The latest cover of Rolling Stone has set the Internet on fire, as was no doubt the editors’ intention. Featuring a selfie of the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, it’s a jarring reminder that profiling is ineffective policy: Tsarnaev looks like any other 19-year-old in a sub-par basement band—or a new member of the Strokes, for that matter.
Any rational discussion of the culture and iconography of terrorism was quickly swept under the rug as people took to the web to voice outrage. Tsarnaev, they said, had been “glamorized” and given the rock-star treatment. It made no difference that the article called him a “monster.”
What, then, would have constituted a better Rolling Stone cover for the August 3 issue? The less serious side of the Internet was sure to give us some options.
Naturally, there were the obvious (if well-executed) comparisons.
The Daily Dot’s own Daniel Kibblesmith was able to cram in a lot more offensive imagery, not to mention headlines. This one deserves a close look.
Really, why even limit yourself to Rolling Stone? Tsarnaev should be all over the newsstand!
Here’s a magazine we’d actually read.
Some ideas were purely conceptual, so use your imagination.
eddie vedder burning a copy of rolling stone on the cover of rolling stone #BetterRollingStoneCovers— Antiquiet (@antiquiet) July 17, 2013
soundgarden, alice in chains, and pearl jam silently eating shawarma #BetterRollingStoneCovers— Antiquiet (@antiquiet) July 17, 2013
The dogs playing poker painting but it's just Pitbull by himself #BetterRollingStoneCovers— Eliza Bayne (@ElizaBayne) July 17, 2013
George Zimmerman and the CEO of Skittles, licking the same ice cream cone #BetterRollingStoneCovers— Gourmet Spud (@gourmetspud) July 17, 2013
Here’s a stinging rebuke to Rolling Stone’s official defense of the cover, which mentioned the magazine’s “long-standing commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage of the most important political and cultural issues of our day."
A Journalist Trying To Explain World Events To Someone Who Gets Their News From Rolling Stone #BetterRollingStoneCovers— Nick Amadeus (@NickAmadeus) July 17, 2013
Of course, not everybody had a firm grasp on the joke.
#BetterRollingStoneCovers is the dumbest thing. The story is about Jahar Tsarnaev. Literally what else would you put on the cover.— Jonathan Ferris (@JFerris721) July 17, 2013
And there were some earnest entries, including the Boston Herald’s emphatic response.
Boston Herald responds to the Rolling Stone cover on their front page today pic.twitter.com/k3UHYbkXnV— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) July 18, 2013
Warning: this bonus one is impossible to argue with, but also totally NSFW.
Photo via RollingStone.com