the frequency a kenny chung blog

Take a look at the latest covers of TIME Magazine:

TIME Magazine Lil Kim Jong Un Jeremy Lin Linsanity
The different covers of the Feb 27, 2012 edition of TIME Magazine (click to enlarge)

This piqued my interest for several reasons. The first was obviously that “Lil’ Kim” is the most clever headline that anyone could have come up with for that cover story. Seriously, take note, ESPN. You can make a pun about an Asian person without resorting to “accidental” racial slurs.

But more importantly, one of the topics making its way around media circles is how TIME Magazine “dumbs down” covers for the US audience. It’s been inferred that their editors don’t believe Americans care about worldly issues like overseas uprisings or the European economy. Jon Stewart summed it up perfectly on this Daily Show segment.

So it’s very interesting to me that for the February 27 issue of TIME, it’s the Asian version that has a different cover from the rest. When I first saw the spread above, I thought for sure it was the US version that would have the LINSANITY! cover. After all, Jeremy Lin is one of the biggest stories and personalities of the year so far. My thought process then moved onto thinking that maybe TIME had done the ol’ American switcheroo one too many times and realized the error of their ways, so they left the Kim Jong Un cover on (with a very America-centric reference to hip hop artist Lil Kim).

But once you start peeling the layers of the onion even deeper, you realize that maybe there was some self-censorship at play in the Asian version. After all, any article about Kim Jong Un is bound to mention his late father in a less than desirable light. I’m not sure if they even get TIME Magazine in North Korea, but I’m sure their potential version of TIME (even if heavily edited) doesn’t include stories about bears mourning for the Dear Leader. And I would suppose that some governments would take offense to the American view of Asian diplomacy (or lack thereof).

Then I remembered something I had read online about how the Chinese media doesn’t know how to cover the Jeremy Lin story. Its citizens know who he is, but covering his background is a bit tricky due to the fact that he’s from Taiwan (whose independence the Chinese government doesn’t recognize) and because he openly talks about his Christian faith (which is a big no-no). So, clearly not the greatest cover story choice either. Was TIME Magazine just choosing what it believed to the lesser of two evils? The backlash from a Jeremy Lin story from the Chinese government would definitely be a lot less harsh than that of a potentially defamatory Kim Jong Un article in North Korea.

I wanted some expert opinions on the matter, so I Tweeted at NPR’s On The Media.  Their response was that TIME was probably trying to cater to the Asian audience who’s going Linsane at the moment. Am I just paranoid or did I just overlook Occam’s Razor? Because money as a motivator is typically the simplest explanation.

In either case, a good media study up for debate.

February 5th, 2012
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Great game. Congrats to the New York Giants. But to the majority of the creative ad agencies tonight, shame on you. #SBAds #brandbowl
10:04 PM Feb 5th
B.D. Wong is back! This NBC show “Awake” actually looks promising. But then again, it’s NBC. #SBAds
9:41 PM Feb 5th
That Samsung commercial started out boring and old, but once The Darkness kicked in, it was awesome. #SBAds
9:26 PM Feb 5th
Adriana Lima redux with the Kia commercial. That was kinda hilarious. #SBAds
9:20 PM Feb 5th
Two good commercials. Hyundai and Budweiser. If only the first three quarters had commercials like these. #SBAds
9:14 PM Feb 5th
Nostalgia attack with that Metlife commercial. Not much substance though. #SBAds
9:07 PM Feb 5th
That commercial about NFL safety wasn’t the sexiest topic, but it was done well. That Time Warner spot was a waste of Ricky Gervais. #SBAds
9:02 PM Feb 5th
Jerry Seinfeld is not relevant anymore. #SBAds
8:45 PM Feb 5th
That Toyota commercial wasn’t bad. Not all the jokes hit, but it was a valiant effort. #SBAds
8:43 PM Feb 5th
Surprised that people actually like the Clint Eastwood Chrysler commercial. I thought it was so blatant & trying way too hard to be AMURRCA! #SBAds
8:42 PM Feb 5th
As far as the objectification of women goes, that Fiat commercial was a lot better than the Teleflora one. #SBAds
8:40 PM Feb 5th
Drew Brees Chase commercial was good, but not Super Bowl worthy. Ford + Derek Jeter just needs to stop trying. #SBAds
8:31 PM Feb 5th
Chrysler trying to recreate last year’s patriotic sentiment with this Clint Eastwood spot. Lightning didn’t strike twice. Eminem was better.
8:21 PM Feb 5th
For the second year in a row, Ford’s marketing strategy for the Super Bowl is “Derek Jeter”. Seriously, stop wasting money.
7:54 PM Feb 5th
Doritos is the big winner so far in the 2nd quarter. The only 2 good commercials… Wait, did E-trade just make a baby pedophile joke?
7:44 PM Feb 5th
It’s funny watching Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow armed with only a pistol. Batman in the Justice League, she is not.
7:39 PM Feb 5th
7:35 PM Feb 5th
BTW, if you haven’t seen the OK GO music video featuring the Chevy Sonic, here’s the @reddit thread about it-…
7:34 PM Feb 5th
Dear H&M, you do realize this is a FOOTBALL game, right?
7:20 PM Feb 5th
Seriously? Chevy is running an ad that they didn’t even create specifically for the Super Bowl? Google can get away with it; Chevy cannot.
7:08 PM Feb 5th
First quarter of #SBAds has been disappointing. If I had to choose (with a gun to my head), the Chevy 2012 ad is so far the best one.
7:06 PM Feb 5th
Best Buy sucks, but that Zynga Words with Friends gag was hilarious.
6:54 PM Feb 5th
Bud Light Platinum is the first commercial of #SBXLVI. Calling it now – most unintentionally hilarious commercial of the night.
6:40 PM Feb 5th
Is Kelly Clarkson being accompanied by the Best Buy backup choir?
6:18 PM Feb 5th
Adrian Brody has a hell of a goatee.
6:13 PM Feb 6th
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