Is the Rolling Stone Cover a Bomb?

Have you hear the controversy swirling around the “selfie” of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on its August cover?

The cover text calls him a “monster”, but folks are complaining that this particular image glorifies someone who perpetrated such horrific acts. Not having read the article myself, I turned to this article at USA Today for an update. A preface to an article at addresses the issue head-on:

Our hearts go out to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, and our thoughts are always with them and their families. The cover story we are publishing this week falls within the traditions of journalism and Rolling Stone’s long-standing commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage of the most important political and cultural issues of our day. The fact that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is young, and in the same age group as many of our readers, makes it all the more important for us to examine the complexities of this issue and gain a more complete understanding of how a tragedy like this happens.

What’s your take? Is the image wholly inappropriate, or perfect for the story Rolling Stone is trying to tell?


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  • Dale

    After the bombing, I think a great many Americans were puzzled that a popular, successful and seemingly normal young man could do something so horrific. The cover photo shows him as the normal student which he had been. It is a jarring contrast to our mental image of him today.

  • Manny

    I haven’t read the article either. My take is that the cover doesn’t glorify him but does make him appealing to the typical Rolling Stone reader, that being a far left radical who doesn’t find patriotism a noble value. The image is morally ambiguous and that’s dispicable when you consider what he did. It doesn’t glorify him but it’s a subversive image nonetheless.

  • Margaret Rose Realy

    An alluring image for teenagers who don’t read more than three words. Why didn’t they use his mug shot for an accurate portrayal of his “activity”? Oh…I know…not marketable.

    • Barb S

      My thoughts exactly. That photo makes him look pinup-worthy. Is he a mass murderer or a rock star?