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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

That's NOT Jesus on the cover of Rolling Stone. It's Jim Morrison.

As close to Jesus as Rolling Stone gets. 1971.
I’m not a life-long fan of Rolling Stone magazine.  I’m not here to defend a Rock&Roll magazine that dabbles in politics and analysis of mainstream culture.  I’m here to defend any magazine that is kicked off store shelves because Corporate Headquarters is offended. 

In this case, Corporate Headquarters (CVS, Walgreens, 7-Eleven) is worried that the August 2013 Rolling Stone cover romanticizes unexpected Islamic terrorism on American soil.  Corporate Headquarters believes that we Americans shouldn’t have to wade through densely printed articles that describe the complicated national and personal milieu that pushed yet another young male into a convoluted justification of mass murder.

We may rightly ask: Why feature this young male mass murderer and not all the other Caucasian/Non-Muslim young male mass murderers we can choose from disturbingly recent history, who have killed far more American citizens in one fell swoop than this team of brothers?

?Maybe because Rolling Stone is less concerned about the backlash from bomb right supporters than gun right supporters in the US?  In that case… the August 2013 cover is evidence of a lack of backbone.

1970 Charles Manson
?Maybe because Rolling Stone figured that it’s time they acknowledge the scourge of young men who snap and kill, or attempt to kill, multitudes of innocent American citizens for the heck of it?  But in this case, the brothers don’t quite meet the pattern of diagnosable mental illness as a precursor to the murders.

?Maybe because Rolling Stone hasn’t found a good reason yet to point out all the home-grown terrorists, like we have here in Minnesota among the Somali community… who after being frustrated with the difficulties of assimilating into pasty white Lutheranism, are suckered into a cultish version of Islam that encourages them to go back to their home countries and blow up themselves and others?  I had a hard time writing that question… so I can only imagine Rolling Stone would have a hard time writing that article.
1975 Patty Hearst with submachine gun in artist riffing on Wyeth's "Christina's World"
?Maybe because Rolling Stone discovered that putting an SLA brain-washed terrorist heiress on the cover in 1975 did NOT create an epidemic of brain-washed terrorist heiresses? Paris Hilton and the Kardashians don’t count.
1978 The Economy
?Maybe… because Rolling Stone doesn’t give a shit what Corporate Headquarters thinks about who they choose to write about or place on their cover?  Dear Jesus… please let this be the right answer?!!!!

And it is… because we all know… or used to know… that Corporate Headquarters is exactly who good journalism shouldn’t give a shit about.  For that matter, should good journalism give a shit about stepping on the toes of a nation in shock, in mourning, or just selectively numb?

Does the outcry against the August 2013 Rolling Stone cover suggest that America is no longer numb to violence… or does it suggest that while we are okay with all sorts of stupidity taking place among our citizens we can’t get past the shallow perception that being on a cover of a magazine suggests absolution from all sin?

In that case, the Catholic Church should be in good shape.

My beef: That certain Corporate Headquarters have decided that we Americans, when faced with an in-depth article regarding a home-grown killer, all we can handle is the initial, perhaps confusing, reaction to a semi-handsome face on the cover of a sex, drugs and rock&roll magazine.  We can’t process anything beyond that initial reaction… which might be confusion for some, anger for others, curiosity for many, or ironic, bitter laughter from others. 

So Many Emotions!!!!

Here’s where my Hot4Jesus expertise comes in handy.  I grew up in a household inundated by conservative Christian radio and magazines which constantly told its listeners and readers what kind of pop culture it should or shouldn’t consume (my family consumed NO pop culture, which was an anomaly in the 1980s). 

These conservative Christian media outlets had no qualms about suggesting where not to buy things based on how corporate headquarters stood on things like abortion, women’s lib, divorce, pre-marital sex, rock&roll, Reagan, etc.  They provided easy to consume lists of who to send your complaints to, where not to shop, what not to buy.

(Yes... the hipppies did this too.)

So I’ve been itching for an old-fashioned reason to boycott someone about something and here it is: For the month of August (starting as soon as I read about it last week in mid-July), I am boycotting the stores that are boycotting the Rolling Stones cover.

Why?  Because two can play this pathetic and demeaning and nearly pointless game.  I normally shop at CVS, because it is most convenient, not because I want to.  I’ve already spent $30 dollars of my paycheck I normally would have spent at the nearest CVS ($30 is a lot to me) elsewhere this week.  And I thought you and CVS and Rolling Stone might want to know. 

