Urk – I’m guessing that a few people at some newsweeklies that shall go unnamed were plotzing yesterday when their covers went out – okay, fine, it’s Time and Newsweek, and they both feature cover stories on skiing super-bad boy Bode Miller (by Bill Saporito and Devin Gordon respectively). Both covers prove conclusively that, right now, Bode Miller is hot, but they also prove conclusively that Bode Miller is hot. Which is why I’m suddenly very interested in skiing. In any case, here’s how they stack up:
Cover: Time wins on aesthetic appeal, but Newsweek has more nipple. Winner: Newsweek.
Best Coverline: Time: American Rebel. Who doesnt’ love an American Rebel? Also: “Miller Time?” Could that coverline BE less uninspired? Didn’t we reach our maximum with Judy Miller? Newsweek, give me your wrist. That one gets a slap.
Title: Time: Rebel On The Edge; Newsweek: You Don’t Know Bode. Winner: Time – see rebels ref above. Plus Newsweek is trying to rock a 15-year old reference (yes, I know that “You Don’t Know Bo” also refers to Bo Diddley, but then we’re getting into issues of brand confusion. In any case, the ruling of the judges is final).
Word Count: Newsweek, 2791; Time, 2,092. More isn’t always better, but here it is. Bode Miller is a worthy subject, and the extra words make all the difference in the story. Newsweek.
More après jump.
Most Interesting To Skiing Enthusiasts: Time. Hardcore skiers probably know Bode’s backstory already, but the interesting stuff is in how he’s changed skiing, imagined things differently, and applied unique technique to improve his game. Newsweek doesn’t get to that at all; Time devotes a lot of ink to Bode as “skiing’s mad scientist” analyzing how to train differently (saying coaches are wrongheaded in their training regimens) and coming up with a performance-enhancing invention (a boot insert which he promptly shared with his teammates, and the competition).
Most Intersting to People Who Haven’t Thought Much About Bode Miller: Newsweek. More space equals more room for personality, and Devin Gordon expresses Bode’s — and his own — in spades. It’s a great profile and a really enjoyable read (and I had barely a clue about Bode Miller before reading both). Gordon also gets way better quotes from Miller, hands down (“The Olympics are about getting that gold medal or you’re a loser. Like, why even go if you’re not gonna make the podium?… The Olympics are just not a pure thing anymore”).
Best Account of Miller’s Crazy Survivalist Upbringing: Tie. Newsweek‘s is more colorful but left out the detail of his parents’ split, and Time considers how it affected him mentally.
Best Elucidation of Miller’s Philosophy About Playing vs. Winning: Tie. They both make it clear that for Bode, it’s about the sport. For Fishbowl, it’s about the nipple.
Best Nod To The Drama That Awaits In Turin: Newsweek, which plays up the potential showdown between Miller and Austria’s Hermann Maeier, aka “The Herminator.” Anyone who saw that guy’s crazy tumble downhill during Nagano knows he’s going to deliver. Points though to Time for invoking the dashing Alberto Tomba aka “La Bomba.” Ski nicknames are fun.
Highest number of F-word variants: Newsweek, with seven, primly expressed as “f—er”, “f—ing”, and “f—ed” (plus four uses of “s–t”). It makes you wonder what happened during the Time editing process. The worst word Bode uses in the Time piece is “irritating.” I’m guessing that’s not entirely f—ing accurate.
Most Entertaining Aside: Newsweek: “Miller is no cheat — “I don’t even take vitamins,” he says — and one look at his mushy physique makes it plain that the only toxin in his bloodstream is PBR. (That’s Pabst Blue Ribbon, and it will not enhance your performance at anything other than karaoke.)” Ha. Newsweek is so hip! Point.
Best Meta-moment: Newsweek, who captures Miller saying this: “I don’t need the money. I don’t need the media. All that stuff just makes you into a worse person, and I am, for sure, much more of a dick now than I used to be.” (Translation: “I don’t need the media…though it sure is fun to be on the cover of Newsweek AND Time this week!”)
Winner: Newsweek. Though, in truth, they had me at nipple.