Rolling Stone’s Latest ‘Bad Boy’ is a Terrorist

July 21, 2013 7:17 am 0 comments

Boston Marathon bomber suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of Rolling Stone. Photo: Reuters.

Johnny Depp. Justin Bieber. Rihanna. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev? Whoa!

Known for gracing its covers with musicians, movie actors and pop icons, Rolling Stone magazine has frequently tapped the pulse of the zeitgeist. But by plastering the face of the brooding Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tsarnaev, on its iconic cover is nothing short of reprehensible.

Unfortunately, it’s also none too surprising given the status the media often attributes to terrorists.

Like so many modern-day terms, “terrorist” gets labeled far too widely and for many on the Left, it can even serve as a badge of honor. From Yasser Arafat (winner of the Nobel Peace Prize) to Osama bin Laden and Bill Ayers, it has been predicated upon a variety of sorts.

But let’s rewind the tape a bit. Media-wise, everything changed just over 40-years-ago, in 1972, when the world witnessed one of its first up-close, televised, human (if you can call them that) incarnations. The masked hostage taker hovering on the balcony of the Israeli athletes’ residence in Munich during the Olympics became etched in our collective conscience.

Glued to TV sets, many of us in the world watched in horror. Yet for others, they saw it as a new form of celebrity. Eventually, the image of the terrorist morphed into a post-modern-day outlaw. And with it, a mystique.

The pejorative meaning that “terrorist” once possessed rose to symbolize something quite different, depending on who’s using it and whom it’s being labeled upon, from evil-doer to freedom fighter.

Take Arafat as an example. He was able to morph, chameleon-like, from gun-toting thug into White House guest. He could be, and even say, one thing on the world’s stage, and quite another to his followers.

He learned how to adapt when it suited him. When “terrorist” became unfashionable, he would smile for the cameras and, twisting cleverly, use his beaten-down status as a tool. He would become the anti-hero. And, it worked.

Why? Because it fit so well with our postmodern-day perception of a hero. What is a rocker, but someone who rebels against the establishment? In our pop culture, look at the deification of Kurt Cobain, Sid Vicious and the lofty eminence thrust onto Eminem. (BTW: Each one has graced the cover of Rolling Stone.)

And each in their own way are offspring of what the playwright John Osbourne in his seminal stage creation “Look Back In Anger” captured when he displayed the mood of “the angry young man.”

The anti-hero became the hero.

For those of you only familiar with an Osbourne (first name spelled Ozzy), a way to get a better picture of “the angry young man” is to think (or rent) Marlon Brando in his quintessential anti-establishment role as Johnny, leader of the Black Rebels motorcycle gang in “The Wild One.”

Politically, socially and economically, the anti-hero became the poster child for the extreme Left and the image of the rebel was exploited to promote dissent. Dissent from what? Well as Johnny would say, … “What’ve you got?” Free trade? Corporations? Israel? Globalization?

Politically, the use of the anti-hero image has served leaders of the extreme Left well by twisting around what Hegel described as a master/slave relationship and using it as a means to win sympathy, approval and, most of all, celebrity. Take for example how for years many would have liked to have plugged a hole in Arafat’s keffiyeh. Yet we realized he would have become a martyr the second he was shot. He’d then live on in infamy. Nothing would have served him or his cause better. So we held fire.

Arafat understood how to use the media, and others of his ilk know this trick all too well too. They know that while everyone loves a winner, many more love to root for an underdog.

The trick is to remain an underdog. That way you’ll always have a sympathetic base of support to draw on.

Back in May the LA Times reported on Dzhokhar’s online fanbase made up of thousands of fangirls who all think he’s “cute.” It read, “The Bambi eyes (looking right out of his Instagram-doctored photos at you!), the hipster facial stubble, the masses of wine-dark tousled hair — adorable!” Twitter, Tumblr, etc., all shared photos of him as if he were the latest teen idol.

Sick, huh?

What we’re seeing today on the cover of Rolling Stone is the chic glamorization of that hipster rebellion.

The terrorist is the extreme incarnation of it — an inversion of the hero into the anti-hero and in today’s pop culture, driven by celebrity, and able to spread virally, it thrives.

