The atrocity that graces the cover of this month’s Rolling Stone magazine may be generating more controversy than the editors intended.
This much was obvious when senior editor Christian Hoard Tweeted, “I guess we should have drawn a d**k on Dzhokhar’s face or something?” After defending the magazine’s decision to put the terrorist’s airbrushed mug on the cover by bringing up the Charles Manson cover back in the 70’s, Hoard started to realize that this was VERY different. So far, a total of ten retailers (that I know of, anyway) are refusing to carry the August issue. Some may even stop carrying RS altogether. Hoard later removed his snarky tweet and apologized – but he continued to defend putting a picture of a terrorist on RS’s front cover.
Never mind the fact that they picked the most attractive picture they could find and airbrushed it to make him look like a damned rock star. Never mind that they called the associated article “Jahar’s World” (putting his first name in English pronunciation to dumb it down). RS is trying to say that because the story is relevant to our day and age – and because he “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.”
I call bullshit.
We already have all the understanding we need. The Tsarnaev brothers had been raised Muslims, became radicalized when the older brother returned to their home country and took on some paramilitary training, and they hatched, planned, and carried out a plot to bomb innocent people at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. They were hatemongers and murderers. That is all the understanding we need. There are plenty of people out there willing to take their place and keep jihad alive without giving the face of death a place on the hallowed cover of rock music’s most famed magazine and dressing him up to look like a complex, brooding young man yearning to be understood.
We already know everything we need to know. We don’t need to examine him or his mind, we don’t need to gain a more complete understanding of the hows or whys, and we sure as hell don’t need to debate what to do next. My libertarian friends will heartily disagree with this belief, but we need to close our borders. Those so eager to throw the door open and let everyone come freely forgets that this is what happens. We already know there is a massive religious movement in the Eastern hemisphere that loathes us and wants to destroy us, so why are we continuing to let people of this radical belief into our country? If the Middle East and a rogue Russian territory want to institute Sharia, let them – don’t get involved in their business and keep them out of ours.
Another thing that is vital is stopping the celebrity treatment of terrorists.
All of Hoard’s arguments in defense of the new issue of RS fall flat in the face of how they present their article. I might have been able to live with an article giving a voice to the victims’ families and the survivors, but exploring the past of the murderers? I have a huge problem with that, and we all should. When the 19 9/11 hijackers were given martyrdom status by several Muslim organizations, we were disgusted and let the world know we were pissed off. We should do no less with this cretin and everyone like him. It is unforgivable to commit the act of barbarism that we saw on April 15, 2013. It is one step short of unforgivable to hold the surviving perpetrator up as some kind of pop culture icon. This morbid fascination is nauseating and inspires me to be willing to rack up my first assault charge on anyone who calls for him to be freed in my presence.
David Draiman, frontman for two of my favorite bands (DISTURBED and Device), had this to say about the RS cover:
“Everybody is their own person. Everybody is capable of making their own choices. Everybody is cognizant of their own choices and the minute you start blaming everything around you for why somebody loses their god damned mind is the minute that everybody comes up with an excuse to be a maniac. I’ve had a very, very colorful life, so to speak. I’ve had my trials and tribulations. I’ve experienced betrayal and death and loss, in ways that most people couldn’t possibly imagine. It didn’t turn me into a terrorist – and looking into what made this monster isn’t going to stop future monsters from being made. What’s going to stop future monsters from being made is not glamorizing them and giving them infamy and putting their face all over the press.”
Putting Manson on the cover wasn’t acceptable, either – nor was making Adolf Hitler TIME Magazine’s “person of the year” in 1938. The fact that we are young does not mean that we need to explore the darkest evil that is visited upon us. Fight it, condemn it, kill it – do not put it on a pedestal. That is nearly as unforgivable as the original act.
I am not only boycotting RS – I am boycotting any store I find carrying it and any advertiser that refuses to object to being placed in this issue. Here is a list of products our readers will commonly use that are being pushed in that issue:
Absolut (I haven’t used their products since their ridiculous reconquista ad, anyway, and they never apologized.)
Chevrolet (I love my Ford truck more than ever right now)
Maker’s Mark Whiskey
Shock Top Brewery