Joseph Fisher examines the controversy over Rolling Stone's Dzhokhar Tsarnaev cover issue, as well as the lack of response from the indie music publishing world.
I stood in the aisle at One Stop News for quite some time before I decided to purchase the 1 August 2013 edition of Rolling Stone, the issue with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (“Jahar”) on the cover. Though I spent most of my teenage years in a small, weathered mill town outside of Worcester, Massachusetts, I readily identify as a Bostonian. My father grew up in South Boston; my mother grew up in Jamaica Plain. I was born in Quincy (“Qwinzee”) Hospital and spent the first few years of my life traveling back and forth to various family houses all over the South Shore.
Back in the early 2000s, I bandited the Boston Marathon, running a respectable, if totally unofficial, time for my first marathon. On that day, my future wife waited for me mere feet away from the finish line.
Over the past decade, my wife has become quite the runner herself. She has been lucky enough to complete several marathons (I always seem to get injured beforehand). As a result, I have spent many, many mornings waiting at finish lines for her. My wife consistently runs her marathons broadly between 4:20:00 and 4:50:00. Had she been running the 2013 Boston Marathon, I would have been waiting for her, most likely at the finish line, most likely when the bombs went off. That was, and remains, a chilling thought.
So, petulant as it might sound, this Rolling Stone cover felt personal to me. And I took it personally.