Saturday, December 16, 2017

The most controversial U.S. magazine covers of 2017

In this age of outrage, people are easily triggered by things with which they disagree.
Quite a few magazine covers set people off this year for a variety of reasons.
What follows is a summary of the U.S. magazine covers that caused the most controversy in 2017.

Mediocre-quarterback-turned-social-justice-warrior Colin Kaepernick proved to be a polarizing figure in 2017. Depending on your perspective, he’s either a showboating player who wanted to draw attention to himself as he rode the bench or a selfless crusader for racial justice.
GQ magazine drew criticism when it put Kaepernick on its cover and named him “Citizen of the Year,” overlooking arguably more worthy candidates.
(See articles by the Daily Mail and the New York Post.)

When Sports Illustrated did a cover story on protests by professional athletes, it caught flak for leaving Kaepernick off its composite image.
(See articles by the Washington Post, SB Nation, the Root, and the Federalist.)

Newsweek raised eyebrows with its Aug. 11 cover that depicted President Donald Trump as a slovenly couch potato and called him “Lazy Boy.” But that cover was tame compared to Trump’s treatment by foreign magazines. (More on that in a follow-up post.)
(See articles by the Huffington Post, Fox Business, Boston Globe and Salon.)

Rolling Stone was criticized for its fawning hero worship of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on its Aug. 10 cover. It carried the cover line “Justin Trudeau: Why Can’t He Be Our President?”
(See articles by the Huffington Post, the Blaze and the Ottawa Sun.)

Another cover that set off gag reflexes was the July 24 issue of New York magazine, which featured lovebird political commentators (and Trump critics) MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. (See article by the National Review titled “That Joe and Mika New York Magazine Cover Is Why Everyone Hates the Media.”)

Interview magazine got tongues wagging with its September issue. Its cover depicted reality TV personality Kim Kardashian West as First Lady and done up like Jackie Kennedy. (See articles by Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, the Daily Mail and the Daily Beast.)

New York magazine’s July 10-23 cover stirred up a hornet’s nest with its alarmist global warming cover story.
(See article by Mashable and Twitter Moments commentary.)

Newsweek got a prickly response to its cover story about women fighting against systemic sexual harassment. The cover illustration showed a balloon penis being popped with a pin.
(See articles by the Huffington Post, Slate and Splinter.)

Tennis star Serena Williams became the latest pregnant celebrity to pose for a magazine cover, with the August issue of Vanity Fair. Now some people are saying enough is enough with this clich├ęd cover.
(See articles by the Washington Post and Vox.)

The Hollywood Reporter was slammed for its lack of diversity on its all-male cover story on CNN.
(See articles by the Daily Mail and the Washington Post.)

Vogue apologized for its August cover story, which mischaracterized “gender fluidity.” It suggested that heterosexual couple Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik are gender fluid because they sometimes borrow each other’s clothing.
(See articles by CBS News, the Daily Mail and Statesman.)

In August, Paper magazine was accused of heavily Photoshopping singer Mariah Carey on its Las Vegas issue cover.
(See articles by the Mirror, Daily Telegraph and AceShowbiz.)

In November, Paper magazine set the internet on fire with its cover photo showing rapper-singer Nicki Minaj in triplicate and performing sex acts on herself.
(See articles by the Daily Mail, TooFab, AV Club, CBS News and US Magazine.)

In September, actress and wannabe lifestyle maven Gwyneth Paltrow was ridiculed for her cover photo on the premiere issue of her magazine Goop. Paltrow posed topless and covered in mud.
(See articles by Page Six, Huffington Post and People.)

People magazine ticked off a lot of people when it named country music star Blake Shelton as this year’s “Sexiest Man Alive” cover celebrity.
(See articles by the Los Angeles Times and Business Insider.)

People magazine also came under fire for its June 12 cover, which implied that Jennifer Garner gave an interview to the publication about life after her breakup with cheating husband Ben Affleck.
(See articles by the Huffington Post, USA Today and the Hollywood Reporter.)

Lady Gaga got pulses racing with her cover of V magazine when she exposed the bottoms of her breasts with a bit of areola.
(See articles by E Online, InStyle and Us magazine.)

Speaking of underboob with a hint of areola, Hustler magazine risked offending Muslims with its 43rd anniversary issue. The cover featured a model braless model wearing an American flag as a hijab that slightly exposed one breast.
(See articles by Yahoo, Fox News and Xbiz.)

