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TIME and the Jews

The cover of September 13th's issue of Time MagazineThe Magen David, or the Star of David, is covered in daisies. Daisies as in “I’m picking daisies and don’t have a care in the world.” Daisies with text in the center, “Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace.”

I’m going to do my best to put politics aside while examining the latest cover of Time Magazine, but for those who do not know me, here is my bias: I am Jewish, I have been to Israel, I do not call myself Pro-Israel, and I am deeply offended. I am taking the time to write this on Rosh Hashana, a Jewish high holiday, because I feel that it is so important.

Time has been known to have controversial covers, to catch the common grocery-shopper’s attention and inspire someone to read their articles. They have been called racist and insensitive, but also provocative and compelling. All of these covers have been confined to their trademarked four red lines showing ownership to the article that the reader will find inside.


The most recent issue of Time Magazine certainly lives up to its predecessors in all values. Firstly, the dark, Israel blue color with the white daisies symbolize Israel, their target topic. TIME does not stand out, nor does “Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace,” almost suggesting that they want their viewer to focus on the flowered star. The Star of David is attractive in of itself, with the flowers’ dark centers drawing the eye around Karl Vick’s title. Above TIME, the magazine highlights “Obama,” “Exclusive,” “Drugs,” and “Privacy,” and dims the type underneath to match the gray of the author’s name. The center of focus is, unquestionably, the star. In fact, with a lighter font with more color, it could pass an Israeli tourist brochure.

But my guess is that TIME doesn’t expect to attract much readership other than Jews or those particularly invested in Israel. Why? The star seems so passive in its flowers and tame blue behind it. The text is so subtle that you have to be close to the magazine to read it; the potential reader would have had to be attracted to the star in the first place to get close enough to be offended by the title.

And here’s my theory: Jews as a whole are particularly offended when anyone in the media slaps around Israel. They may not buy the article, but they’ll talk about it. They will comment on the posts and write scathing poorly-written public letters to the editor. All the more, and I understand that I’m doing it too, publicizing Time Magazine. I can’t imagine that Time isn’t aware that this would happen.

Overall, the quality of the cover isn’t astonishing. I don’t feel like I’ve learned anything new, except, perhaps, in the field of advertising. Write something controversial and offensive, and the public will eat it right up.

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