Tag Archives: Rolling Stone

This isn’t Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, either

Updated below

TK

No one photograph captures the totality of any one human being. Fucking duh.

A Massachusetts state cop has, apparently without authorization, released images that he took of the capture of the accused Boston Marathon bombing participant Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in order to make a political point while blasting Rolling Stone for allegedly having tried to make a political point. (The image above is the image that has gone the most viral.)

“As a professional law-enforcement officer of 25 years, I believe that the image [of Tsarnaev] that was portrayed by Rolling Stone magazine was an insult to any person who has every worn a uniform of any color or any police organization or military branch, and the family members who have ever lost a loved one serving in the line of duty,” Massachusetts State Police Sgt. Sean Murphy huffed and puffed when he gave the images to Boston Magazine, continuing, “The truth is that glamorizing the face of terror is not just insulting to the family members of those killed in the line of duty, it also could be an incentive to those who may be unstable to do something to get their face on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.”

I get it that Murphy has a personal and political interest in protecting the authoritarian, law-and-order, “good”-guys-vs.-“bad”-guys, violence-loving, white-male patriarchy of which he is part and parcel, but it was unprofessional (and, hell, for all that I know, also illegal) for Murphy, on his own, to release the images to the media out of his own personal and political passions, and BBC News reports that Murphy apparently has been relieved of duty for having released the images without authorization.

Good!

Murphy is allowed his wingnutty opinions, but, when it comes to whether or not D. Tsarnaev’s attorneys can argue whether or not he can get a fair trial, a fucking Rolling Stone cover probably won’t factor into that argument, but a state cop’s having released photos of Tsarnaev and having called Tsarnaev “evil” and “the real Boston bomber” certainly could. So Murphy’s actions seem to me to be reckless at best, especially if he is interested in actual justice, as he apparently claims he is.

Yes, in his right-wing rant that the apparently right-wing Boston Magazine published, the leaker Murphy also proclaimed: “Photography is very simple, it’s very basic. It brings us back to the cave. An image like this on the cover of Rolling Stone, we [who, exactly, is “we”?] see it instantly as being wrong. What Rolling Stone did was wrong. This guy is evil. This is the real Boston bomber. Not someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.”

While I agree that “photography is very simple,” that is the fucking problem. Murphy, apparently without any self-awareness of this, is guilty of the flip side of what he accuses Rolling Stone of having done.

I agree that one emo-looking image of D. Tsarnaev on the cover of Rolling Stone certainly doesn’t tell the whole story about the young man, but neither does one image (or even several images) of a sniper’s red-laser dot on Tsarnaev’s forehead tell the whole story about him.

Each of us is a complex human being who cannot be summed up in one fucking photograph.

And neither can even someone like D. Tsarnaev tidily and neatly be summed up in the single word “evil,” as Murphy so helpfully has done for us, and, of course, the difference between people like Murphy — authoritarian, self-righteous, patriarchy-promoting-and-protecting, hypocritically-violent-themselves types — and the rest of us is that while Murphy would deny that he contains any evil within himself at all, the rest of us acknowledge that we do.

And it’s those who deny that they have any evil within themselves at all who, in my book, are the most dangerous of all, which is perhaps why our plutocratic overlords love to have these sociopathic types in the U.S. military and in U.S. law enforcement (and, let’s face it, most of the time “our” laws apply only to us commoners, and not to our plutocratic overlords).

Update: Via Slate.com, this is a clarification of what has happened with Sgt. Sean Murphy:

Though he’s been relieved of duty, Murphy has not been fired. The status of his duty is to be reviewed next week. Two lieutenants in an unmarked cruiser and a sergeant in a marked cruiser arrived at Murphy’s home about 7:40 [last night] and, during about 20 minutes at his home, took the following: his gun, badge, ammunition, handcuffs, baton, bulletproof vest, cameras, police ID, license to fire arms, pepper spray, cellphone and computer. Murphy was also ordered not to speak to the press or discuss the capture of Tsarnaev with anyone else.

My guess is that he’ll get a slap on the wrist. At the bare minimum, in my book, he no longer should be allowed to photograph police activity.

Also, the Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi wrote a good piece defending Rolling Stone. Sure, you might say, of course he’s going to defend his employer, but nonetheless, he makes some good points, such as these:

… I think, on the whole, the people leveling these criticisms must not read the magazine, which is understandable. It would be beyond unreasonable to expect everyone in the country to be regularly familiar with the articles in Rolling Stone. On the other hand, pretty much everyone has heard of Rolling Stone, which is where the problem lay, in this gap between the popular image of the magazine and the reality of its reporting.

If indeed we were just a celebrity/gossip mag that covered nothing but rock stars and pop-culture icons, and we decided to boost sales and dabble in hard news by way of putting a Jim Morrison-esque depiction of a mass murderer on our cover, that really would suck and we would deserve all of this criticism.

But Rolling Stone has actually been in the hard news/investigative reporting business since its inception, from Hunter S. Thompson to Carl Bernstein to Bill Greider back in the day to Tim Dickinson, Michael Hastings, Mark Boal, Janet Reitman and myself in recent years.

