Outrage Is Everyone’s Favorite Emotion: The New Rolling Stone Cover

Have you seen the new Rolling Stone cover?

Rolling Stone Facebook Page
Rolling Stone Facebook Page

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:

Being from Boston, I take this personally offensive that this shit bag is even a thought, never mind given the cover! I don’t care about his religion, race, sex or his poor family. He is bomber #2 in the white hat… That’s the most description I need.
I am ending my subscription. This is bullshit. Let’s honor those who hurt innocent people. Who’s next, George Zimmerman?? Rolling Stone is a music magazine, not the Taliban Times.
Disappointed but not at all surprised. Depicting a terrorist who kills and maims innocent people as a teenage heartthrob only promotes what he did to become famous. You should be ashamed, but my guess is, you’re not.

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. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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