Americans Lose Whatever Little Sense the Good Lord Gave Them

[This post was featured on Crooks and Liars.]

Ah, the Rolling Stone controversy:

glamorize the terrorist

The biting wit and satire of a talentless hack …

To Rolling Stone detractors: Please By Erik Wemple, Published: July 17 at 10:54 am Washington Post

Today the output of our country’s tedious outrage machine relates to the above Rolling Stone cover about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (also spelled Jahar). It glamorizes himIt turns him . . . actually, there’s no point in summarizing the objections. Why not just skim Twitter for 1.5 seconds and find multiple representative samples …

Ah. Our news “coverage” has devolved into mindlessly aggregating tweets* and pretending that this is anything other than the obsessive/compulsive need to roll one’s feces into little balls and neatly display them in lieu of actually writing anything — a pernicious trend surely spawned by brain damage and lack of edumacati0n. [sic] [* I say this as one who pioneered news coverage through Twitter. See HERE.] But it’s much more evil than that. It is INSANE.

rolling stone cover2

I tried to shine this one on, really I did. I don’t want you thinking that I get my jollies just sitting here watching the imbeciles attempting to educate the morons, but when it refuses to skulk back into its fetid den and remains front and center as the Cowardice Centerfold and Censorious Cause Celebré of the hilariously self-entitled “land of the free and home of the brave,” I can’t remain silent.

The ultimate pursification came this morning, via NPR’s “Morning Edition” which pissed its panties so HARD this morning that the sound of liquid spattering against concrete could almost be heard in this craven and shameful tag team exchange (Male Anchor, Female Anchor, “pundit” taking softballs from the male anchor voice):

business media
Outrage Over Boston Bombing Suspect On ‘Rolling Stone’ Cover
July 18, 2013 4:00 AM

Listen to the Story

[NPR] Morning Edition 4 min 57 sec Marathon bombing suspect Dzhohkar Tsarnaev is featured on the August 1 cover of Rolling Stone. The photo is a somewhat glamorous shot that’s got people talking about the magazine’s editorial choice….

Here are some sounds that bite … there is too much grandiloquent prose here to take in at one sitting. It is rather like watching/listening to a glacier of bullshit calving into a sea of horse urine …

“a loose shirt and tousled hair” intones female co-anchor, playing Good Cop/Puritan Cop  … and ‘media critic’ David Folkenflik:

“there’s been a bit of an outcry” followed by a bunch of weirdly fawning descriptives  “Jim Morrison … young Bob Dylan”

a journalistic decision, but obviously a provocative one, as well.

“They are forcing you to have some sympathy for this young man “

dr-hook rolling stone

Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show’s hit
“Cover of the Rolling Stone” hits eponymously
 and self-referentially when I was in … high school.

First of all, let me congratulate the Geritol®-swillers over at Rolling Stone. RS has been a distasteful rag ever since they decided to start stapling issues. I say this as someone who used to subscribe. As relevant as “flagpole sitting.” But, somehow churning on with the ability to find a loving blurb for nearly every film that has ever come out. Hmmmm.

“Hagiography” …

quotes from Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show’s (Shel Silverstein) “Cover of the Rolling Stone.”

Oh. Good. Ghod. That was a hit when I was in HIGH school. Aargh.

click here to watch/listen on YouTube

And yet, we watch the “brainiacs” of the internets crossing words over this “controversy.” Appreciate this intellectually addle-pated inadvertent surrealist poetry (a ‘ready made’ as Marcel DuChamp would have called it):

Marcel Duchamp (1887 - 1968)

Ready made – Marcel Duchamp (1887 – 1968)

