Ever since I was a little kid, I loved rock music. My first album ever, received on my 5th birthday, was this new 1964 release called "Meet the Beatles". As I grew up, I enjoyed oldies (which at that time meant songs from the 50's and early 60's, not today's definition, which seems to be the 70's and 80's. GAH! I've aged!!), then in the 80's I fell in love with New wave and Alternative. So it came as little surprise that I'd subscribe to Rolling Stone, which at the time was THE first and last word in rock and roll journalism, hands down.
As the years passed, I found myself getting increasingly irritated with the magazine. More and more, my reaction after finishing an issue was "What the HELL does this have to do with music!?!". I grew annoyed at some of their questionable cover choices, and their knee-jerk (emphasis on "jerk") liberal bias continually grated on my moderate sensibilities.
When my very long subscription finally came up for renewal, I refused it. After all, why pay good money to get aggravated when I could just jump in my car, drive to Boston, and be aggravated by other people's sucky driving, for free?
But every once in a while, I'd wonder if I did the right thing. Perhaps things had changed. Perhaps it was time to revisit the magazine. People change over the years, after all..so why not an entity like a magazine?
If you've been paying attention to the news lately, you know where this is going.
Just..no. NO way.
Once upon a time, Rolling Stone was the end all, be all magazine of music and counter-culture. Informative, insightful, sometimes irreverent, intelligent, and entertaining, it's no wonder that for many bands, the ultimate achievement was making the cover. Doctor Hook and the Medicine Show says "Hello".
Now what I see is this sad, smug, pathetic ghost of a magazine that is desperately trying to stay relevant and edgy in a world that grows increasingly disinterested in print journalism as a whole. They've lost their way, much like MTV, which curmudgeons like me remember as a network that showcased fantastic, ground-breaking music videos, but has now replaced music with programming that glorifies pretty much the worst kinds of behavior humanity has to offer, starring a whole stable of reprehensible, shallow, miserable excuses for human beings.
And really, is anyone actually surprised that Rolling Stone refuses to back down and change their terrorist-glamorizing cover? Wake up, people! We're talking here about perhaps one of the most self-satisfied, arrogant packs of sons of bitches in the world of journalism, and considering the field of competition, that's really saying something.
And the sad thing is, the piece is probably pretty good, if the advance hype and description of it is to be believed. By all means, the story should run, especially if it offers anything resembling an insight into the hows and whys. But no, in their desperate “Please, look at me!” bid to attract notoriety and sales, they put up a cover picture that basically makes the little terrorist douchebag look like a rock star. They took things too far, and crossed a line that anyone with even a modicum of class, decency, integrity, and humanity should never cross. Well, at least that small pack of idiotic, disgusting bimbos who have a major crush on him and treat him like the lead singer of the latest boy band will have something to paste on their walls, right?
Even though Rolling Stone is a shadow of its former self, it still carries some cultural weight, coasting, in my humble opinion, on the momentum generated during its glory days. So yes, being on the cover still does carry with it some relevance and importance.
But again, remember, the magazine will NOT back down. They will NOT change their cover. So instead, don’t buy it. If you’re sick of their ridiculous antics, cancel your subscription. Encourage people around you to do likewise; spread the word. Write to businesses that refuse to stock that issue, and praise them for taking their stand, and while you’re at it, add a promise to frequent them.
It would be naïve to think that this incident will cripple the magazine and send it down the justly deserved road to extinction. Sadly, I don’t think we have seen the last of Rolling Stone’s heartless, coldly calculated disrespect and disregard for human suffering. Somehow, I think the worst is still yet to come, but I hope that this particular incident will at the very least open people’s eyes to the magazine’s nastier nature, and at least start it down the road to ruin.
To quote the T-shirt Kurt Cobain wore when Nirvana was, yes, on the cover: “Corporate Magazines Still Suck!”