Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Stupid and Inappropriate

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) weighed in on Rolling Stone's decision to place Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on its magazine cover, disagreeing with the publication's move.

"I thought it was stupid, and I thought it was inappropriate," said McCain in a Sunday appearance on CNN's "State Of The Union."

Here are a set of assumptions I have that makes Rolling Stones cover not inappropriate.

1) Being conventionally photogenic does not mean moral normalcy. (Ted Bundy)
2) Being on a cover of a magazine doesn't meant the publication endorses you. (Hitler, Mao, Bin Laden)
3) In assessing whether a particular publication endorses the person on its cover, the fact that the said person is described as a monster in the headline just below his image is... not immaterial.

The argument critics of the cover have amounts to "a pretty picture is worth a thousand words and supersedes the actual text accompanying the picture."

That logic would dictate that if Rolling Stone ran a good portrait of me on the cover accompanied by a headline, "How this Russian immigrant became the most notorious serial killer in central Ohio." I should be flattered because I would expect most people to be illiterate morons.

The idea behind the controversial article is not particularly deep or involved. How does a seeming normal Americanized kid become a terrorist? The visual shows the terrorist as the normal kid most outsiders thought he was and includes the headline, "how a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster."

Is the premise really that complicated to understand without being equated with support for terrorism?

Usually when arguing about something controversial the defenders of the controversial item say things like, "You don't know what you're talking about, you haven't even read the book! (seen the movie, whatever) "

With this controversy it appears that many participants in the debate haven't bothered to actually engage the language right below the picture they are objecting to.

Maybe we should do away with written language at all and make all assumptions on the basis of basic
visuals. Smiley face. Frowny face. Kitten sleeping on a pillow.

I mean, who needs to dabble in all this "reading the headline" and "trying to contrast its meaning with the provocative visual." Fuck that shit.

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