Sweet blog special: Clinton, the comedian, knows from “evil and bad men.” Iowa report 7.Continue reading.
Evil doesn’t always look evil
Had the editors of Rolling Stone put some grainy, dark shot of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, looking depraved and murderous on the cover of this week’s issue, it’s a safe bet that CVS and Walgreens would not have pulled the magazine from their shelves nationwide. Nor would the mayor of Boston have fired off a letter in protest. But Rolling Stone didn’t choose that kind of photo. It used a shot of Tsarnaev, who has pleaded not guilty to 30 charges related to the April 15 bombing that killed three and injured 260, looking young, tousled and benign, like the average teenager he may have once been before sliding into radicalism. No one seems to have an objection to the journalism in the story — it’s just that picture. In fact, few of the complainers even seem to have read it. The cover itself “rewards a terrorist with celebrity treatment,” complained Thomas Menino, Boston’s mayor.
Set aside that not everyone who appears on the cover of Rolling Stone is a rock star. Plus the uncomfortable idea of chain drug stores censoring news based on debatable aesthetic calls. Why do we demand that evil people look evil? Isn’t it truer — and more valuable — to realize that the next terrorist, the next murderer, could indeed be someone who looks like this goofy teen? Real life is not a movie, we don’t get thuggish bad guys with jagged facial scars. We get this tragic misguided mope. Whether Rolling Stone was correct or not in its judgment picking that cover, it was their call to make. Their right. The kind of American freedom that terrorists are lashing out at in vain. Big chains shouldn’t get anywhere near doing their dirty work for them by undercutting that right.