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“The Cover of Rolling Stone”

Posted by purplemary54 on July 17, 2013

It never fails.  Whenever I decide on a “theme” for the week, something happens that causes me to deviate from that theme.  But maybe this is something we should talk about.

Rolling Stone, my go-to magazine for music, movies, and current events since I was 16, has decided to put Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover in support of their feature story on him.  They’re getting some flack for that, because some people seem to feel that it glamorizes a terrorist.  If Time put Tsarnaev on the cover, no one would blink.  But if a pop culture magazine dares to address one of the most important issues facing our culture today by putting the most recent face of terrorism in America on the cover, they’re “glamorizing” him.  It’s as if Jann Wenner himself wrote an editorial endorsing random bombings as political protest.  Really?  Because the magazine usually features scantily clad pop singers or craggy classic rockers on the cover, it can’t do something serious or newsworthy.  Has everyone forgotten that President Obama has appeared on the cover a few times?

Rolling Stone‘s motto is “All the news that fits.”  They have a long history of publishing thoughtful, insightful (and often hysterically funny) articles on important current affairs.  Hunter S. Thompson used to write for Rolling Stone.  Matt Taibbi, one of the most interesting and most scathing political analysts out there right now, writes for Rolling Stone.  They have always made room for elections, wars, economic meltdowns, and miscellaneous social controversies.  Their take on Tsarnaev and his transformation from a decent kid to a suspected terrorist is something I want to read.

I really hope they don’t give in to any pressure and change the cover.  I hope it’s already too late to stop my issue from arriving in the mail.  I will read the article, and I will probably learn something.  And maybe everyone who does read the magazine takes a moment to think about what it means to stare this young man in the eyes.  Because he looks like anybody else.  I hope this cover and article inspire everyone to look for different answers to terrorism, because I’m pretty sure bombs and guns aren’t working.

I know it might seem a little weird to include this song after my fairly serious rant.  But that’s the other thing Rolling Stone still does well: poke fun at things, some serious and some not.  That was the point when they started out as a subversive, counter-culture underground publication in 1967.  They’re just a little more corporate these days, but they’re not above biting a few hands.


2 Responses to ““The Cover of Rolling Stone””

  1. I actually thought the whole thing was very clever by Rolling Stone, it reaches a different audience than Time might and on a very important issue. You can throws as much guns, bombs and drone strikes at this as you like but it isn’t working.

    This might actually reach people who might see that it is not working and government attempts to sell fear might lose their potency.

    • I’m kind of dumbfounded about the reaction, actually. Do these people never read the magazine? Because showing what looks like a candid shot or selfie of the guy on the cover isn’t the same as posing him half-naked with a bunch of half-naked babes. And the accompanying article, which I haven’t read even though my issue arrived yesterday, probably isn’t a fluff piece on how he travels the world in luxury, and what his favorite foods and video games are. Rolling Stone is actually living up to it’s job as a culture magazine by trying to address issues important to the culture. There’s also an article about climate change in this issue. News aimed at the very twentysomethings everyone says are so apathetic. Go figure.

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