Dear Time Magazine: Seriously?

Dear Time Magazine:

If you’re wondering why I don’t pick on Newsweek, here’s the reason. It’s hard to take them seriously anymore (Especially after the Princess Di cover).

You, on the other hand, have a long and distinguished record. You have a remarkable publishing pedigree and are still considered the number one domestic newsweekly of record.

Because this is primarily a blog about single copy sales, let me first congratulate you on what will most likely be a successful strategy with your cover image this week. No doubt, your unit sales will show a significant increase. I bet you’ll sell out at most airports. Your bookstore sales will be through the roof. And for the first time in a long time, whatever remaining checkout pockets you have in supermarkets or drugstores will pay for themselves.  The cover image was trenchant, obvious, controversial, linked to an article that didn’t need to be controversial, but will be but not because of it’s content, but because of the cover image.

Congratulations! You sold out and stirred the pot! On Mother’s Day Weekend.

It’s just too bad that you decided to try and reignite the “Mommy Wars” during an election year?

I mean, #Comeonson! Really? A four year old boy standing on a chair breast feeding? A cover line “Are you Mom Enough?” Released on Mother’s Day weekend? Props to your marketing department! I bet what’s left of your single copy sales department will be tired come the end of the week.

But was it necessary? Was it newsworthy?

Feminists often talk about a persons “agency.” I understand this to mean that a person has the ability to make their own choices and accept the responsibility for them. Women, in particular, should have agency when it comes to the home, work, child rearing. How they carry children, choose to birth to them,  nourish them in their earliest years, should primarily be their decisions. After all, in all of those cases, the child will be a part of mother’s body and it is her body. It should be her choice. Who are we to judge? In the long history of this world, can we really point to one time in history and say “These people did it right?

After all, I think it was the Mayans who used wooden planks to shape their children’s heads. They approved of that.

The Romans, who our Founding Fathers revered, “exposed” unwanted children (Something now guaranteed to get you on the 11:00 news).

There was really nothing in that article that screamed “cover story” as I read it. There is nothing in the article that suggests a full out revolution of “attachment” parenting. While the article is interesting, it is not revolutionary.

Apparently the retailers who carry the magazine have yawned, said, “No big deal” and moved on. While this is an improvement over what has happened in past years, it makes me wonder: Is it because the image wasn’t considered “controversial”? Or was it because we’ve finally managed to make the retail marketing of magazines that much more marginal?

So good luck with your increased sales. Will people remember the story of Dr. Sears a week from now? Nope, but they may remember the mom breastfeeding a four year old. They may remember sudden flare up on blogs covering the “Mommy Wars.”

In other words, they will have missed the point.

6 Replies to “Dear Time Magazine: Seriously?”

  1. Not Controversial > Magazines Marginal
    “I bet what’s left of your single copy sales department will be tired come the end of the week.” Yep!

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