Erik Wemple: To Rolling Stone detractors: Please


Ian Crouch / News Desk: The Inconvenient Image of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
Jake Tapper / The Lead with Jake Tapper: Former White House National Security spokesman criticizes Rolling Stone cover
Jenn Taylor / Twitchy: ‘Go to hell’: Vocalist David Draiman of Disturbed destroys ‘ultra-liberal’ Rolling Stone in epic rant
Alexandra Petri / ComPost: Future Rolling Stone covers
Ken Shepherd / NewsBusters blogs: WashPost’s Media Blogger Bemoans ‘Tedious Outrage Machine’ Upset with Rolling Stone’s Tsarnaev Cover
Abby Stevens / Deseret News: Rolling Stone cover with alleged Boston Marathon Bomber sparks controversy
Julie Cannold / CNN: Rolling Stone cover no thrill
Lauren Strapagiel / Rolling Stone blasted for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev cover
Jack Mirkinson / The Huffington Post: Rolling Stone Did Nothing Wrong
Michelle Malkin: Ja-harem time: Tiger Beat terrorist on Rolling Stone cover*

[* I see that Michelle Malkin is now plagiarizing Charles Pierce of Esquire. ]

bizarro superman as liberal

Seriously, we’re denouncing a perfectly innocuous use of a newsworthy photo (which appeared on page 1 of the New York Times earlier this year according to the NPR pundit) about an alleged terrorist (and the article is NOT what you’d call complimentary) over the weirdo fantasy projections of a bunch of nutbags?


The theory is that by NOT making the alleged terrorist look like Satan Incarnate, we’re playing into the terrorists’ hands?

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME??!? (Lewis Black inflection).

rolling stone cover suggested

Is this what they’re asking for?  Make sure that
nobody would see a magazine cover and suddenly
decide to make bombs, just from that ONE picture!

Isn’t “Thought Police” what we’re worried about? Isn’t that the whole Greenwald/Snowden stunt in a nutshell? But now we’re demanding censorship of a cover, based on somebody’s feelings about THEIR interpretation of a perfectly non-obscene, non-gory photograph? Or, how come this is controversial, when TownHall and NewsBusters print this in Ann Coulter’s latest column:

coulter but not yet


The attention whore’s attention syphilis has gone into its tertiary phase, t’ would appear. Here’s the somewhat longer conclusion, in case you think Ann is being taken out of context:

(And please stop talking about Martin’s “hoodie”! Zimmerman wasn’t worried about the hoodie; he was worried about being beaten to death.)

Instead of turning every story about a black person killed by a white person into an occasion to announce, “The simple fact is, America is a racist society,” liberals might, one time, ask the question: Why do you suppose there would be a generalized fear of young black males? What might that be based on?

Throw us a bone. It’s because a disproportionate number of criminals are young black males. It just happens that when Lee Van Houten and George Zimmerman were mugged by two of them, they survived the encounter.

Or, when Ted Nugent says THIS (courtesy of Americans Against the Tea Party - click for original Media Matters  files):


During his recent appearance on The Alex Jones Show, Nugent proclaimed that racism ‘was gone’ by ‘the late [19]60s’ and any oppression Black people have faced since then has all been their doing, saying,

I would like to reach out to black America and tell them to absolutely reject the lie of Al ‘Not So’ Sharpton, and Jesse Jackson, and the Black Panthers, and Eric Holder and Barack Obama. They are enslaving you and the real shackles on black America, 100 percent of the time come from black America.

Racism against blacks was gone by the time I started touring the nation in the late 60s. Nothing of consequence existed to deter or compromise a Black American’s dream if they got an alarm clock, if they set it, if they took good care of themselves, they remained clean and sober, if they spoke clearly, and they demanded excellence of themselves and provided excellence to their employers….

I could not listen to the entire thing (being temporarily and sporadically engaged in relief of nausea through a practice akin to involuntary bulemia) but I am sure that Mr. Nugent explained that he has several Black friends.


And, perennial crypto-racist Rush Limbaugh finally tiptoes over the line from endlessly implying the N-word to speaking the N-word. (See “Barack The Magic Negro“).

click here to watch on YouTube

The modern day Ku Klux Kl0ds let the mask drop but we have no outrage for THAT.


No, we’re off in someone’s homoerotic projections on the Cover of Rolling Stone.

Bad craziness.

bad craziness steadman

But weep not for Rolling Stone. Controversy guarantees sales, so you can prepare to hear a followup story in a week or so about how that was the biggest selling issue of Rolling Stone since …. [INSERT POP CULTURE REFERENCE HERE].


