Vogue Makes King James Look Like King Kong

Today on SportsFilter:

Critics Go Ape Over Lebron James Magazine Cover: A picture of NBA star Lebron James and the model Gisele on the cover of April's Vogue is attracting controversy over their pose. The shot taken by renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz has been compared by some detractors to King Kong holding Fay Wray. ESPN.Com columnist Jemele Hill called it "memorable for all the wrong reasons." The photo is remarkably similar to "Destroy This Mad Brute" a famous World War I recruitment poster.

Update: I took a second pass at this issue for Watching the Watchers. I'm being driven mad this morning by the media's inability to discover the gorilla poster that's a clear and unmistakable inspiration for Leibovitz's photo.


My wife's remark was that that is just what he looks like. The truth of the matter is that I have seen him make that face more than once during games (we live outside Detroit, arch-rivals to Cleveland).

So, it's hard to know here. It's a fierce, competitive image, one that he affects during games. I'm not sure it's bad. Why shouldn't he be free to project the image he wishes? Why shouldn't Annie Liebowitz be free to capture it and disseminate it?

Your title suggests LeBron is a victim. I'm not so sure.

Oh puleezzz! I think people have way too much time on their hands. It's just a magazine cover. Sure, it's dynamic and riffs on some well known themes. But what do people want? Boring, plain, uninteresting covers? I don't think there is anything negative or controversial about it. People need to stop taking things so seriously. Get a sense of humor, people!

I think you're lost the plot on this one. If she looked frightened or in anyway at the mercy of Mr James, you might have something. But to me it's an image of two celebs clowning around with what they do best. He doesn't look menacing to me, nor does she look worried. As for the historical recruiting poster, it's unfortunate that there are similarities like the dress color. But I wouldn't go any further than that.


I'm a big fan of Apocalyptica. I never liked Metallica until I heard their version of The Unforgiven.

Hey, Rogers... If I might inquire, on which website/webpage did you find my post highlighting the poster/photo similarity? I can't find a reference in either of your posts.

I'm trying to document the route the "reveal" took, to make it back to HuffPost. For my part, I learned of the WWI poster from my nephew, after discussing a separate, satire article on LeBron that had been posted to CBS Sportsline. After which I created the side-by-side comparison image and began posting it to several websites, trying to inform the various "discussions" taking place about the web.

CHECK THAT!, Rogers. I *just* followed your 'second pass' link, in your post above, to your much more expanded 'Watch the Watchers' post, in which I see that you found the image at DU. Thanks for the info.

Reviewing your 'Watching the Watchers' post...

You've documented all but one of the similarities between the two images that I've noticed. The only one you didn't mention is the neckline(?) of Giselle's dress. Notice how it cuts straight across her chest, providing only requisite coverage while leaving the rest of her upper torso bare -- as close to the poster as Liebovitz could come and still keep the photo G-rated and cover-ready. (I'm assuming that the white-tipped tennis shoes on LeBron and the lighter toes on the "brute" are but a coincidence; though Annie doesn't seem to leave much to chance, so maybe that's another similarity, eh?)

And in reading your article I find that I've been misspelling Liebovitz's name everywhere! Quite embarrassing. I'm going to blame the PopPhoto.com page title, "Artful borowing Liebowitz", rather than the fact that I'm uninformed and that I am in need of, but have been putting-off, getting glasses, for months.

Interesting article, overall; it expresses many thoughts I've had, myself.

Thanks. I didn't notice LeBron's shoes; Leibovitz's attention to detail is amazing.

I think I found your image linked in a comment on one of the Gawker blogs, then followed its URL to your Democratic Underground account. I've been wondering if Mad Brute would have been discovered without your nephew's help. It's interesting to watch something wind its way from the online world into the mainstream media.

Hey, RC... As you say, the route a story takes is intriguing, which is why reference links are critical... to both provide credit to those who've done prior work and to assist in back-tracking a story's path.

If it wouldn't be too much of a bother, I'd love to see the links through which you found the information included as an "Update" to your post above. (I've learned where my nephew found the image, and am also trying to trace back from there. I'd like to document this one's path, and the fewer the gaps in the documented trail, the better.

Thanks again...!

Metallica's pretty cool, but they're no Wycked Scepter.

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