'Stone' cold

Magazine shows accused bomber through cracked lens of celebrity worship

The editors of Rolling Stone magazine defended their decision to grace its current cover with a flattering photo of the surviving Boston bomber by calling it “serious and thoughtful coverage” of “political and cultural issues of the day.”


Yes, and if you look up the definition of “hokum” you’ll see that explanation there, too.

What a load of manure.

“Serious and thoughtful coverage” of “political and cultural issues of the day” in no way requires 1) the use of a suspected terrorist’s picture; 2) the use of a suspected terrorist’s picture as big as life on your cover; or 3) the use of a suspected terrorist’s most complimentary picture he’s ever taken.

It is, however, a good way to draw attention to your magazine, which this has done. But with any luck, their decision to use Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s Glamour Shots photo – which made him look like a rock star – will backfire.

It already has created a backlash, with thousands around the country expressing outrage and offense at the despicable stunt, and several large retailers declining to sell that particular issue.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino has added his disgust as well.

Are the fine folks at famed pop culture pundit Rolling Stone as tone-deaf with their music tastes? What in the world were they thinking when they decided to make a rotten, murderous, contemptible terror suspect look like the next coming of Bob Dylan?

What next? The “Tsarnaev Diet”?

It’s bad enough that there were already lunatics and crackpots out there – supposed Americans! – who support, admire and even love Tsarnaev. In social media and on Internet sites, fans of the alleged Boston Marathon bomber have expressed their devotion to him. One girl said she planned to have one of his Twitter quotes tatooed on her body. A Facebook page dedicated to freeing him had 6,000 followers earlier this year.

That’s just how vapid our celebrity-obsessed culture has become.

And, as twisted as Tsarnaev’s Manson-style groupies are, one expert warns that fawning media depictions such as the Rolling Stone cover could cause those depraved devotees to follow in his bloody footprints: “If they want to become famous, kill somebody,” a criminologist describes their potential thinking.

Thank goodness there are still people with more sense than either Dzhokhar’s disciples or the editors of Rolling Stone.

“CVS/pharmacy has decided not to sell the current issue of Rolling Stone featuring a cover photo of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect,” the chain said in a statement. “As a company with deep roots in New England and a strong presence in Boston, we believe this is the right decision out of respect for the victims of the attack and their loved ones.”

Where are the favorable photos of Tsarnaev’s badly wounded victims who are striving to build their lives again?

Even a celebrity-spellbound culture should consider, from time to time, what it is celebrating.



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