*********Update! July 23, 2013 Update! ***********************************
It seems like Rolling Stone magazine is not out of the woods yet. Jack Osbourne, son to Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, has taken to Change.org and started a petition urging Rolling Stone Magazine to donate all profits made from this edition’s sales to the victims, family members, and first responders affected by the Boston Marathon Bombing. He further states,
“Glamorizing a suspected terrorist on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine is not controversial, it’s just wrong. Innocent people have been killed or injured by the alleged actions of this man. There is no justification for awarding him a cover spot traditionally reserved for entertainment icons. It is this kind of action that encourages other sick individuals to act out in hopes of earning notoriety or martyrdom for their cause…This petition does not take issue with the cover story, but the cover. We support the first amendment and the freedom of the press, but we do not support glorifying suspected terrorists in this manner. The innocent victims, their families, the first responders, and the people of Boston are the ones who deserve to be honored and remembered. We challenge Rolling Stone Magazine to donate ALL profits (retail and advertising revenue) generated from the August issue to all the victims, surviving family members, and first responders adversely affected by the Boston Marathon bombings.”
Agree or disagree, let us know what you think!
*********Originally Posted on July 18, 2013 ******************************
Rolling Stone Magazine is no stranger to controversy. Over the decades, many of their covers have become iconic, caused outrage amongst the parents of teens everywhere and pushed the limits of decency and morals…yet they were always cool. Rolling Stone managed to navigate the often fickle road rock and roll has been on for years, changing with the times and even directly influencing the times, from hard-hitting investigative journalism to outlandish and jaw dropping interviews, they were the premier music magazine for any rock star, hip hop master, country crooner, politician, pop tart sex queen, writer and actor. Most everyone dreamed of the day they would make it on the cover of Rolling Stone.
The magazine was deeply influential to my own musical taste, politics and consumption of pop culture. I still have my copy of the 1992 edition featuring naked Red Hot Chili Peppers and my copy of the edition dedicated to Jerry Garcia after his passing. I can still picture Britney Spears sprawled out, mid-drift showing with a phone cord coiled around her fingers, thinking Rolling Stone just created a pedophiles dream. And, I can also still see the words of the Angelina Jolie interview where she opened up about her vile of Billy Bob blood and wanting to eat his ear. Rolling Stone is part of our common thread and yet, this time, on the edition set to come out August 3, the magazine has all of us wondering how they got it so wrong.
The edition about to be published has accused Boston bomber terrorist Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover. Inside is a feature piece discussing his life, family and apparent insight into what went wrong, like that matters to any of the victims. However, it isn’t the fact that Rolling Stone is exercising their first amendment right to write and print a story about anything they want that is causing an uproar. It is the cover picture of Tsarnaev. The picture isn’t his mug shot or the grainy shot of his bloodied body being taken from that boat. It is a picture of a tousled haired hipster kid looking straight forward a la Jim Morrison’s infamous seductive rock god cover. If you didn’t know who he was, you would assume the cover celebrity for August was the latest “it” guy in Hollywood or has a smooth new single that has moms all in dire straits over its pulsating lyrics. You certainly wouldn’t look at his picture and think it was the face of an accused terrorist who was responsible for the deaths of innocent marathon fans, including an 8 year old boy with the biggest smile and a young MIT cop just doing his job. You wouldn’t think it was the face of guy who, along with his brother, was responsible for the maiming, disfiguring and scarring of hundreds of innocent people. You wouldn’t think it was the face of a sociopath who could coldly plant a bomb, casually walk away as it exploded and then return to the gym, dorm and college classes for the few days of freedom he had left, as if his own hands hadn’t created unspeakable carnage. You wouldn’t think this guy could do all of that a few short months ago and end up on the cover of the Rolling Stone, but he has.
The sh**storm of anger and outrage has spread to a point in the last 24 hours that major retailers, including CVS, Rite Aid and a Massachusetts based grocery chain have announced they will not sell the issue. I am sure before it comes out, many more will follow. The boycott and outrage of a number of high profile musicians will also likely spread as many are already condemning the cover choice. Maybe the collective “WTF” wave sweeping the country when they see this cover will be enough to truly impact the future of a magazine that got it so incredibly wrong this time. On their part, Rolling Stone stand firmly by the story. They have issued a statement likening the terrorist to their demographic and tried to rationalize what will ultimately be seen as a major marketing faux pas. The statement lacked an apology for the image; which seems like a rookie public relations mistake. The image, not the story, is what has lit a fire under everyone that still thinks a young punk with a bomb doesn’t deserve the cover shoot celebrity treatment to his image. We, the rational, compassionate, good-overcomes-evil American public won’t stand for the glorification of anyone who wantonly tries to take a life, destroy our way of life or take advantage of the freedoms and liberties we cherish as Americans. Including going to watch a marathon or, hopefully now, refusing to buy one single copy of a magazine that would dare feed a cold-blooded killer back to us. Parading him in all of his clean, pretty, flawless skin and air brushed glory, for the sake of sales and shock value. Mr. Tsarnaev, you do not deserve to be on the cover of Rolling Stone. This statement seems utterly obvious to the rest of us, unlike the Rolling Stone honchos. Dear Rolling Stone, how about going back to the days when a naked Anthony Kiedis flanked your cover? That I could at least respect and want burned into my consciousness. But even if you do backpedal and give your next thousand covers to hot rock gods who deserve it, the damage may have already been done.
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