Rolling Stone: ALL of Our Covers Glorify Someone Objectionable
New York, NY, July 18 (AP) – Reacting to widespread criticism of his magazine’s featuring Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of its August issue, Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner wondered aloud why Tsarnaev’s appearance was any more objectionable that that of the other questionable role models the publication has glorified over the years.
The cover article, by Janet Reitman, explores the childhood influences and life of the bombing suspect before he was arrested for the April terrorist attacks. The controversy involves not the material of the article, which most readers agree demonstrates journalistic integrity, but the magazine’s decision to feature Tsarnaev on its cover, a spot usually reserved for prominent entertainment or political figures. National chains such as Walgreen’s and CVS have refused to sell the August issue, ignoring the fact that nearly every other Rolling Stone issue features a cover photo of someone heavily involved in unsavory, illegal, or harmful activities.
“When people say nothing of our lionizing of drug addicts, womanizers, and abusers of their romantic partners, I have to say I find this particular bit of noise disingenuous,” said Wenner. In its 46-year history the magazine has featured Woody Allen, whose marriage to Mia Farrow dissolved over his sexual relationship with the couple’s adopted daughter; Madonna, who has been second only to porn stars in glamorizing the sexualization of women; and Kurt Cobain, whose substance abuse and stormy relationship with Courtney Love eventually led to his 1994 suicide. According to Wenner, these three were but the tip of the cultural iceberg that Rolling Stone’s covers represented, and he could not help but wonder what made Americans stay silent until now.
“Actually, it’s more of a cesspool than an iceberg. Are you telling me it’s OK to heap praise on people who promote the use of LSD, such as several of The Beatles? Or Jimi Hendrix, who died because he took eighteen times the recommended dosage of sleeping pills?” continued an incredulous Wenner. “Heck, even our own writer, Hunter S. Thompson, admitted to using drugs, alcohol, and violence, and he also killed himself. What do you expect from us, My Little Pony?”
In response to suggestions that Tsarnaev was a different order of unpleasant character, an actual terrorist and murderer, Wenner retorted that Rolling Stone had on four occasions put none other than Richard Nixon on its cover, and asked reporters why no one seemed to care then that the publication was lionizing a hateful, bloodthirsty, bigoted, corrupt hypocrite responsible for the loss of thousands of American, Vietnamese, Cambodian, and other lives. “The Guy was scum,” noted Wenner. “Where were all these critics then?”
At press time, an animated South Park version of Saddam Hussein and an image of Darth Vader, who have also appeared on Rolling Stone covers, were heard laughing in a sinister fashion.