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View Diary: Rolling Stone cover featuring Boston bomber draws anger, controversy (356 comments)

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  •  I think they did exactly what they intended. (6+ / 0-)

    He wasn't just an ordinary kid. People adored him. One of the things that defined him was that everyone thought he was so cute. It comes up again and again when people interview those who knew him.

    The photo on the cover was one of his FB profile photos. This is the kid all his friends, family, teachers, coaches knew. He had a sort of rock star quality to him.

    And now, they're all struggling to come to terms with how that kid they adored and found so very attractive ended up doing something so monstrous.

    It seems to me that it gets under people's skins because the first reaction to the photo is "sexy boy" and then it hits you who it is. That it's frightening to realize that you just never know if that person you find attractive is capable of sociopathic behavior.

    A dear friend of mine grew up next door to boy, whose sister was her best friend. She spent many many days of her childhood in their house. In our 30s, we learned that he was a serial murderer. My friend was absolutely devastated. It rocked her sense of safety. How could she have been around him all those years, so close to his family, and not know? It's the most frightening prospect of all. Far more frightening than the menacing looking person. It makes us question our ability judge who we're with and whether we're safe.

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    by UnaSpenser on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 03:55:31 PM PDT

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    •  The rock star element garbles the message. (1+ / 0-)
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      I don't think people are having that intended "that person you find attractive is capable of sociopathic behavior" reaction. Notice that the complaint is about fame and glamour, not that the cover is too sympathetic.

      In your comment, you talk about a boy next door to your friend, an someone who is a friend, student, or family member. That's not the same thing as a rock star.

      A celebrity/cover model/rock star type isn't someone you know. Such a figure is a distant figure, a figure that nobody would have the slightest difficulty believing was a sociopath. If you found out that the bassist of some band turned out to be a serial murderer, that's not that frightening prospect you mention. It's some guy you see on TV, or on the cover of Rolling Stone.

      The rock star element to the photo intrudes into the point they're trying to make, that they make in the text, about someone who is like us going wrong. The photo doesn't make him look like us, but like some celebrity - at least, when it's put on the cover of Rolling Stone it does.

      They should have picked a more ordinary photo, to make the point you describe.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 04:29:45 PM PDT

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      •  people may not be willing to admit that they (2+ / 0-)
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        tari, DSPS owl

        are disturbed by their initial response to the photo. They deflect that by complaining that it is glamorizing him.

        I think the "rock star" feeling of it is exactly what we need to process. This wasn't just a boy next door, he was someone his friends experienced as particularly cute and a good athlete. In their circle he had a rock star quality to them. And that very aspect of him may be why no one noticed what he was going through.

        How did all those people around him miss that he was a teenager whose parents abandoned him and left the country? How did they not notice the increasingly radical fundamental nature of his older brother's influence? If you read the article, some of his Chechnyan friends speak to the fact that in their culture older brothers have a god-like authoritarian status. They didn't worry that this older god-brother was driving an abandoned younger brother somewhere dark?

        Could it be that they were charmed into complacency about him because of his "rock star" qualities?

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        by UnaSpenser on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 05:04:41 PM PDT

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        •  I think the deflection here is all yours. (0+ / 0-)

          You can stop telling me that my reaction isn't really my reaction any time you want, Dr. Freud.

          To get back to the actual point, it doesn't matter if he came across as particularly charismatic to people he knew. Individuals have a lot of traits others notice; that doesn't make each and every trait of Tsarnaev's relevant, or useful, to what this cover was about. Making him look like a rock star causes those of us who didn't know him, and who only saw him on TV, feel less of that "boy next door" sense that's the essence of what the cover was trying to portray.

          The role that his particular charisma might have played in the reactions of people around him is an interesting topic to write about, but it doesn't translate that way in the photo, which is seen by people who haven't read the article, but who have seen rolling

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 06:26:12 PM PDT

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