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 Blogs 10 New Hollywood Movies That Aim to Show Support for Israel (SATIRE)

    10 New Hollywood Movies That Aim to Show Support for Israel (SATIRE)

    Ten major film studios are currently in production on projects that promote a decidedly pro-Israeli narrative. In famously liberal Hollywood, such a development has left mouths agape and set tongues a wagging. Since the Jewish State began defending itself from the thousands of rockets that Hamas has hurled at it – as well as ongoing terror attacks and murders, the overwhelming number of Tinseltown’s producers, directors, actors, and studio moguls have remained indifferent to the plight of millions of Israeli [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Israel Sports So Close: Israeli Judoka Loses Crown in World Cup Final, Finishes With Silver (VIDEO)

    So Close: Israeli Judoka Loses Crown in World Cup Final, Finishes With Silver (VIDEO)

    Israeli Judoka Yarden Gerbi (63kg), 25, of Netanya, on Thursday lost the final round at the Judo World Cup, and her world title to Clarisse Agbegnenou of France, at a match held in Russia. “I have mixed feelings,” Gerbi told Israeli Army radio. But, “I shouldn’t assume that I’d win the world Judo championship twice in a row,” she admitted. Gerbi won gold in Rio De Janeiro last year. “When I made my decision, I knew it was going to [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity Surviving the Holocaust by Hiding Their Faith (REVIEW)

    Surviving the Holocaust by Hiding Their Faith (REVIEW)

    “Jews Out!” was just the name of a child’s game that three little girls played in World War II Europe. But all is not as it seems because the three girls were Jewish, but hiding their true identities. In award-winning author R. D. Rosen’s riveting non-fiction work, Such Good Girls, “Jews Out!” wasn’t a game; it was a struggle for survival. The girls, Sophie, Flora, and Carla, grew up at a time and a place that did not allow them [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Personalities Twenty Years On, the Real and Radical Legacy of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

    Twenty Years On, the Real and Radical Legacy of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

    JNS.org – “He was part hippie, part yippie, part beatnik, and part New Age,” wrote Elli Wohlgelernter in a Jerusalem Post eulogy in 1994, following the Oct. 20 passing of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. Twenty years later, more robust accounts of Carlebach’s life have come to the surface. Earlier this year, Natan Ophir published the book Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach: Life, Mission & Legacy. This past summer, Rabbi Shlomo Katz’s The Soul of Jerusalem hit the shelves. But even the authors will admit [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Music Beatlemania Invades the Gaza Strip (SATIRE)

    Beatlemania Invades the Gaza Strip (SATIRE)

    As Hamas loses its grip on power in the Gaza Strip as a result of war, poverty and disillusionment, the Islamist terrorist group has developed an ingenious way to raise the moral of the 1.7 million Palestinian Arabs it was elected to serve. While currently focused on delivering a rocket into every Israeli home, Hamas has not left its own people behind. To gently wipe away the tears of children strategically placed inside kindergartens as human shields, the Hamas Interior Ministry has [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Spirituality/Tradition Removing Jesus’ Jewish Identity From Artwork

    Removing Jesus’ Jewish Identity From Artwork

    In a strong statement that challenges the historic divide between Christianity and Judaism, Pope Francis recently proclaimed, “Inside every Christian is a Jew.” But if you look at Renaissance artworks that depict Jesus, you will not find any evidence of a Jew inside the Christianized Jesus — even though the Gospels in the New Testament tell us that Jesus was Jewish to the core. Getting that point across to the public is a daunting task, as I learned in interviews I [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Personalities Recycling His Roots

    Recycling His Roots

    JNS.org – Having started his career playing on his family’s pots and pans, Jewish musician Billy Jonas has maintained this homemade performance ethic while spreading his messages of simple living and environmentalism to a shared home throughout the world. After beginning in the kitchen, Jonas soon moved to the music room, where he picked up the piano, guitar, and trombone. These days, the multi-talented multi-instrumentalist plays on with pretty much anything he can find, including cans, bottles buckets, and other recycled-object [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Personalities Jewish Renewal Movement Founder’s Insights Form a New Guide for Senior Living

    Jewish Renewal Movement Founder’s Insights Form a New Guide for Senior Living

    JNS.org – Sara Davidson’s The December Project is a new book that should be read by all senior citizens, and by those who hope to live a long life, for it raises a question that most of us have not been taught how to answer: What should we do in that final stage of our lives? Many of us continue working past the traditional retirement age of 65, not because we need the money and not because we find the [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.