Have you seen the new Rolling Stone cover?
Rolling Stone’s Facebook page is blowing up right now. People are mad that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is occupying a place usually reserved for celebrities.
Some selections from the Facebook page:
It seemed perfectly normal to me that people would want to discuss why anyone commits a crime like this. It’s fascinating, and I think, the more discussion we can have about this subject, the more we can become aware of the factors at play and maybe even do something about them. If there is a way to fix people before they become monsters, I would like to know what it is.
There are many comments about how the victims, not Dzhokhar, deserve to be on the cover. But, this isn’t a “deserve” issue. Rolling Stone isn’t making a statement about the value of Dzkhokhar versus the victims. They are doing what media outlets do: having conversations people want to learn about. I don’t want to not talk about things publicly. We don’t want Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to be He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
Is Dzhokhar glamorized now?
I mean the copy on the cover doesn’t say “the worst person in the history of the world, ever.” It feels open to investigating his motives rather than immediately condemning him, “How a Popular, Promising Student Was Failed by His Family, Fell Into Radical Islam and Became a Monster.” To be clear, they are still calling him a monster, but they want to know why and how this happened. It is our job as humans to have these kind of conversations, to think critically—not label and bury.
People love to be outraged. You can get a lot of attention from it. It makes them seem knowledgeable to be the person in their friend group that knows about something and can see why it’s wrong. They become the teacher, a position of power informing others on the ways of the world.
It’s short-sighted though, to be angry about the existence of a valuable conversation we need to have—exactly how do people become monsters? We can’t prevent this from happening until we know what to prevent.