Rolling Stone's strange, dreamy cover of terrorist; Update: CVS refuses to sell

It’s interesting, and infuriating.  We’ve already seen the rise of what Twitchy calls the “Jaharem” of admirers of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect, in custody since murdering a police officer and engaging in a firefight with law enforcement, then hiding and bleeding in a boat the rest of the day until he was discovered.  Now Rolling Stone offers a profile of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving brother of the duo who killed three and injured hundreds of others at the event, including an eight-year-old boy shredded by their bomb.

Why not give Tsarnaev the soft focus treatment for that, huh?


RS at least notes that Tsarnaev became “a monster,” so why pose him as a sultry dreamboat for the cover?  They didn’t need to make him look maniacal or diabolical to get the point across.  One of the surveillance photos would have been sufficient to get the point across, or one of the pictures of Tsarnaev with his friends if they wanted to press the innocence-lost angle.  Instead, they give Tsarnaev the celebrity treatment, complete with soft focus, sepia wash, and bedroom eyes.  That’s why the credit on the cover says “Illustration by Sean McCabe.”

A more minor nitpick comes from the teaser for its cover story.  Rolling Stone insists on using the name “Jahar Tsarnaev.”  That may be how the first name is pronounced, but his name is spelled “Dzhokhar.” It certainly sounds chummy and intimate to use the nickname version his friends used, but that’s hardly appropriate for a news story about a “monster.”  Why not use his actual name? Did Rolling Stone assume its readers couldn’t figure out how to say it?

As Allahpundit notes in the Green Room, the Jaharem isn’t pleased with the magazine despite the soft-focus treatment Tsarnaev gets on the cover.  I guess these guys got it all wrong 40 years ago about how to make the cover of the magazine … or maybe they got it right:

Update: Interesting reaction from one major retailer:

CVS announced on its Facebook page Wednesday that the company will not sell the current issue of Rolling Stone with suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnev on the cover.

“CVS/pharmacy has decided not to sell the current issue of Rolling Stone featuring a cover photo of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect,” the Facebook post read. “As a company with deep roots in New England and a strong presence in Boston, we believe this is the right decision out of respect for the victims of the attack and their loved ones.”

It’s their floor space, so it’s their decision whether to sell this product or not.  Any other retailers balking at this edition?

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Jazz Shaw 8:01 PM on December 06, 2022