Who Looks At The Cover, Anyway?
Posted by chrisbrockman
LOS ANGELES — In my youth, I subscribed to a quite a few magazines; Sports Illustrated was my first (I’ve been a continuous subscriber since 1996), ESPN The Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, GQ, Details, Playboy, the old Beckett sports card price guide and Time. I’ve always liked to read, to be informed and up-to-date on the latest whatever going on around us. It’s why I only read non-fiction books. There’s something more interesting to me about real events, real peoples’ stories of trouble and triumph. Often, the truth is so unbelievable and captivating there’s no time left for dragons and vampires, wizards and whatever else; isn’t that what HBO is for, anyway?
Part of the fun of being a multiple magazine subscriber (that just sounds dirty) is playing the guessing game of who’s going to be on the cover. For something like Sports Illustrated, you can generally narrow it down to a few stories, since it’s a recap of the previous week (usually). For entertainment rags, if someone has a big movie coming out or it’s near premiere week in television, you can make a solid inquiry as to whom may grace their front page; Playboy, who knows, though there’s generally no complaints, aside from those nine times a man has appeared on the front.
This week, though, Time has shaken the bees nest by putting 26-year old Jaime Lynne Grumet and her 3-year old son on its cover. Except, in a twist, her son has his lips firmly planted on her nipple. Yup, right there on the cover. Mouth on teet. And both are staring directly at you staring at them while it happens. Go ahead, scroll up and look at the cover some more. Click on it, make it bigger and then come back and finish reading, I won’t mind … did you get enough? Do it again. I’ll wait.
Now, what do you think about that?
Time Managing Editor Richard Stengel doesn’t have a problem with it and why should he? His magazine is getting national pub on every channel and local news station from coast to coast. It’s an American thing not to have nudity on our magazine covers or in our commercials, but still, it’s kinda shocking to see, no? I guess I don’t really have a problem with it, I don’t think. The thing is, I’m guessing Time has seen its circulation numbers tanking worse than an NBA team in recent years and figured it had to do something “shocking” to make headlines and get people talking (as if naming the “Protestor” person of the year wasn’t bad enough). Denis Leary tweeted out he was more shocked Time Magazine still existed. Exactly. Consumers don’t really get their news from magazines like Time or Newsweek anymore — that’s what the internet is for — so why not this? At the very least it might bump on-the-rack sales.
Well, it worked on me, so I decided to read a little about Miss Grumet and find out why she lets her nearly 4-year old’s mouth anywhere near her breasts. As it turns out, she’s a big fan of this thing called “attachment parenting” and even was breast fed by her mom until she was 6 (!!?!). I was learning how to play baseball and conquer Donkey Kong on my Coleco Vision at age 6, in case you were wondering.
Grumet says she remembers breastfeeding (think about your earliest memory … didn’t include your mom’s boob, did it?? didn’t think so) and did it because her parents were nutritionists. “It’s really warm,” she told Kate Pickert. “It’s like embracing your mother, like a hug. You feel comforted, nurtured and really, really loved. I had so much self-confidence as a child, and I know it’s from that. I never felt like she would ever leave me. I felt that security.”
Uuuuhhh. Sure. I have ZERO recollection of sucking on BrockmanMary’s teet and I grew up feeling loved and are self confident. Grumet goes on, saying she feels she can’t reason with those who say breastfeeding her grown children disturbing and unnatural (shocking), and that her hope is the more people see it, the more it’ll be accepted as normal. (Should mention here Grumet also lets her 6-year old adopted son suck the teet once a month or so.)
Look, I don’t think this type of parenting is going to catch on but what do I know. I sure hope not. I mean, we’re already raising a generation of pussies (that’s a complete separate post) here in America so it’s not like this is going to help negate that notion. The bottom line is, people raise their kids how they want to raise them. If and when I have kids, I’ll raise them a certain way, too.
I just won’t be on the cover of some no-longer relevant magazine trying to convince people it’s the right way.