UPDATE 2:56 PM PDT: Here’s how USA Today, suitable for lining your parakeet cage journalism, headlines the “controversy”:

‘Rolling Stone’ defends Tsarnaev glam cover amid outcry
USA TODAY – ‎15 minutes ago

Rolling Stone, hit by a storm of criticism and boycotts over its cover treatment and glam photo of Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, defended itself Wednesday, saying it was within its tradition of “serious and thoughtful coverage” of important cultural and political issues.

Readers, particularly from the Boston area, slammed the magazine on its Facebook page, charging that the cover treatment turns the accused killer into a “rock star.”


Woonsocket, R.I.-based pharmacy chain CVS also said it was boycotting the edition. “As a company with deep roots in New England and a strong presence in Boston, we believe this is the right decision out of respect for the victims of the attack and their loved ones,” the company said on its Facebook page.

Walgreens tweeted simply that it “will not be selling this issue of Rolling Stone magazine,” thanking people “for sharing your thoughts with us.”

Rolling Stone’s own Facebook page was also flooded with comments, most of them negative.

A sampling …

Oh, and at the very bottom a ‘slideshow’ of “controversial” Rolling Stone covers.  Why it’s ALMOST as great a newspaper as my old high school newspaper. Almost.

Seriously? You’re claiming to be “journalists” by reprinting whatever comments you can find on the RS comments page? Almost as intellectual as reporting tweets from celebrities. And they said American journalism was DEAD. Nawww. It’s just coughing up black blood and farting uncontrollably. Pay no attention to those circling vultures.

Here’s some more “found art” from Google’s news headlines, as the “moral” “journalists” chasten Rolling Stone from their exalted cloud kingdom:

Mag’s the picture of desperation Boston Herald – ‎17 hours ago‎
Hey, Rolling Stone magazine! Next time you want to prove how provocative and edgy you are, put a flattering photo of George Zimmerman on your cover. Right. Like that’s ever going to happen. And that’s part of the reason for Boston’s completely righteous …

Rolling Stone cover opens raw wounds Boston Herald – ‎18 hours ago‎
Rolling Stone’s glam cover treatment of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev — putting him in an iconic slot usually reserved for rock stars — drew outrage and newsstand boycotts yesterday and cut into the wounded hearts of people whose …

Mayor Menino blasts Rolling Stone over Tsarnaev cover Boston Herald – ‎Jul 17, 2013‎
Mayor Thomas M. Menino today wrote to the publisher of Rolling Stone, telling him the decision to put accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of next month’s edition “rewards a terrorist with celebrity treatment” — treatment the …

Rock star treatment? Boston Herald – ‎Jul 16, 2013‎
Accused marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has made the cover of Rolling Stone — an iconic spot coveted by rock stars — prompting an immediate Twitter storm over the treatment of the suspected terrorist, while the accompanying profile reports his slain …

Tsarnaev defense team pushes to add death-penalty specialist Boston Herald – ‎Jul 15, 2013‎
Accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev wants to add another taxpayer-financed death-penalty specialist to his legal team — this time, a veteran attorney who helped spare a plane hijacker and a former al-Qaeda member from the gallows…

Sorry that they’re ALL Boston Herald (suitable for wrapping dead Whitey Bulger enemies). But, as we all know, the Boston Herald defines “credible journalism” for Bay State imbeciles and displaced Klanspersons. Take it up with Google.

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23 responses to “Americans Lose Whatever Little Sense the Good Lord Gave Them

  1. I have a short, shameful confession to make here; for a short time after seeing that cover I almost caught the outrage crayzee too.

    But if there’s anything that recent history has taught me, it’s to count to 10, and to shut my freaking yap until I have some more information and context.

    It’s a little like the two-minutes hate in a way. The trick isn’t to acting like you’re on board, the real trick is to keep from joining in. It’s aggravating because you feel like part of the hivemind, like there IS a hivemind, and if there is one, it’s been hi-jacked and is being used in the service of something truly sinister.

    No, don’t get mad at that! Get mad at this dreamy picture of a man whose name you can’t pronounce and can hardly spell! They’re sexifying him!

    I’ll admit I’m not perfect. I sometimes speak before I should; but I’m learning, slowly learning.

    That, and this article rocked.

