Too Quick to Cover Up: Bossoms or Guns? An Unexpected Magazine Cover Wrap

February 18, 2011

I was surprised as I walked into one of my regular newsstands to see a magazine wrapped in solid blue plastic. That treatment is usually reserved for magazines with nudity or semi-nudity on their covers. I knew that this specific bookstore does not carry any magazines with nudity (including magazines like Playboy and Penthouse). So, needless to say I was surprised to see this magazine displayed.

The name of the magazine was not even showing. Only the Universal Price Code so folks will know how much to pay. I had to push the plastic wrap down in order to see the name of the magazine: Adbusters.

I was stunned to say the least. What did they put on the cover that forced the magazine distributor to put it in taped blue plastic wrapper (an honor as I mentioned earlier reserved for magazines with nudity or too much revealing pictures or information on their covers)?

The minute I paid for the magazine, I opened the wrapper and wow! A stunning, freeze in your place, cover picture of two guns coming in and out of the mouth of the picture of the guy on the cover. A picture that is worth much more than a 1,000 words. Ready or not, take a look and judge for yourself… wrapper or no wrapper?


  1. It’s obviously a disturbing image and was obviously intended to be. I wonder what the point of the cover is, though, if it’s going to be covered up (pun intended). Was the decision to add the wrap and blue plastic made by the publisher, the distributor or the retailer?
    I’m also curious about the story connected to the cover photo (I’m assuming there is one), which might help add perspective to the thinking behind the decisions involved.

  2. I say no wrapper! It’s not much different than seeing people with facial plates and piercings, which is most likely why this guy has holes in his face. There have definitely been more violent images on covers of Time and others. Personally, I think the Jan ’73 issue of National Lampoon and Nov. ’65 of LIFE are much more disturbing. Is this less tolerable because it’s not “world news”? Kudos to Adbusters!


  4. This cover is a criticism of American gun culture, which clearly should never be questioned.

  5. I think most of the american people are scare to see his own “nightmare”; I think this images its an example. Now in Mexico we suffer this so-called war against the drug cartels, and we now the cartels weappons are more sofisticated than the police and army guns; do you now where this weappons come? yes, from US store!!!! shame american people, we provide you the drugs for your sons, and you give us the bullets for our sons, thanks

  6. Google “Vegetarian Festival, Thailand” and you’ll see a whole bunch of photos like the one on the cover.
    Participants in the festival perform acts of body piercing – on their face, arms and other areas – as a means of shifting evil spirits from individuals onto themselves to bring the community good luck.
    Most people have items relating to their profession inserted into the piercings, which can range from wrenches to swords and shotguns.
    Other acts include walking over hot coals and climbing ladders made from sword blades.
    I’m way too tired to remember much more but a quick web search will provide you with all the info you could ever need

  7. I saw this at my bookstore too. They had a different wrapping, with a green band, that at least let you see the title, so it probably wasn’t just one distributor. The issue behind it had been torn open, and seeing what they found so important to hide, I immediately thought “Really?”

    Disappoints me to see this kind of stuff happen. Most sales for magazines here are driven by browsers. If a customer can’t open a magazine, if you can’t judge a little bit of its quality before buying, the customer is going to move on and find something else, plain as that. Makes me wonder if this wasn’t motivated more by retailers than “disturbing” imagery.

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