When Is Ironic Allowed for the Iconic?
By: Andrea Trapani
This week’s TIME Magazine was all aflutter about its editorial decision to change its iconic red masthead green in honor of its environmental issue. While I’m fairly sure that decision took many months of debate in editorial sessions, frankly, the average reader probably didn’t think much of it.
A decision that probably did not seem to warrant a great deal of debate, but has created controversy among World War II veterans, is the magazine’s art that graced the cover of the issue — the historic World War II photo of Marines holding up the flag. Except, TIME decided to replace the flag with a tree.
One could argue that this photo has become so much a part of Americana that photoshopping it somewhat is acceptable. The problem for the veterans, and one that I’m very surprised TIME didn’t see coming, is that the photo represents a generation’s sacrifice and graphically embodies love of country and honor.
To date, TIME has refused to apologize for altering this photo. Perhaps they would have been better served to limit their brand-altering decisions to their own masthead and allow this era-defining photo to remain intact as an icon and an inspiration.