Balanced Thinking About The Rolling Stone Cover From Marc Randazza
Smart, nuanced view that counterbalances all the hysterics from a blog post by Randazza. An excerpt:
I think the problem that some people have with the cover is that it has a tendency to humanize Tsarnev. On that cover, you see him as "normal." Meanwhile, we prefer to see villains as one-dimensional. It is just so comforting to look at someone who did something horrible, and say "I could not even see myself hanging out with this guy, he's just not like us."
It makes it easier to deal with if we can look at this guy and say "he's a monster." There, the end. No texture. No substance to our analysis. We are good. He is bad. The end.
...Mayor Menino's call for stories about the victims, and "honoring" them, instead, completely misses the point. Focusing on the dead teaches us nothing. Focusing even on the heroes of that day, unfortunately, teaches us nothing. We already think about that. We already understand that. Hoisting the cops and firemen on our shoulders and mourning the dead does nothing for us.
Learning about the bad guy does. It really does.
The Tsarnevs lose if we are better after what they did. They win even more if we turn this into yet another victim contest and further dumbing down of what is left of real journalism.
You're a citizen in the remnants of a democratic society. You have a responsibility to be smarter every day. Decrying Rolling Stone for trying to help you do that is not the right thing to do. Pressuring stores to take journalism off of their racks because you think you're supposed to be offended, that's not the right thing to do. Sending a warning shot across the bow of every newspaper and magazine with your outcry? You're part of why American journalism is racing toward shlock and celebrity worship every day, and away from Edward R. Murrow.