Friday, March 28, 2008

Stupid is as Stupid doesn't See

I may be the only person in the western world who didn't get worked up over the recent Vogue cover featuring NBA star LeBron James and supermodel Giselle Bundchen. In fact, I didn't even make a connection to the King Kong image until someone pointed it out to me. (That someone being our deparment chair, "Mr. Magazine," Dr. Samir Husni, who has been quoted on this issue in just about every media outlet in North America).

The cover has received much criticism (and more here) for its seemingly animalistic portrayal of James, and JSM contributor Marie Hardin has some issues with the picture in her blog.

Maybe it's my personal perspective and/or background, but to me this seems like a media-generated controversy (in more ways than one). Yes, Vogue put the image on the cover, but there were plenty of other photos of LeBron and Giselle featured in the spread. If anyone has the right to be offended it's LeBron James, but he has said publicly that he doesn't find anything wrong with the picture.

I guess there are two camps on this issue--one who looks at an image and sees racial insensitivity and another that looks at an image and sees a basketball player with a supermodel. Put me in the latter.


Blogger docplymire said...

I am interested that you term the debate about the LeBron James/Giselle Bundchen cover a "media-generated controversy." In fact, scholars in sociology and cultural studies of sport were all over the topic, as soon as the magazine hit the news stands, so to speak.

Representations such as the one found on the Vogue cover are the bread and butter of social and cultural criticism in sport and in other forms of popular culture. I presume there will be a spate of articles on the topic in the most prominent sociology and cultural studies journals, Journal of Sport and Social Issues (JSSI) and Sociology of Sport Journal (SSJ) in the field of sport studies. And, I bet at least one of those publications will feature a critique of media portrayals of the issue.

Any takers?


11:25 AM  

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