Here we have a scan of the cover of the February 2008 Fast Company, a magazine that has shucked off the delusional cult newspeak of its origins without managing to become relevant in the process. (Photo credit unknown, and I can’t even ask the magazine about it, since there’s no contact information online. Scan from an eBay auction.)

Mike Rowe, dressed in a suit, presses his chin and looks bemused Dirty Jobs is one of those alternative hits, like Buffy or Project Runway – a show everyone watches that the mainstream media, to the extent it still exists, refuses to admit everyone watches. (“Canada’s watching CSI,” surely?) Dirty Jobs was Mike Rowe’s idea. (So was converting it into a full-on Ford advertorial.) He’s an overly chatty, well-read, rough, tough, jolly sort of fellow, and an outright fetish object for legions of bears, who trade and publish screencaps of Mikey’s many episodes of shirtlessness. He has a straight guy’s indifference to partial nudity. (Is your teenage son gay? Ask him to take his shirt off.)

He’s also getting older, which gives him, on the one hand, saggy-chest syndrome (check recent episodes and the resulting bear screencaps), and, on the other hand, a face lined like a mountainside. Yet this cover shot not only has him “cleaned up real nice” (Cf. inside article photos), it spackles over his ravaged cheeks and nose, conceding only a few bemused forehead wrinkles and a single crease on the neck, as if to connote age. No doubt through a Photoshop layer mask, the designer amped up his blue Irish eyes to Boris Becker proportions.

Those aren’t eyeballs, they’re gumballs. This isn’t a photo, it’s a photo-illustration. It’s a few evolutionary steps removed from Michael Jackson’s nose. It’s the sort of treatement usually reserved for starlets with an acne problem. This isn’t Mike Rowe’s face, it’s Dorian Gray’s.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2008.02.17 14:21. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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