One could even go so far as to say that in recent years, when investigative journalism has been so dramatically de-emphasized at the major newspapers and at the big television news networks, Rolling Stone’s role as a source of hard-news reporting has been  magnified. In other words, we’re more than ever a hard news outlet in a business where long-form reporting is becoming more scarce. …

If the Rolling Stone editors had brought Tsarnaev in to its offices near Rockefeller center, wined and dined him, and then posed him for that Jim Morrison shot, then yes, that would be reprehensible.

But that’s not what the magazine did. They used an existing photo, one already used by other organizations. The New York Times, in fact, used exactly the same photo on the cover of their May 5 issue.

But there was no backlash against the Times, because everyone knows the Times is a news organization. Not everyone knows that about Rolling Stone. So that’s your entire controversy right there – it’s OK for the Times, not OK for Rolling Stone, because many people out there understandably do not know that Rolling Stone is also a hard-news publication. …

[Regarding] the idea that the cover photo showed Tsarnaev to be too nice-looking, too much like a sweet  little boy[,] I  can understand why this might upset some  people. But the jarringly non-threatening image of Tsarnaev is exactly the point of the whole story. If any of those who are up in arms about this cover had read Janet’s piece, they would see that the lesson of this story is that there are no warning signs for terrorism, that even nice, polite, sweet-looking young kids can end up packing pressure-cookers full of shrapnel and tossing them into crowds of strangers.

Thus the cover picture is not intended to glamorize Tsarnaev. Just the opposite, I believe it’s supposed to frighten. …

I recommend Taibbi’s piece in its entirety.

It was clear to me immediately that Rolling Stone had repurposed an existing image of Tsarnaev for its cover. I have to wonder if Sean Murphy is so stupid as to not have realized that, or if he realized that but intentionally wanted to mislead others in his personal crusade against Rolling Stone, which his own words — his description of the image of Tsarnaev that RS used as “someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine” — suggest.

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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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Veep Biden: We’re all you’ve got

Wow.

Vice President Joe Biden is well known for shooting his mouth off, but for him actually to encourage his fellow Democratic operatives to “remind our base constituency to stop whining and get out there and look at the alternatives,” as he did yesterday in New Hampshire, is surprising to come out of even Biden’s mouth.

Not that there isn’t some truth to Biden’s words; it’s that it’s pathetic that the Democratic Party has come to this: the lesser of two evils.

A voter should vote for your party because the voter is enthusiastic about your party — not because the alternative to your party is even grimmer than is your party.

These days, too many of us voters on the right and the left cast votes more out of opposition to the other party’s candidate than out of enthusiasm for our own party’s candidate.

I have to confess that in 2004 I voted for Democrat John Kerry much more out of my hatred of Repugnican incumbent George W. Bush and his fellow traitors than I did out of a special love for Kerry, whom I simply viewed as the Democratic candidate best placed to be able to deny Bush a second disastrous term in the White House.

I felt a little better about Barack Obama than I did John Kerry — I was snookered to at least some degree by Obama’s promised “hope” and “change,” I am chagrined to admit — and I don’t hate Repugnican John McCainosaurus as much as I hate George W. Bush, but even in 2008 I still was voting against the opponent about as much as I was voting for my candidate.

And while my U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer is OK (she’s considerably better than average for a Democratic politician), I have to say that I’m voting for her on November 2, and that I’ve given her a modest amount of money for this election, at least as much because I can’t stand her Repugnican opponent, Crazy Carly Fiorina, as because I have a special love for Boxer.

And in California’s gubernatorial race, it’s difficult to say which is greater: My love for Jerry Brown or my hatred of Nutmeg Whitman, although I like Brown quite a lot and I think that he’ll be a kick-ass guv (the kind of governor that Repugnican Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2003 promised to be but never has been). As well as I know myself, I’m at least equally motivated to vote for Brown on November 2 out of my like of him as I am out of my utter dislike of his opponent, who would run the state even further into the ground than has Schwarzenegger.

But I digress.

The point that I want to make is that pointing out that the alternative to you is even worse than you are isn’t a strong political position to come from. Biden and the other Democratic operatives should fucking know that.

As a registered Green Party member, I feel no fealty to the Democratic Party. My vote for a Democratic candidate is never guaranteed.

Although President Barack Obama reportedly has told Rolling Stone that “It is inexcusable for any Democrat or progressive right now to stand on the sidelines in this midterm election,” the Obama administration has not given me or any other Democratic or Democratic-leaning voter much inspiration to vote on November 2. Repugnican rich bitches Nutmeg Whitman and Carly Fiorina, who never have held office and wish to buy office, have given me a lot more “inspiration” to vote on November 2 than has the Obama administration.

This doesn’t bode well for 2012.

Fortunately, Obama, Biden & Co. have some time to wake up.

Otherwise, history, methinks, frequently will compare Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter.

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Stupid white male traitors on parade

FILE - This Oct. 2, 2009 file photo provided ...

