stuff winds up on your desk.

Or at least it used to.

Porn: Ughhh. I’ve sold it. Represented it. Promoted it. Done signings with models. Hell, I’ve checked rack fixtures in adult book shops all over the states of Michigan, Ohio and Indiana (This is a recurring nightmare of mine). I’d like to think that I know what porn looks like.

The Newsweek cover is not porn. It’s not even mildly sexy.

As political blogger Taylor Marsh opines:

“Cue heavy breathing and the R rating and for God’s sake hide the children!”

This isn’t even mildly intersting PG-13 stuff. This is stuff that got a PG-13 rating so 14 year old boys wouldn’t feel so bad when their parents force them to take their 11 year old brothers out to the movies for a Sunday afternoon.

At the end of the day (or choose some other over used “Business Speak” phrase that suits you), the interesting aspect of this story is how Newsweek managed to re-use a stock photo for a cover. Now that strikes me as mildly shocking.

For the record: This is what a porn magazine looks like:

Any questions?

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3 Responses to Dear Newsweek Critics: If That’s Porn, Then I’m a Hottentot…

  1. NEiLc says:

    The stock photo doesn’t surprise me when Morning Joe type pundits say they’re on the way to only publishing a Web edition.

    • Well if the pundits say that they’re on their way to digital only, that would clearly suggest that they are, instead, well on their way to launching several new print publications and raising a few hundred million dollars from digital investors….

  2. Pingback: Sadly, It Really Does All Come Back to Porn | From the Foredeck of the Titanic

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