Rolling Stone hasn’t glorified Tsarnaev

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev boston bomber

Rolling Stone magazine is accused of having glorified Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the accused Boston Marathon bombing participant, by having featured a flattering image of him on the cover of an upcoming issue, but the accusation is bullshit.

Admittedly, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in the image on the Rolling Stone cover is fairly attractive — he reminds me at least a little bit of the yumlickcious young actor Aaron Johnson:

— and my guess is that Tsarnaev was doing his best to be sexy and alluring in the photo (I’ve seen him look significantly less flattering in other photos), but the words that appear right under Tsarnaev’s mug on the Rolling Stone cover — “How a Popular, Promising Student … Became a Monster” — kind of indicates that Rolling Stone isn’t glorifying him, doesn’t it?

And what the fuck should Rolling Stone have done? Found the most unflattering photo of Tsarnaev that they could have found and then Photoshopped horns onto his head?

Anyway, so much has the unwarranted criticism been that on its online posting of the cover story about Tsarnaev, Rolling Stone added this editors’ blurb:

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

It’s too bad that the editors had to feel the need to do that.

Anyway, it’s a long story on Tsarnaev, and while early on it does describe Tsarsaev as “a beautiful, tousle-haired boy” with “soulful brown eyes,” it strikes me as a serious, thoughtful piece on Tsarnaev and the Boston Marathon bombing, not as some fangirl’s (or fanboy’s…) fawning, effusive screed. (Not to be sexist, I hope, but the author of the piece is a female, and so it’s not shocking to me that she took a softer, more human tone, instead of an authoritarian, law-and-order tone.)

Those who bash Rolling Stone should (1) look at what Rolling Stone actually published, in its entirety, and (2) get the fuck over themselves.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Rolling Stone hasn’t glorified Tsarnaev

  1. annbb

    Totally agree with you. That photo was the perfect one for the article written. I said as much on my FB page, and on RS’s FB page.

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