The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch
Missing the Boat, Totally
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By Rob Meltzer
July 17, 2013 5:11 p.m.

Rolling Stone has put Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of its recent issue, and the reaction has been interesting. The problem is that the picture makes him look like a good looking kid, which he apparently is. The outrage, criticism and condemnation has been immediate, predictable and knee jerk† from Boston politicians and retail chains, who have condemned the cover. But the AP story about this cites someone named Lauren Gabler from Washington D.C., who is quoted as saying “all of a sudden your realize that’s the bomber. The cover almost tricks you into what your looking at. I haven’t read the article yet,…but my initial reaction is that the photo that’s being used almost makes him look like a good guy.” Exactly. What a shame Mayor Menino didn’t have the same epiphany. In our society, we expect our violent criminals to look like violent psycho paths. Instead, as the AP notes, Tsarnaev looks like a young Bob Dylan or Jim Morrison, who, by the way, were outcasts and rebels of lower intensity. But that’s the Rolling Stone edge. While mainstream America may not want to admit it, Tsarnaev does have a rock star like following of people who don’t condemn or criticize his conduct, but who view his actions as legitimate acts in response to American aggression overseas. The fact that most Americans won’t accept that point is part of the problem– a dialog needs to be held, but it won’t be held if we perceive the perpetrator as a monster who is simply to be tried and executed. In addition, it helps to remember that terrorists do look like the kids next door, someone we know, admire and would never guess to be harboring violent thoughts. Terrorists aren’t them. Terrorists are us. That’s the message of this highly successful magazine cover. Those who don’t get it, or won’t try to get it, simply demonstrate the extent to which group think has reduced the ability of Americans to question, discuss and respond as intelligent people.† It’s a great and powerful cover, and it needs to be understood. By everyone.

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