And no… I’m not Muslim.  To me Islam is as much about the gospel of peace as Christianity is about the gospel of love… all depends on what pew you’re sitting in.

It’s a silly little personal boycott, but one thing you learn from being versed in boycotts at a young age is not only do you boycott a place of business, but you let the entity you are boycotting KNOW you are boycotting them.

CVS: consider yourself and your sad little BigBrother Insulting Bullshit NOTIFIED.

Back when the Apocalypse almost happened: 1969
In one of the libraries I work at, Rolling Stone is shelved right next to Runner’s World Magazine.  Coincidence at its best.  

It is obvious to me that no one on the staff at corporate headquarters for CVS, Walgreens, etc., is a librarian or well-versed in librarian philosophy which boils down to the following: When one group of human brains decide what other groups of human brains can handle and process and thus start censoring what people can look at or read… well… it’s what is called a "Slippery Slope"… and Damned Hypocritical. (Check out CVS’ collection of steamy romance novels or the cover of the Sports Illustrated Issue… which yes… some libraries have to hide behind the desk for fear of confiscation).

The Fine Arts of Sensual Massage. 1972
So, because I’m well-versed in library philosophy, and because this blog is here because of freedom of speech, and because we all love to hate on corporations now and then, and because I like to share when my upbringing backfires, I will continue to NOT spend my hard-earned money at the places that belittle the emotions and brains of the people who shop there.

You’re free to join me, but like any killer/ rock star… I don’t give a shit what you think about all of this :)

(For those still waiting for it: The Terrorists Win if Corporate America is afraid of the selfie of a impressionable young man, regardless of how many lives he ruined.)


Max Wilder said...

I've no doubt that people are reacting negatively to the picture on the cover of Rolling Stone for a variety of reasons, but my reaction is for two:

1. Media attention encourages others psychopaths to follow in their footsteps. You seem to dismiss that with a handwave, but I think it is a serious problem. This guy killed innocent people, and because of that made the cover of Rolling Stone. Yeah, I can see that being something other mass murderers will aspire to, if only to help spread their message.

2. I don't want to see it. I don't want to think about it. Shit happens. It gets reported. Fine, we should be aware of our world, and people should get involved in changing the things they want to see changed. Otherwise, please stop reminding me of something depressing that I can do nothing about. And it's all the more depressing for the fact of reason #1.

Infamy is a type of fame, and people want fame. I don't care if the very thoughtful article paints him as Satan incarnate, just putting his face on the cover of the magazine is lifting him up to heights that he doesn't deserve, and it is not a good thing for anybody.

Christine Vyrnon said...

So... #1 by your logic, every picture of every crook, mobster, rapist, dictator, despotic pope/pastor/politician on the cover of any/all media front pages, covers... just encourages more asshole behavior... because front page photos will be the thing that pushes the already mentally unstable over the edge to do heinous crimes? It doesn't work that way... nor does the press work that way. Show me the evidence to the contrary... that any/all media coverage encourages sin/crime/murder/rape/murder. You might as well tell journalists to ignore the bad guys because reporting their crimes just glamorizes all crimes. And yes... I am dismissing this "cover of Rolling Stone glamorizes subject and will cause people to do crazy and horrible things" with a wave of my hand... because I still trust YOU, Max, to make the decision to not buy it and voice your disgust without having someone you and I don't know make that decision for you.

And as for #2... why are you even bothering with reading anything online, much less this blog, if it is all too much out of your control and causes so much stress? Wouldn't it just be better if someone just blacklined everything online or that shows up in your Twitter feed, your google searches, your Facebook feed that gets your panties bunched up so you don't have to worry about any of this?? You seem to have just allowed 3.5, maybe 4 minutes of your life to be sucked away into something you don't care about, don't want to read about, don't want to think about. Maybe it would have been better if someone else had sheltered you from this blog from the get-go. Yes?

Which brings us back to #1... I guess I trust your decision to get upset with my waving of the hand about all of this moreso than a third party basically telling you that me and my opinion doesn't exist.

The essence is... I am insulted that someone thinks you and I and even "crazy" people can't be trusted with the picture of a murderer on the cover of a magazine... any magazine. And I hope you would be insulted too.