  2. By gods, we can’t have any of the presumed bad guys looking like, oh, fuck, I don’t know….HUMAN BEINGS?! This utterly predictable bullshit is what happens when patriotism has devolved from involved citizenship and voting to mere nationalistic chest-beating. And when the necessarily large “flag pins” have exhausted the rhinestone sources of the world.

  3. Meh, RS is just another corporate rag. Other than reading the occasional Matt Taibbi articles it’s only good for cat litter or starting fires.

  4. Bollinger

    Screw the cover, it’s a good article. Made me a bit wistful reading it, though. I thought, gosh, I kinda wish someone would write my life story, interview everyone who’s ever met me, and delve into all the little family/school/employment struggles in my life, and really put it all into context. Shine a light on the Bollinger! Sadly, I’m not likely to invent the next Facebook or kill anyone, so my interesting life shall remain unexamined.

    • I tend to agree with your literary assessment, but that’s another story.

      For some reason, people have been arguing that THIS IMAGE will destroy the minds of youth, lay waste to morality, end temperance, create giant hailstorms and cause cats and dogs to make common cause against us. For about two centuries, one score and four.

      And then they rightly claim that they have a first amendment right to say whatever it is that public is outraged about.

      Either way, single, static images have NEVER caused the damage that would-be censors have railed about. Except for Doonesbury, perhaps.

  5. I think that the MSM is purposely missing the point in order to stir the shit… which is all they do anymore. I believe the point of the cover is to unmask, if you will , the futility of racial profiling. If this is the face of terrorism, how do we go forward finding and stopping these people? It exposes, with one photograph, the utter uselessness of the whole Homeland Security model, and how it plays to our instincts and worst cultural stereotypes.

    • Myers

      Very good point Susan, although I think you are giving the Corporate Media unwarranted credit for being intelligent enough to make such an astute observation.
      No need to make “stir(ring) the shit” any more complicated by suggesting purpose ,other than functionary careerist, carnival barking, go along to get along ,ass kissing. They do this shit by instinct and the reptilian brain is more likely the source of all their self serving actions.

      • The “news” at any megacorporation is now a minor revenue center, low down on the list of financial priorities, and losing value in the megamediamarket, otherwise, why would GE have dumped NBC/Universal/Vivendi to the right wingers at Comcast?

        Increasingly, they only care about the clicks and the click-throughs. Dreck, in other words. Offal.

        • Myers

          I’m not certain what your point is here but your question could easily be turned around. Why would Comcast want to buy NBC/Universal/Vivendi?
          I’ll leave it to the bean counters and their creative powers ,to produce the sun beams required to shine up the skirts of the relevant parties.
          The Weekly Standard never had to generate a penny for Murdoch to be of value. The warehouses full of Newt’s and Coulter’s books will never have to be read to be on the best seller list. None the less, things like that just might come in handy when Murdoch wants legislation about media ownership changed for instance.
          Whatever the reason, it is pretty clear to anyone who is interested only a fame and fortune that the path has nothing to do with “news” and everything to do with corporate propaganda, as the official American narrative.
          The official narrative being, that the sole function of government is to see that the multinational corporations are allowed to maximize profits at all times.
          Regardless how many sponsor boycotts, and all the dire predictions of ratings, demographics, and missives of fading influence,Rush doesn’t appear to be missing any meals.
          If people spend their time getting pissed off about the cover of RS at least they won’t be wasting their time worrying about little things like the NSA or the crime syndicates of Wall Street and K street. Mission Accomplished, nest ce pas?

        • Just two points: First, Comcast buying NBC/Universal gives them a lot of leverage in their main business. I’ll leave it to you to elaborate that thought.

          Second: the boycott of Limbaugh IS having an effect, demonstrably. Check the interwebs for hard numbers.

          Given that your facts are questionable, the reasoning that follows from them is similarly skewed.

