Thank you, Rolling Stone Magazine

Hiltons, Kardashians and Tsarnaev, OH MY!

 ”Our hearts go out to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, and our thoughts are always with them and their families. The cover story we are publishing this week falls within the traditions of journalism and Rolling Stone’s long-standing commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage of the most important political and cultural issues of our day. The fact that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is young, and in the same age group as many of our readers, makes it all the more important for us to examine the complexities of this issue and gain a more complete understanding of how a tragedy like this happens. –THE EDITORS” Rolling Stone Magazine, July 17, 2013

And with this statement, Rolling Stone Magazine defended its decision to put Boston Marathon Bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of their popular magazine. The cover. Who are they trying to kid? Maybe they do have a “long-standing commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage of the most important political and cultural issues of our day” but what it is that they are most known for across say, 98% of their reader base? The cover. Any artist or band would kill for a chance to grace the cover of what is considered the premiere MUSIC magazine across the globe. After this issue, that might be what is needed to get them there.

 The article may, in fact be exactly what they have touted, “an examination of the complexities of this issue” to “gain a more complete understanding of how a tragedy like this happens.”. The article may be Pulitzer-worthy. However many people, myself included, will never know because we will never read it. The decision to put his picture on the cover – the prime piece of real estate in the world of the rich and famous – gives him the validation and attention any potential serial killer or mass murderer (or terrorist) craves. I cannot support that. I will not purchase the magazine, nor will I read the article. Rolling Stone has to know the impact they themselves have cultivated regarding the status and notoriety gained from that coveted cover spot, as well as the associated responsibility.

 So what’s next? I can see it now: MTV will film an episode of “Cribs” from his jail cell, the camera panning his private single-occupancy suite (since we must be concerned about his safety, and not release him to the general public), finally closing with a shot of the framed portrait of his picture on the cover of Rolling Stone. 

As a society, we have been complaining about the fact that our most famous celebrities are the people who have gained their fame not by doing anything worthwhile or valuable, but instead because of money they have been born into or insanely foolish and morally depraved acts, or just the entertainment value they provide by making themselves look stupid (along with the occasional sex tape). Paris Hilton? Any one of the Kardashians? Honey Boo Boo? Those Jersey… Shores people?

Collectively WE are responsible for giving these characters a validation that, according to my 8-year-old daughter, should go to “the police officers who catch the bad guys”. We watch reality television. We buy magazines and watch entertainment news shows that celebrate their lives, their affairs, their melt-downs and such. We buy products with their names on them. If we chose not to feed into and support the lives of the notorious, we may never have reached a point where anyone would think that putting a Facebook-profile-worthy picture of an alleged terrorist on the cover of an internationally recognized (and generally presumed) music magazine was a good idea. The fault and blame is collectively ours. We allowed things to get this far. 

There is one good thing that can come of this: because Rolling Stone is such a high-profile media venue, they have essentially held up a mirror to the mass collective and forced us to look at ourselves and what we have become. If we can make the decision (and follow through with it) to celebrate the lives and stories and situations that build up and enhance the betterment of society instead of relishing the fools, maybe we can begin to affect the general quality and tone of our lives by putting our focus and money on the people who go out of their way to enhance our world and consciousness.

Another viewpoint, posted by my friend Martin Smith:
What irony, people are upset with Rolling Stone magazine, and rightfully so for their distaste in choosing a controversial and insulting picture for the cover in the most recent issue. People are extremely upset and I agree with them. Yet when the major news media companies do nothing but talk/report on a alleged murder case that has promoted destruction, violence, and escalated racial tensions across the country (I say alleged murder due to the jury finding him not guilty, I do not contest that a man killed another man) people just want their voices heard and “justice to be served”. Does no one realize that, you, the general public is quick to react/show support for banning a controversial topic, yet someone turns a death into a race issue and the country goes to hell?

Both of these issues NEED to be left to the court system, and out of the news, to decide the fate. We as citizens of this (great) country elected these (moronic) officials to write our laws and enforce them. You have a problem with the way things are run stop voting for unqualified idiots. Where is the justice for OUR fellow citizens that were murdered in cold blood in Bengahzi? What about the outrage over politicians having more time off and assorted benefits then the general populace? You want change, want to fix these issues, pay better attention to who you vote for. Look back in history, when this country was founded, it was an honor to be an elected official, now it is just a good business deal. People want to talk equal rights, lets talk equal rights. Why does a child of a congressman/woman go to college for free? How many of us are looking forward to paying our student loans off for the next 10 years at an interest rate that will only cripple our ability to live prosperously, and some get it all for free? Where is the outrage for that?



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