Rolling Stone created a controversy by putting the Boston bomber on the cover of their latest issue. That part wasn’t so controversial, as famous murderers have graced the covers of magazines before, such as Time showing Bin Laden or even Rolling Stone itself using Charles Manson many years ago. Showing the bomber isn’t so controversial as the way he was presented, with a Bob Dylan/Jim Morrison-esque head shot and a sympathetic byline of “How a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam, and became a monster.”
For obvious reasons this cover has not gone over well. Before I go any further let’s give RS some credit where it’s due – by putting the words “Radical Islam” on its cover their editors are braver than our own “nation of cowards” Attorney General. It’s pretty obvious that RS is just trying to gin up some controversy to sell magazines, and made the calculation that sacrificing the Boston market among many other readers who would find this offensive. In response to the criticism RS offered this non-apology
“Our hearts go out to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, and our thoughts are always with them and their families. The cover story we are publishing this week falls within the traditions of journalism and Rolling Stone’s long-standing commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage of the most important political and cultural issues of our day. The fact that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is young, and in the same age group as many of our readers, makes it all the more important for us to examine the complexities of this issue and gain a more complete understanding of how a tragedy like this happens. –THE EDITORS”
Wait a minute. “Tsarnaev is young, and in the same age group as many of our readers”?
Contrary to what I’ve seen many conservatives writing, RS’ readership isn’t made up of graying, overweight, pony tailed baby boomers who think that reading Doonesbury and listening to Dave Matthews means that they’re still cool.1 In reality, the demographic is somewhere in the middle – 60% male, median household income of $61K, 75% white (predominately white – possibly racist?). Not old, but still not the demographic that should be able to relate to a twentysomething immigrant psychopath.
On the surface it should seem that the bomber’s family should be grateful for what this country has done for them. We granted them asylum from Chechnya, and later the greatest gift our country can give to a foreigner, US citizenship. We educated them in our high school system, and even through our unsustainably generous wealth transfer system gave them more than $100,000 in government benefits. With everything this country did for them, how could these man-boys be so ungrateful? The apples didn’t fall far from the tree, as seen by Mama “Allahu Akbar!” Tsarnaev.
There are a number of reasons for the bombers’ actions, as well as for Rolling Stone’s decision to put that cute glamor pic of one of the brothers on its cover. One disturbing piece of this is how little gratitude and respect that both parties have shown for this country and all that it has done for them and the rest of the world. Even more disturbing is the question of why should they?
Through our education system and our media too many in our country take for granted the peace and prosperity that our ancestors have fought so hard for that somehow there’s a belief that America and capitalism are evil, and that peace and prosperity are the natural order of things. One of my early blog posts used a mix of 70’s music to explain how we have become a generation of trust funders. Since we don’t appreciate our past how can we understand what made it work and why today’s failures of leftism aren’t because of evil corporations or Republicans but because leftist philosophies don’t work?
Despite everything that makes the United States the greatest country in the world we have allowed this horrible rot creep into our nation’s mentality. We hear stories about how our schools are being infested with anti-American propaganda. Just as bad, the same leftists remain focused on keeping religious belief out of the public sphere (which, depending on the circumstance I’m not always opposed to myself), only to replace it with their own Global Warming cult. Lost on them is the irony that they love to call conservatives anti-science while they worship at the altar of a philosophy that is amazingly resistant to scientific methodology.
Or look at our recent history on the global stage and how it was treated here at home. During the Iraq War how much did our cultural elites in Hollywood have to let themselves be blinded by their hatred for George W. Bush that they kept spewing out movie after movie of money losing anti-American drivel? For this strange period in time that ended in January 2009 somehow hating America was the new patriotism, while in the same month opposing an anti-American statist was borderline sedition.
Instead of appreciating the sacrifices our country has made to maintain world peace, our news was dominated over the last decade by those who thought that the world would be better off today if Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden were still in power. If by today’s leftist notion that we should have stayed out of these “Wars of Choice” the last war we would have fought would have been the War of 1812. Today’s United States could never have won World War II. The invasion of Normandy probably would have gotten a headline in the NY Times reading something to the affect of, “Tragic French Offensive Stalled on Beaches”. Our condescending press would have given us video coverage that might look something like this, and we’d hear complaints that we took our eye off the ball to attack a German leader who had nothing to do with Pearl Harbor. Of course, our real goal should have been to get out of Europe so we could focus on negotiating a surrender that would have left Japan with control of the Pacific.2
Victor Davis Hanson sums up how the anti-American mindset gained momentum in this country:
“Two, they were charmingly anti-American. Left-wing thugs found that their animus resonated with an affluent, postwar American Baby Boomer generation. The more leisured and comfortable American life became, the more Americans had the luxury of critiquing their own inherited privilege. Accordingly, the more left-wing authoritarians abroad dredged up all sorts of race, class, and gender transgressions of the United States, the more they were deemed authentic by our own elites, who shared their grievances against America.”
This is how a madman who murders our military personnel in cold blood while shouting “Allahu Ackbar!”being treated as a perpetrator of workplace violence. Somehow giving a “fair trial” to murderer and pandering to multiculturalism trumps allowing the families of the victims to collect survivor benefits. Does it really take four years to handle this?
This is how we end up with a president who has no appreciation for our history and thinks of us just another country. He shows his lack of understanding of American and world history with statements like “”Ho Chi Minh was actually inspired by the U.S. Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and the words of Thomas Jefferson”. And Obama shows his contempt for the people he claims to serve when instead of challenging the scandals that make his administration look corrupt, he simply sniffs that they are “phony scandals”.
*Sigh* To paraphrase an old anti-military bumper sticker, it will be a great day when honest citizens being harassed by the federal government can plead the fifth and SWAT teams are breaking down Lois Lernner’s door.
What is my point to all of this? Why should people like Tsarnaev respect the United States and its history when they see a country that doesn’t respect itself? And this falls on all of us. We can blame ourselves for allowing our culture to devolve to this point. Yes, there are many of us who still understand and appreciate everything that this country stands for. But have we stood enough against the tide in the educational, entertainment, news and political power centers of the left? And most disturbing, if we are so unable to defend what this country has achieved and stands for do we deserve to survive as a culture?
Of course, at the end of the day the only ones ultimately responsible for the actions of Tsarnaev and Rolling Stone are Tsarnaev and Rolling Stone. Holding them accountable is a good start.
On an end note, the Boston Herald’s Michael Graham had a great idea for being edgy and controversial:
“Hey, Rolling Stone magazine! Next time you want to prove how provocative and edgy you are, put a flattering photo of George Zimmerman on your cover.”
Crossposted from Brothers Bob’s Blog
1 I don’t have much room to talk, of course. My comparable pop culture faves are the Prickly City comics and listening to the death metal band Slayer. For that matter, the title of this post is a take on a song that’s 45 years old. But at least since I never was cool to begin with, I don’t have to try to cling to that part of my youth.
2 Yes, I know it’s easy to be an armchair general. And I don’t pretend to have definitive answers as to what we should have done to achieve victory in the Iraq and Afghanistan. But without the political will to destroy our enemy wherever they go or originate, namely Pakistan and Iran in this case, we never had a shot at victory. And no, I don’t know if this would have achieved victory or maybe made things much worse, but I don’t see how we can expect to win a war by using sports a plan of throwing a few touchdowns while under a strict plan to leave after four quarters.