The Vice Guide To Covers: ‘Butts Are Kinda Safe’

When Jesse Pearson saw the photo of the Brazilian model’s rear, he knew it would have to go on the cover.

“It was like god pointed his finger at me and told me to do it,” said Mr. Pearson, the editor of Vice. The magazine just put out The Brazilian Issue, which features a cheeky (sorry!) cover photograph of a model’s shapely bottom by Richard Kern (warning: link not safe for work).

“It’s just the first thing that so many people think of when they think of Brazil,” Mr. Pearson told The Observer, possibly overlooking the real first thing that comes to mind when someone says “Brazilian.”

“We kind of wanted to stick that in people’s faces and just cut right to the point and make a joke out of it. “

Vice has used eye-catching hindquarters on a number of covers over the years, including 2008’s Fiction Issue and 2007’s Turning Gay Issue. The Brooklyn-based magazine is hardly alone in its appreciation of callipygian cover models: Rolling Stone gave the world Jennifer Aniston’s rump in March 1996 (not to mention Jim Carrey’s pasty posterior a year before) and men’s magazines like Smooth seem to exist solely to allow photographers to dream up new angles for capturing the curvature of models’ gluteus maximi.

Mr. Pearson said that his most recent cover is not meant to titillate—at least not exclusively. “I think it kind of looks like an H.P. Lovecraft monster, too,” he said. “It’s kind of hideous and grotesque.”

But why have there been so many butts on the cover of Vice in recent years? “How do I say this? We like nudity in the magazine, but breasts or bush on the cover is just not really where we want to go. I guess that I would feel bad if a fourteen year-old picked it up at an American Apparel and there was a huge bush on the cover and he took it to his mom and she freaked out and never let him read it again.” (Heaven forbid! Has Mr. Pearson been to an American Apparel lately?)

“But butts are kinda safe, you know what I mean?,” he continued. “They’re sexual but they’re funny at the same.”

The Vice Guide To Covers: ‘Butts Are Kinda Safe’