POINTING THE FINGER AT THE MOON
I've met a lot of rock stars and not one of them looks like that image of Dzhokhar Tsarneav on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. In fact, Rolling Stone magazine and Life magazine both published pictures of Charles Manson, considered to be the most dangerous man alive at the time, on the covers of their magazines. Bin Laden was on the cover of Time and so were the pictures of the men who flew those planes into the World Trade Towers on 9/11. Hitler, the most evil human landmark that ever existed, was once Time magazines Man of the Year. The genocidal Josef Stalin was also on the cover of the news magazine.
Rock stars look more like the picture of Manson on Rolling Stone than Tsarnaev does. The same picture of Tsarnaev was also on the front page of the New York Times. Nobody in the Northeast complained about that. Now major retailers like CVS, Walgreens, and Stop and Shop have pulled the magazine from their shelves nationwide.
I was asked what I thought about the picture of Tsarnaev on the cover of the fabled music magazine. I didn't think anything about it. Below the picture in thick black lettering was the word "The Bomber". I've seen that same picture in the Boston Globe and other newspapers and nobody went ballistic when that same picture accompanied the report.
Understand something extremely important. Pictures on magazine covers are just images, symbols that point to participation in an occupation, lifestyle, or involvement in an event. These pictorial symbols are not the event itself, but rather point to the subject to be found inside the contents of the magazine. If a finger is pointing at the moon, I'm not looking at the finger; I'm looking at the moon. The very fact that the words "The Bomber" were printed below the picture ought to have alleviated anyone's angst about putting Tsarnaev's face on the cover. It was an indication of what readers could expect to read about. They may disagree with the writer's words and have recourse to address the article. I may have issues with opinions written about the moon but not the finger that pointed it out to me.
Don't let yourself make images the issue. Tsarnaev took that picture himself, using his I Phone camera. It wasn't taken by Annie Leibovitz, as many of the Rolling Stone portraits have, and it wasn't photoshopped by Rolling Stone's editorial staff. While the picture may remind you of those tragic bombings, so should reports regarding his recent arraignment on 30 charges brought by federal authorities and the same picture that accompanied those articles.
Rolling Stone magazine is more than just a music magazine. In recent incarnations it's become a journal of politics, culture, and opinion. It's contained articles about 9/11, the recent flap about government spying, abortion, the war in Iraq, North Korea, legalization of marijuana, and America's dysfunctional political breakdown.
Remember. The moon is the subject, not the finger pointing to it.