TIME Magazine covers are cultural benchmarks for us as a society. I remember even in elementary school seeing the classic red-framed periodicals on display in the library and recognizing that they were something important.
Those covers, those arbiters of truth, letting us know THE number one story or issue going on in the world.
Or at least, that’s what I thought they were…
It turns out that TIME changes the cover of their U.S. edition from what the rest of the world sees (props to Daily Kos for compiling all this). Recently, their other 3 markets, Europe/Middle East, Asia, and the South Pacific, all saw a stark image of the President with the ominous title “Obama’s Iran Gamble.” We here in America saw a hunter-friendly cover of a deer with the words “America’s Pest Problem” above it.
What the hell, TIME?
In a past issue, a militant cover proclaiming a “Revolution Redux” was on newsstands around the world while we were spoonfed a cartoon with the slogan “Why Anxiety Is Good For You.” In another, the global population was tantalized with a ghostly cover about Gaddafi’s "Last Stand"; we Americans were marketed a trite cover about "Understanding Pain.” When the rest of the world was being informed about “Why Germany Can’t Save The World,” we were being assuaged with “Why Mom Liked You Best.”
Are you kidding me?!
I mean, I know the average American isn’t—to quote a famous Yogi—smarter than your average bear, but do we really have to have our ignorance and self-indulgence placated to like this? Have we officially become so xenophobic that we have to get spoken to like the elementary school student that I once was?
TIME isn’t full of morons (like apparently the rest of America?). It doesn’t make these cover-change decisions by flipping a coin. It most likely took a lot of research data about its readership and went with what sold the best. And this is what we as an audience have chosen, through our dollars, to endorse. We want to know about our anxiety, our pain, and our family dynamics more than the fates of nations and the economies of the world.
And this, America, is why we can’t have nice things.