In order to sell magazines, today’s most common trend is to create controversy. We sell everything like sex, secrets and hidden affairs. If these create shock in the readers, the magazine stands the chance of topping the charts. Today most controversial pictures appear not in the covers of B-grade magazines, but in the covers of respected news weeklies like Time, Newsweek and Rolling Stone. Here are some of the eye-popping magazine covers that may provoke your thought and challenge your decency.
This controversial picture of a woman with her nearly 4-year-old son appeared on Time magazine on May 21, 2012. The picture shows an American blogger and mother Jamie Lynne Grumet breastfeeding her three-year-old son Aram. As soon as the issue came out, it began to go viral. It kindled reaction from all around. The image has stirred intense debate concerning not just attachment parenting but also the appropriateness of the cover. Is it too provocative?
A storming image of English singer and songwriter John Lennon with his wife Yoko Ono captured on the Jan. 22, 1981 cover of Rolling Stone. He posed for the magazine just before the day of his murder. Initially, he intented to pose alone, but later he decided to include his wife as well. She was fully dressed up while he lay naked, hugging her. Rolling Stone published the photo just a month after his death as a tribute to this ex-Beatle. The American Society of Magazine Editors attached it to the list of the greatest magazine cover of the past 40 years.
The August 1991 issue of Vanity Fair revealed the unseen side of Demi Moore. The American actress, seven-months pregnant with her daughter Scout LaRue, was photographed entirely nude by the photographer Annie Leibovitz. In that picture, she shielded her breast with her right hand while her left hand held her enlarged tummy. She is the first celebrity to appear entirely naked though she is not the last. Many, including stars like Cindy Crawford, Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson, followed her. The most thought out controversies were on whether it a sleazy objectification of a pregnant Hollywood star, or was it a powerful symbol of female empowerment? What ever is the answer, it definitely sparked public attention.
The New Yorker
The New Yorker published an illustration by the cartoonist Barry Blitt in the cover of the July 2008 issue. In that picture, Obama dressed like an al-Qaeda terrorist and while the first lady Michelle is seen sporting an AK-47. She knocks knuckles with him at the Oval Office. You can also see the American flag burning in the fireplace and a picture of Osama bin Laden hanging on the wall. The illustration was intended to serve as a satire on the scary policies of then-Senator Barack Obama’s detractors during his presidential campaign. But in contrast, it termed as highly insulting. A spokesperson for the Obama campaign called it “tasteless and offensive.”
Wired magazine presented an image of Apple’s logo wearing a crown of thorns to go with its cover story, ’101 Ways to Save Apple’ in its June 1997 issue. They published this image soon after Steve Jobs rejoined Apple. Depicting the impending death of the biggest brand on the planet, at the time, was bound to stir up trouble. The graphical power of this cover is amazing and the desperation of Apple is evident.
Religious matters have always been regarded as sensitive issues. Time magazine’s cover from April 8, 1966 provoked much controversy. “Is God Dead” written in red font against a black background inflamed public anger. It really hurt the ego of the religious persuaders. The article inside that cover which preached the death of god instigated the readers.
After 11 years of her infamous wardrobe malfunction during the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show, Janet Jackson intentionally goes topless for Rolling Stone magazine cover in September 1993. The article connected to the picture titled “Janet Jackson – The Joy of Sex.” This black and white photo was taken by Patrick Demarchelier. It depicts Jackson with her careless hands resting atop her head and the top button of her loosely fitting jeans is bare open. The lucky one who is holding the breast is none other than her own husband René Elizondo, Jr.
Newsweek magazine pictured Obama under a rainbow halo with tagline The First Gay President.” A week before this cover photo, Obama has announced his support for same-sex marriage. They say that the president’s decision to support the gay marriage was well calculated.
American football player O. J. Simpson was acquitted of the murder of his wife, Nicole in 1995. It resulted in a widely publicized and highly controversial trial. In June 1994, the TIME Magazine pictured a darkened image of Simpson’s famous mugshot as its front cover. At that time, he was on trial for murdering his wife. Critics called the cover racist and argued that the photo was manipulated in order to make him appear more menacing. The magazine eventually issued an apology.
In order to mark the intensity of war, a striking harrowing image was appeared in the front cover of the November 1965 issue of LIFE Magazine after the ten years of Vietnam War. It was photographed by famous Paul Schutzer. The photo depicts a Viet Cong POW gagged and bound, his eyes and mouth covered with duct tape by American forces. Consequently, it opened many readers’ eyes and hearts. This image helped spark public protest against the Vietnam War.Further Reading
- Howard Stern: Divorce ‘felt like such a failure’ – USA Today
- Rolling Stone’s top five albums of 2010 – CNN International
- Rolling Stone Rep Clears Up Bieber Abortion Comments – Contactmusic.com
- Harman Family Committed to Newsweek, Despite Death – Wall Street Journal
- Wife axed to death by husband in Lucknow – Daily News & Analysis
- Lady Gaga’s Vogue Cover Leaks Online – MTV.com
- Sharon ‘safe’ after man banned – The Press Association
- Sarah Palin: Give Me Dessert or Give Me Death! – The Stir
- Media Shorts – Wall Street Journal
- Taylor Swift Is ‘A Pretty Normal Girl,’ Emma Stone Says – MTV.com