Fug File: Fug The Cover

Fug or Fab the Covers: Taylor Swift, Recently

She is vaguely unrecognizable in these, am I right? Not in a way where I think she’s been overly Photoshopped. More in a way where she’s just been styled and photographed in a way that’s different enough from her usual that it warrants a second look.

[Photos: Australian Vogue, GQ]


Fug the Cover: The Kardashians and Jenners on Cosmopolitan, November 2015

Oh, Cosmo. I wonder if you’re just trolling us now.

Cosmopolitan - November 2015 - Newsstand

America has a First Family. It lives in the White House. Calling these ladies “America’s First Family” and handing them a cover that’s air-mailed direct from one of Kris Jenner’s wildest dreams feels like trying to break the Internet again. Also, there is no way to show us the Kardashians “like you’ve never seen them before” unless the theme is “in medical school” or “working in a toll booth.” Kylie continues to look like a dead-eyed, tousled Kim 2.0, and half of Kris Jenner’s face look like it came from a completely different picture.

Using the words “epic ass” on the cover in the same orbit as one of the most infamous rumps on the planet was an interesting piece of whimsy, though. Or was it an accident? I just noticed the word “sex” is not on this cover anywhere, so maybe “epic ass” was an attempt to keep things genital-adjacent.

Beyond those things, though, I have larger notes.

1. Consider the quote being sent around for publicity, from Ryan Seacrest: “What’s more, they present acceptance. You look at Bruce and now Caitlyn — you see the power of a family to come together when it would be so easy to fall apart.” I would indeed love to look at Caitlyn. Where is she?​

2. I’m not saying everything this family does has to involve both parents. I certainly can’t presume to know the nitty-gritty of that relationship, what it ever truly was, or how it might have changed. But it’s fact now that a Women of the Jenndashian Family cover isn’t complete without one particular woman. Think of the statement it could have made, having Caitlyn on here. Not even at the center — obviously Kris would give up that spot over her own mummified body — but just there, present, part of the crew Cosmo is presenting as the ultimate in powerful and bonded women. It would illustrate the statement Ryan Seacrest made in words. A picture would’ve been worth a thousand of them.

3. The absence of Caitlyn on this cover is therefore striking and, to me, pointed. Yes, I realize the story itself probably touches on her, but that’s buried inside. That’s not the image being peddled. Everything these people do is studied and calculated and coordinated, and Caitlyn’s transition magnified the microscope on these people in a way I doubt even they realized was possible. They know people are watching. Most of them used the same combination of words in their tweets and quotes about Caitlyn’s Vanity Fair cover, as if there was a family social media strategy meeting about it (which there probably was). And I guarantee it has not been forgotten that Caitlyn went public with that the same day Kim announced her pregnancy, overshadowing it completely. In underlining this exact image as being representative of their family unit, they know exactly, exactly, what they’re doing, and the question is why and what it means. As I mentioned in point 3, Kris certainly doesn’t have to do everything with her ex, and the kids don’t have to do everything with Caitlyn, who both is and isn’t their father (and what that was like for them, only they truly know). But again, this isn’t just some random family photo. This is one of the most managed families in the world proclaiming THIS group, right here, as the one true Kardashian/Jenner Family Unit. It’s just… I keep coming back to “intriguing” and “pointed,” because it’s both.

4. Yes, Cosmo is a lady mag, but consider what any of this means to Rob, too. Do they even remember he exists? Because it certainly comes across as if they hope no one else does.

[Photos: Cosmopolitan]


Fug the Cover: Oprah Winfrey on O Magazine

I don’t subscribe to O, but it randomly shows up at my house anyway — as do TV Guide and Seventeen, among others. So please imagine the look on my face when this arrived through my mail slot:

oprah winfrey o magazine 2015

Granted, there was an address label covering the bit at the bottom which explains there is an “Oprah Through The Ages” story, so I didn’t know until right now that it had an (alleged) hook. However, even knowing there is a thin thread of rational thought doesn’t REALLY make this work, because IT IS TOO HILARIOUS. If that is even her body, I feel like this has to have been the most awkward photoshoot of all time, convincing Oprah to look like she would ever be caught dead in that hat. My personal contention is that they hired a body double, because Oprah would rather eat nails baked in Martha Stewart’s DNA than put any of these clothes on her body, and they photoshopped her face in later. And EVEN THEN, nobody could find a face of hers that took this seriously, so her body says, “I’m just sitting on Gordon and Maria’s stoop on Sesame Street waiting for Mr. Hooper to open the store,” but her face says, “If I were not being paid handsomely for this, I would light this studio on fire and then drink wine while stomping on its ashes.” All the more amazing when you realize the cover line bleats about your COMFORT ZONE and how to find it. This could not be less her comfort zone if it were QVC and she were hosting a segment selling colon cleansers.


Fug or Fab the Covers: Various Elle Magazines, October and November 2015

It’s always risky to make your cover subject turn fully away from the camera, but in this case, I think it works.

[Photos: Elle]


Fug or Heh the Cover: Gwyneth Paltrow on Conde Nast Traveler

There are actually some things I like about this crazy throwback-style approach:

gwyneth paltrow conde nast traveler crazy cover

Now, in fairness, the retro-flavored Conde Nast Traveler logo debuted in January of this year, so it isn’t just for the GOOP issue – but it has been used to BETTER old-vibe effect here, while on some others it’s not obtrusive and just coexists nicely rather than rubbing off on the art. This just feels REALLY Wayback Machine, like someone in belled corduroys just handed it to me over my TV dinner before going to fix the antenna on the wood-paneled set.

And that does have its odd charms — the expression on her face is totally weird, but it’s also SO ’70s catalog, in a way that makes me cheerful — but what’s getting me here are the proportions. Her head either seems enlarged, or her body shrunken, to achieve… well, that’s just it, I’m not sure what it’s achieving, other than discord. It’s just strange. Especially because it has nothing to do with a chirpy little cover story about how her company is wildly successful and she wants to open a food truck, and while I don’t think these things ever have to be coyly united in theme, it’s better not to be furrowing at the visuals to the point where you ignore the words. Also, of course Gwyneth is going to open a food truck. I hope she insists on having Stella McCartney design it, though.

Here is the inside picture. Although she’s not leaning toward me with her fangs bared in this one, I actually think it’s less successful:

Read More


Your Afternoon Man: Michael B Jordan on GQ


Michael B Jordan Cover

Am I too old to tape this to the inside of my locker?

PS: You probably want to see the entire spread. Some of it is nutty, but all of it features his extremely great face.

[Photo: GQ]


Well Played Cover: Lupita Nyong’o on Vogue, October 2015

What is there to say, honestly, about this? It’s PERFECT. (The interview with her is quite long and interesting as well.) The cover is great, and the inside spread is legitimately some of the best stuff I think we’ve seen in Vogue in literally years. I’m going to buy this one.

Lupita also did the Vogue 73 Questions:

And it’s also pretty damn great. (I love how many of her answers involve hats.)

[Photo: Vogue]