As it has come up and generated a lot of strong feelings from many, many people, I feel that I want to say a few words about the Rolling Stone cover. I joined this facebook group concerning boycotting them. I mean, I don’t subscribe to them and I’ve barely ever read the magazine anyway, so it’s really just a gesture for me, but I felt it needed to be made.
As a Boston resident, I will be very confused if I actually see this magazine (that is, with this cover) sold anywhere in the area. Boston did a great job and recovered really well from the tragedy on Marathon Day, but that does not mean we’re not still affected by it and it DEFINITELY does not mean any of us can sit quietly with this guy’s face staring at us. I, in fact, refuse to even type his name, because as far as I’m concerned, he can exist as a person, just as long as it’s far away from me. For clarification’s sake, I was not personally affected by what happened–I was not at or near the finish line, and I did not know anyone who was hurt or killed–but I was strongly affected emotionally, as was pretty much anyone with any capacity for feeling.
Without knowing any details, one can assume that there is an article of some kind about the bomber in this issue of Rolling Stone. So the connection is obvious. I don’t have any objections to people writing articles about what happened. However, putting his picture on the cover is a step too far. Whether the piece is complimentary, sympathetic, damning, or completely objective, featuring his face on the magazine cover glorifies him (if not his actions). This is utterly unacceptable and it was a conscious choice made by the magazine. I refuse to believe that a publication that’s been around as long as Rolling Stone could make a decision like that and not be aware of the repercussions they are incurring.
I want to make one thing clear: my objections to glorifying the bomber (the live one, the dead one, or anyone else who might have been involved) has nothing to do with the possibility of it encouraging other people to seek infamy through horrific acts. It is simply because he intentionally did something awful, deplorable, that resulted in death and destruction, and he does not deserve personal recognition for such a thing. Trying to “understand” why these actions were taken is one thing. Putting him on the cover of the magazine is disrespectful to all the people who were affected by the bombing.
In conclusion, Rolling Stone editors and etc., stop trying to sell through sensationalism and think for a second about having a little human decency.