Friday, December 15, 2017

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame slowly inducting overlooked acts

A lot of rock music fans were shocked that Radiohead wasn’t selected for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in its first year of eligibility. But if fans know anything about the hall’s selection process, they shouldn’t be surprised.
Radiohead is booked for a concert in Argentina on the night of the induction ceremony. Rather than inducting a no-show, the selection committee simply picked other nominees. Radiohead almost certainly will get enshrined in the hall, but it likely will have to wait until their willing and available.
In the meantime, the rock hall is inducting several long-overlooked artists for inclusion, including Bon Jovi, the Moody Blues and the Cars. It announced its 2018 class of inductees on Wednesday.
Critics say the latest inductee list isn’t very influential or edgy. But those names do have mainstream appeal and should help draw attention to the hall and its annual concert.
Over the last nine years, I’ve written about acts that I felt deserved to go in the hall but were snubbed for various reasons. A number of those artists have since been inducted including Rush, Genesis, Heart, Yes, Journey and KISS.
Others on my list still haven’t made the cut. They include Boston, Cheap Trick, Def Leppard, INXS, The Cure, The Damned, The Go-Go’s, Joy Division, New Order, The Smiths and Siouxsie & the Banshees.
The best resource for keeping up with what’s going on with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is Future Rock Legends. I also like the analysis found on E-rockracy and Rock Hall Monitors.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Clickbait cuties: Cheerleaders and athletes

Someday if someone is researching the history of clickbait, I hope they stumble on my website as a resource. I’ve documented a range of practices used by clickbait purveyors.
One of the most common tactics is the use of pretty young women, because sex sells. As long as men have sex drives, they’ll be interested in looking at attractive ladies.
What follows are some recent examples of clickbait creators using cheerleaders and beautiful athletes to promote their articles and pictorials.

This clickbait article used a photo of a Houston Texans cheerleader striking a sexy pose.

Tennessee Titans cheerleaders shake their stuff at a game in October 2016.

Taboola used a photo of a cheerleader from Iowa State University for its article titled “Which college from Virginia is the hardest to get into.” Someone needs a geography lesson.


An Outbrain article used a photo of Finnish swimmer Emilia Pikkarainen, now Emilia Bottas.

A clickbait article titled “Former athletic sensation is now unrecognizable” uses photos of Paraguayan model, actress and former athlete Leryn Franco.

Another clickbait article used the exact same headline with photos of Australian hurdler and model Michelle Jenneke.

Clickbait favorite Allison Stokke

Clickbait purveyors love to use photos of little-known female beauties to entice men to click on their articles.
Often these are Instagram hotties like Anastasia Kvitko, Anna Nystrom and Jean Watts or historical hotties like Brigitte Bardot.
Lately their go-to gal for sexy pictorials is fitness model Allison Stokke.
What follows is a sample of some of the clickbait articles featuring Stokke that I’ve seen recently.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Lying clickbait: Sloppy mistakes or deliberate errors?

Sometimes with erroneous clickbait I wonder if the people who created it are just being sloppy and grabbing the wrong photo or are being intentionally misleading. I tend to think it’s the latter.
Creators of clickbait like to exploit the curiosity gap by using a photo that doesn’t match the headline or article. It’s a way to trick people to click on an article.
What follows are some recent examples.

A Taboola sponsored article titled “Guy on Twitter just noticed this in the movie Forrest Gump and now everyone can’t unsee it!” used a photo of actress Jennifer Grey from “Dirty Dancing” (1987).

Another Taboola article titled “GOT actors who look way different in real life” used a photo of actress Evangeline Lilly. Lilly was never in “Game of Thrones,” known as GOT to fans.

An Outbrain sponsored article titled “Unforgettable sports moments caught on camera” inexplicably used a photo of Instagram model and aspiring singer Claire Abbott.
Last March, I noted that Abbott’s pictures were used to promote a clickbait article titled “Photos from jaw-dropping actresses from the past!
Abbott is neither an athlete nor an actress, but she is a popular subject of clickbait articles. A recent Taboola article titled “Meet the girl who broke the internet with one photo” used a picture of Abbott.

Finally, a clickbait post on Yahoo titled “Wondered why Anna Kournikova never got married?” used three photos: two of Kournikova and one of Maria Sharapova. Both are attractive Russian tennis players, but Sharapova was much better at the sport.

 Anna Kournikova

Maria Sharapova

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