Abe Novick is a writer and communications consultant and can be reached at abebuzz.com. This article was originally published by The Jerusalem Post.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Theater US & Canada New Play Explores the ‘Arrogance’ of American Jews Critical of Israel, Playwright Says

    New Play Explores the ‘Arrogance’ of American Jews Critical of Israel, Playwright Says

    In his new play Mr. Goldberg Goes to Tel Aviv, playwright Oren Safdie tackles an issue that he has a major concern with: the relationship between Israelis and left-leaning Diaspora Jews with their “I know better” critical views. At the heart of the one-act play is Tony, a Jewish and gay Palestinian sympathizer who expresses strong anti-Israel sentiments when the play begins and at one point even sides with a Palestinian terrorist who holds his captive. Tony, who is also an [...]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Hassidic Parody of Taylor Swift Song Apes Long Jewish Holidays (VIDEO)

    Hassidic Parody of Taylor Swift Song Apes Long Jewish Holidays (VIDEO)

    A Jewish comedy troupe released a parody video on Wednesday of Taylor Swift’s hit song Shake It Off in which they joke about taking extensive time off from work for Jewish holidays. “And the goyim gonna stay, stay, stay, stay, stay. And the Jews are gonna pray, pray pray, pray, pray. I’m just gonna take, take, take, take, take. I’m taking off,” goes the chorus for I’m Taking Off. Menachem Weinstein, the video’s lead singer, is the creative director at [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Literature On 75th Anniversary, Looking at the Jewish Influence on Gone With the Wind

    On 75th Anniversary, Looking at the Jewish Influence on Gone With the Wind

    JNS.org – The 75th anniversary of the premiere of “Gone with the Wind” on Dec. 15 presents an opportunity to examine the Jewish influence on one of the most popular films of all time. That influence starts with the American Civil War epic’s famed producer, David O. Selznick. Adjusted for inflation, “Gone with the Wind” remains the highest-grossing movie ever made. It earned the 1939 Academy Award for Best Picture, the same honor another Selznick film, “Rebecca,” garnered in 1940. Selznick [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Music US & Canada EXCLUSIVE: Matisyahu Provides Most Extensive Analysis Yet of His Religious, Musical Evolution (INTERVIEW)

    EXCLUSIVE: Matisyahu Provides Most Extensive Analysis Yet of His Religious, Musical Evolution (INTERVIEW)

    Matisyahu got candid in an exclusive interview with The Algemeiner on Monday about his religious and musical journey – after shedding his Chassidic skin, yarmulke, long beard and all – from the start of his career in 2005 when he became a reggae superstar with hits King Without a Crown and Jerusalem. The singer-songwriter embarks on his Festival of Light tour this month, an annual Hanukkah event that stops in Montreal, New York, and other cities before ending in San Juan, [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Personalities ‘Sheriff of Mars’ Unveils Endearing Life of Jewish Music Star Hidden in the Fields of France

    ‘Sheriff of Mars’ Unveils Endearing Life of Jewish Music Star Hidden in the Fields of France

    JNS.org – It was an era of steel strings, guitar heroes, and storytellers—high on heroin, rebellious. Outlaw country music, the hallmark of Nashville’s powerful and angry music scene of the 1970s, was the brew of greats such as Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Townes Van Zandt. But there is another, little-known music hero of that era: Daniel Antopolsky. A Jewish lad from Augusta, Ga.—the son of immigrants who settled in the south and ran a hardware store on Main Street—the [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Iranian Actress Replaces Israel’s Gal Gadot for ‘Ben-Hur’ Remake

    Iranian Actress Replaces Israel’s Gal Gadot for ‘Ben-Hur’ Remake

    Iranian actress Nazanin Boniadi replaced Israeli star Gal Gadot as the female lead in the new Ben-Hur remake, Hollywood.com reported on Tuesday. The Homeland actress will play Esther, a slave that Ben-Hur sets free and falls in love with. Gadot quit the movie when it became clear that filming conflicted with her schedule for the Man of Steel sequel. The Israeli actress plays Wonder Woman in the superhero film Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Actor Jack Huston takes on the [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Personalities Biography Sheds New Light on David Ben-Gurion’s Place in Jewish History

    Biography Sheds New Light on David Ben-Gurion’s Place in Jewish History

    JNS.org – There is one sentence in “Ben-Gurion: Father of Modern Israel” that made me sit up in surprise. I thought that I knew the basic facts about how Israel came into being, but while describing what it was like in the days and hours before the state was declared, author Anita Shapira provides one important anecdote I was not aware of. On the 12th of May, the Zionist Executive met to decide what to do. Moshe Sharrett had just returned [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    An actress starring in the controversial Met Opera The Death of Klinghoffer defended the show on Tuesday by comparing it to the 1993 Holocaust film Schindler’s List, New York Post reported. “To me, this was like [the movie] Schindler’s List. We make art so people won’t forget,’’ said the actress, who plays a captured passenger in the show and asked not to be identified. The Met Opera focuses on the infamous murder of Lower East Side Jewish resident Leon Klinghoffer, 69. The wheelchair-bound father of [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.