Question Of The Week: Wanna See My Smiling Face On The Cover Of The
In fancy schools of journalism they make you take courses on ethics. It’s super interesting, as much as theorizing and semantics can be, and taught best by a calm, devil’s-advocate type of instructor. And you can bet that every single teacher of journalism ethics scrapped this week’s lesson plan, and instead examined Rolling Stone magazine’s problem with their new issue’s cover. Elbows in hands, professors probably asked, “Did decision-makers at Rolling Stone aim to provoke? To burst a bubble of complacency? And is that okay at the cost of respect for those who died horribly?” The discussion will rage.
Well, it’ll rage for a while anyway. But no matter how hearty, the classroom debate will die. Know why? Because some emotional weirdo will derail sane exploration of a thorny topic via a thunderous screed against the monsters responsible for this atrocity (as if that’s the point doyyy) — just like David Draiman and another know-it-all did via angry, unsolicited e-rants. Long, dumb, and flavored distinctly with sour grapes, that shit screws up our discussion. But count on your brahs at MetalSucks to keep it concise and even, as done by our hypothetical class’s normal members. The ones who smoke pot and suddenly choke on donuts sometimes. Anyway it’s Question Of The Week prepare for our um 14 cents! Keep the change. lol
Inspired by not being tl;dr and self-serving in our discussions of sensitive shit, we asked our staff:
Hey, what’s your two cents about the Boston Marathon bomber on the cover of Rolling Stone?”
Sigh what a bummer. Have an awesome wknd
Rolling Stone is no longer a music magazine, but one on liberal political issues and famous people. This person is both. They call him a monster on the cover, and they don’t seem to make him look like a rock star. I don’t think it’s that big a deal.
It’s in very poor taste. Getting the cover of Rolling Stone is and always has been an honor, one given to icons past and present. To give that to a person who has committed something so heinous because RS wants to sell more magazines and cause a stir (which is clearly the case) is just tacky and wrong.
Not all that familiar with classical music, so I was never a huge Rolling Stones fan. I do like that “Johnny B Good” song they did though.
I don’t know a single person who buys quality physical magazines these days, let alone publications like Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone know exactly what they’re doing: They know that lots of people like Draiman would get riled up over this sort of thing, and since physical magazine sales have been irrelevant for years already, this is almost the equivalent of a viral video: a loud headline + controversy = internet hype. Like Axl Rosenberg pointed out, it’s not as if the article glorifies the Bomber.
Total dick move. That’s a villain, not a bad boy celebrity.
DAVID LEE ROTHMUND
There’s a difference between covering a story and making a story the cover. The former requires answering the Journalism 101 question: Who’s your audience? The latter requires answering the Economics 101 question: What sells? And no benefit of the doubt for Rolling Stone, they’re not stupid. They knew they were gonna make waves with their glam shot of the motherfucker who royally pissed off Boston, and the rest of the world. But instead of making their waves properly — having a gentle, gravitational tug on the ocean — they’ve resorted to being that fat kid in the public pool, listlessly splashing water around, up and causing a fuckin’ ruckus for no goddamn good reason.
Rolling Stone is only good for one thing: its coverage of non-pop-culture matters. (Matt Taibbi’s financial writing by itself earns a pass for the rest of RS’s lousy content.) In that sense, I get why a bomber was slapped on the cover. The story’s probably good enough to warrant attention over whatever else is crammed in that issue. And despite being a lifelong Masshole, I’ve never bristled at either Tsarnaev brother’s being depicted as something more than a supervillain. But while I’m not offended (because who fucking cares about the cover of Rolling Stone in 2013?), I get why people are. Of course he shouldn’t be praised or glorified, but the cover of Rolling Stone already doesn’t mean what it used to. What’s the most recent RS cover you can think of? I bet it’s from ten or 15 years ago. Now it’ll be a terrorist’s. It’s a good expression of our dystopian present, but it’s also a stunt to sell magazines to attract readers to the thorough account of the bombings inside. Yes, I stayed glued to breaking coverage of the bombing; yes, I have memories of walking with my dad by the bombing site on Patriot’s Day after we got out of the day game at Fenway; yes, I watched NBC on mute with the Watertown police scanner streaming on my laptop the night of the suspect’s capture. So yes, I know that what he and his brother did is deplorable, unforgivable, and worthy of whatever punishment the feds deem worthy. He is most likely a scared little 19-year-old tool who was trying to impress his big brother; he’s not evil, just pathetic. So let his airbrushed awkwardness grace the front of Rolling Stone all David Cassidy-style. The thing One Direction will have on him is that they will live on knowing that they didn’t have to destroy hundreds of lives to get there.