        • Myers

          “First, Comcast buying NBC/Universal gives them a lot of leverage in their main business.”
          My point exactly, i.e. just because something is a “minor revenue center” doesn’t mean it is of no value.
          I also think you misunderstood me re; Rush. I’m all for boycotting him just on general principal but then again I haven’t turned on an a.m. radio station since the early 1990’s and never listened to more than five minutes of Rush, Hannity or any other propagandist. As it turns out I didn’t have to, since nearly every one of the people I worked with ,would regurgitate the daily talking points as gospel. When Rush no longer has a daily platform or can no longer afford his fortress in Palm Beach Is the day you will know he is of no value.
          I see where you have written a book whose title would indicate a proper perspective for Rand. I also read through the comments you have posted:
          “Increasingly, the herd bolts this way and that.For almost no reason whatsoever. ” and especially this: “A suspicious mind might wonder if it was cleverly media manipulated publicity stunt. Fortunately, I’m not a suspicious type.”
          You need to take that skepticism to the next level. Boycotts have not to this point changed the narrative and while a good tactic will not win the war because in the end ratings, revenues and PR/propaganda is about control. The unspoken truth is as long as unsustainable consumerism is the rubric the power centers will be only too happy to provide the players for the “conservative v liberal” left right charade. The narrative that dare not speak its name as Chris Hedges once said is, “Goldman Sachs always wins.”
          Here are a couple of documentaries that might be of interest. Some of these were, literally in bed with Rand whose role more closely resembles Rush than the ones who actually have created the world in which we live.
          The herd does bolt this way and that but it is a mistake to think it isn’t being shepherded by some very powerful people ,who fear them and hold them in utter contempt.

        • The presumption that is generally made, and is implicit in your criticism is the “conspiracy” concept, realized or un-, that SOMEONE is in charge. We are being “kept” etc. by THEM, whoever “they” is.

          I have travelled far and wide and have never seen this amazing control that is presumed. Most millionaires have just as much trouble getting in and out of their trousers as anyone else. Historically, conspiracies exist but almost invariably backfire. The steamroller of history admits to no man, no cabal, no clique. And, therefore, if you are angry at “THEM” you’re already tilting at windmills, ergo, what proceeds, no matter how eminently rational and reasonable, is the poisoned fruit of the poisoned tree. Nonsense can’t be made into sense, but the opposite is true more often than we’d like to believe.

    • Exactly so, Susan. But the point about images (which I learned from years of writing captions) is that you can interpret them in an almost infinite number of ways. Sadly, the point seems to be to have MISinterpreted the cover in an equal number of columns. Seriously? This is an issue? Seems more like a misdirect.

  6. You’re absolutely right about this. If RS had used a mug shot, no one would’ve raised a peep. We Americans — even, perhaps especially, the hep, 23-skidoo, groovy, way-out Americans who “read” this fine journal — are generally a profoundly adolescent people who need every issue framed in black and white, good and evil (or, alternatively, PG-13 snark) in order to “make sense” of it. That a Bad Guy (TM) could look like a latter-day Jim Morrison (whose image this picture of Tsarnev clearly evokes) simply can’t be allowed to compute. John Wayne was a Real American Hero, Ronald Reagan was a Real American Cowboy, and Muslim Evil-Doers must all look like Bin Laden. Or Barack Obama.

  7. Slideguy

    This whole thing is ridiculous. Rolling Stone, which has printed more substantive political commentary in the last year than Time has in the last decade, printed an excellent article with a picture of it’s subject on the cover, clearly labelled a bomber. And the entire country gets the vapors.

    On the upside, it’s an excellent article, and I suspect that the furor over the picture will cause more people to buy the magazine and read it.

    • Exactly. Rolling Stone cries all the way to the bank. Nothing sells like a censored magazine, and Seven-Eleven (and a couple others) have complied. A suspicious mind might wonder if it was cleverly media manipulated publicity stunt. Fortunately, I’m not a suspicious type.

  8. Myers

    BTW Conspiracy by definition, must have secrecy as one of its elements. It can hardly be claimed that the PNAC manifesto ,available to anyone with access to the internet would meet that requirement.

  9. You have worn out your welcome here, sir. Your overlong screed (of which this comment is a mere coda) has vanished behind the firewall.

    I was happy to put up with your unwarranted attitude of superiority, your implicit megalomania and your endless supercilious verbiage. But I’m against filibusters, and you, sir, are filibustering.

    Get outside. Breathe the air. Get a life.