Associated Press photo

President Barack Obama talks with Gen. Stanley McChrystal aboard Air Force One in October. Obama has recalled McChrystal to Washington, D.C., to discuss remarks that McChrystal made to Rolling Stone magazine about the military efforts in Afghanistan that McChrystal has been leading.

Is it something in the water?

A bit too much crude oil, perhaps?

The federal district judge who blocked President Barack Obama’s obviously reasonable six-month moratorium on offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico has had investments in offshore drilling? Even having owned stock in Transocean, the corporation that had leased the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig to British Petroleum before the rig blew up in the Gulf of Mexico two months ago?

Unsurpisingly, the judge, one Martin Feldman, who was appointed by Ronald Reagan, appears to be another overprivileged old stupid white man who puts his own selfish financial interests above not only justice but also above the common good.

Fuck the rest of us! He wants to be rich!

The Repugnicans piss and moan about “activist judges,” but I’m sure that they’re just perfectly fucking fine with judges who rule according to their own financial portfolios.

Because he did not recuse himself, Feldman should be removed from his post of power. He obviously cannot wield power responsibly and thus does not deserve to continue to wield it.

Similarly, corporations that violate the public trust (such as British Petroleum, Halliburton, Blackwater, etc., etc.) should be dissolved — not allowed to simply reorganize under another name (such as Blackwater, which is now “Xe.”)

The composition of the judiciary sorely needs to be evaluated. It’s supposed to be about justice for all — it shouldn’t be the fucking rich white boys’ club that it is. The Associated Press reported earlier this month:

More than half of the federal judges in districts where the bulk of Gulf oil spill-related lawsuits are pending have financial connections to the oil and gas industry, complicating the task of finding judges without conflicts to hear the cases, an Associated Press analysis of judicial financial disclosure reports shows.

Thirty-seven of the 64 active or senior judges in key Gulf Coast districts in Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida have links to oil, gas and related energy industries, including some who own stocks or bonds in BP PLC, Halliburton or Transocean — and others who regularly list receiving royalties from oil and gas production wells, according to the reports judges must file each year. The AP reviewed 2008 disclosure forms, the most recent available.

Those three companies are named as defendants in virtually all of the 150-plus lawsuits seeking damages, mainly for economic losses in the fishing, seafood, tourism and related industries, that have been filed over the growing oil spill since the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded April 20, killing 11 workers….

Then there is Gen. Stanley McChrystal, in charge of the debacle in Afghanistan, thinking that it’s a good idea to slam his commander in chief in Rolling Stone.

Don’t get me wrong. We shouldn’t be in Afghanistan. Even if things at home weren’t crumbling, even if the American empire weren’t rotting from within, I’d be against our being in Afghanistan, but given that we can’t keep it together here at home — that ruptured oil well that has continued to spew millions of gallons of crude oil for more than two months now, for example — I’m especially against our military overextension.

And I’m usually all for freedom of speech and in general I abhor hierarchies and people at the top of hierarchies gagging those below them, but, it seems to me, it truly is a matter of national security when a general, any general, publicly slams the commander in chief while that general is in charge of an ongoing combat operation.

Further, as many problems as I have with President Barack Obama, I can’t recall any general or other such high-ranking military official having publicly slammed George W. Bush during his or her command in the Vietraq War, even though the unelected, treasonous Bush regime thoroughly botched its illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust invasion and occupation of Iraq and left plenty to be criticized.

I can’t help but think that the facts that Obama is black and that he widely is viewed as an “elitist” because he isn’t an abject dumbfuck as is G.W. Bush — we can’t trust eggheads to be good commanders in chief, the conventional “wisdom” (a.k.a. “common sense”) goes, although to be a good commander in chief you have to be intelligent — contributed to McChrystal’s incredibly poor judgment in slamming Obama to Rolling Stone.

McChrystal should have resigned if he felt that he couldn’t follow Obama.

Now, he should resign because instead of telling Obama that he couldn’t follow Obama, he told Rolling Stone that he couldn’t follow Obama.

This behavior — a federal judge flagrantly acting in very apparent conflict of interest and a general in charge of a war slamming the commander in chief — seems to be white male (over)privilege rearing its ugly head.

It needs to stop — because it’s treasonous* — and the stupid white men who are acting in their own best interests instead of in the best interests of those they are supposed to be serving need to be treated like the traitors that they are.

The crumbling American empire cannot endure even more treason than it already has endured beginning at least since the treasonous BushCheneyCorp blatantly, treasonously stole the White House in late 2000.

*My broad definition of treason is an action or a refusal to act that benefits oneself or one’s own relatively small group at the expense of the nation as a whole. This, I believe, is the spirit of the crime of treason, although it is not the technical, legal definition of the term.

Thus, under my definition, things like stealing presidential elections and starting bogus wars for the war profiteers (such as Dick Cheney’s Halliburton), and selfishly siding with corporations instead of with the people (such as the aforementioned federal judge and U.S. Rep. Joe “Shakedown” Barton of Texas), constitute treason.

If this definition of treason were widely adopted, the traitors would stop being traitors, would stop harming the nation for their own selfish interests.

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