Slate: In Defense of Rolling Stone’s “Bomber” cover

rolling_tsarnaev.jpg.CROP.article250-mediumNote: this is a model for the posts 18 of you will be sharing for discussion during the two weeks while tutorials are ongoing (3 per section per week).  See calendar for details.

Slate Magazine‘s Mark Joseph Stern defends Rolling Stone‘s controversial “The Bomber” cover, which, as he says “featur[es] a dreamy photo of Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.”  He argues that by “depicting a terrorist as sweet and handsome rather than ugly and terrifying, Rolling Stone has subverted our expectations and hinted at a larger truth.”

Why should people be outraged at the cover? Are they scared that it DOES say something about American society–something that maybe even helps produce killers like this?  Or does it risk romanticizing celebrity killers, which also is a kind of weird American trend?  Can the story undermine what the cover image seems to say?


2 thoughts on “Slate: In Defense of Rolling Stone’s “Bomber” cover”

  1. Perhaps the main reason people have such a incensed reaction to Tsarnaev is not because it glamorizes killers, but because it rewards a heinous action. In this sense, it would go against our sense of justice – the balance and order of the world. People of good moral virtue cannot abide the actions of evil: seeing evil go rewarded, in this sense, caused the uproar, not so much a favorable depiction of a criminal.

    But this raises a sort of double standard: why are people outraged at the favorable depiction of Tsarnaev but not, say, Chechen terrorists fighting in southern Russia? Is it because The Rolling Stone has a role in the mainstream media and reaches a larger audience? Or that it’s simply due to circumstances of birth – that American lives are somehow worth more than other lives and as such deserve more attention and require more support to condemn those that attack Americans. Tsarnaev claimed he was retaliating against evil: perhaps this image touches a deeper sense in America that the face of a killer can look surprisingly like the people we idolize.

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