I spent the first three quarters of my working life in the music business. An artist attaining the coveted cover spot of the Rolling Stone magazine was a career maker and a sign that they had “arrived”. After this week’s decision by the editors to place Dzhokhar Tsarnev, the brother and suspect accomplice of the alleged Boston Marathon bomber I’m not so sure what it means.
The picture actually presents him as a baby-faced heartthrob rather than a suspected terrorist. The article paints him as “a popular, promising student (who) was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam, and became a monster.” He was influenced by his radical brother but come on – he was in control of his decisions and he decided to place bombs designed to kill hundreds along the race route. They killed three and injured two-hundred and sixty-four others. Outrage about this decision is being expressed nationwide. I think Boston Mayor Tom Menino summed it up appropriately in his letter to Jann Wenner, editor of Rolling Stone where he said, among other things: “The survivors of the Boston attacks deserve Rolling Stone cover stories, though I no longer feel that Rolling Stone deserves them”.
What in the world is going through the editor’s mind? Here’s one theory – a week ago nobody was talking about Rolling Stone today everyone is. Is this a perverted way to catapult the music celebrity magazine back into the limelight?
The magazine is scheduled to hit store shelves in early August but many stores are banning it. The bulk of their sales, however, come through the 1.34 million subscriptions. It would not hurt them too much if they didn’t sell all 75,000 copies that are sold at retail. The real risk to them is if this backfires and subscribers cancel – I only hope that decent, freedom loving Americans will be repulsed by placing this radical Muslim on the cover of a magazine that was once an icon of music celebrity.