Time’s awkward virtual reality cover spawns manic memes

Time Magazine probably wishes it lived in alternate universe right about now. Yesterday, the newsweekly revealed its latest cover showing Oculus founder Palmer Luckey wearing his virtual reality mask, leaping on some beach for some inexplicable reason. He’s also barefoot? The online version of the cover is animated and, well, it’s strange!


The peculiar cover certainly did its job of getting the Internet to notice. The profile of Luckey, who sold his company to Facebook last year for a cool $2 billion, starts off just as awkwardly by stating that “Luckey isn’t like other Silicon Valley nerds” — reinforcing a stereotype that would make the #ILookLikeAnEngineer creator shaking her head.

And it wasn’t long until social media reacted to the cover with people tweeting memes and mashups that almost rivaled the iconic “New York Times Magazine” cover where Hillary Clinton was a moon.

The Daily Dot spearheaded the effort by tweeting out a picture of Luckey for followers to use. “The worse you are at Photoshop, the better,” they said before being being at the receiving end offensive mashups that can be seen toward the bottom of the thread. Time realized how ridiculous the cover and aggregated  37 of its favorite memes, too.

Not everyone hated it, though. Richard Turley, creator of some of his generation’s most iconic magazine covers during his time as Bloomberg Businessweek magazine creative director, told Digiday that he thinks that the weirder, the better.

“I support Time magazine’s futurology and its embrace of alternate three-dimensional conceptual parallel universes (digital or otherwise),” said Turley, who is now MTV’s Senior Vice President of Visual Storytelling. “Let the psychonauts free. Who’s to say what’s real anymore, anyway.”

The psychonauts certainly had their field day. Here’s a look at some of the better cover memes:


More in Media

NewFronts Briefing: Samsung, Condé Nast, Roku focus presentations on new ad formats and category-specific inventory

Day two of IAB’s NewFronts featured presentations from Samsung, Condé Nast and Roku, highlighting new partnerships, ad formats and inventory, as well as new AI capabilities.

The Athletic to raise ad prices as it paces to hit 3 million newsletter subscribers

The New York Times’ sports site The Athletic is about to hit 3 million total newsletter subscribers. It plans to raise ad prices as as a result of this nearly 20% year over year increase.

NewFronts Briefing: Google, Vizio and news publishers pitch marketers with new ad offerings and range of content categories

Day one of the 2024 IAB NewFronts featured presentations from Google and Vizio, as well as a spotlight on news publishers.