Dear Rolling Stone…

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Happy now, Rolling Stone? Everyone is talking about your magazine. You guys are so edgy.

Who thought this was okay. Who thought it was ok to put the marathon bomber on the cover of your magazine, looking like he’s the lead singer of The fucking Strokes. Willie Nelson, Jay-Z, and the fucking marathon bomber. Wait scratch that. It’s the marathon bomber, then on the undercard you put some guys named Willie Nelson and Jay-Z.

It isn’t enough that terrorists have some deranged, distorted ideology as justification for blowing up little kids. You want to make them famous too. More than that, you want to make them infamous, make them look like rock stars. But it’s cool, right? We shouldn’t feel offended by the picture because in the bottom right there, below the massive head shot where he looks like Van fucking Morrison, you call him a monster.

It isn’t the story. It isn’t putting him on the cover. It’s the picture you chose. It’s how you cropped it. It’s how you presented it.

I cannot believe you thought this was okay.

Ugh.

I’ve been trying to write about the marathon for a month now. I’ve started and stopped a handful of blogs that I’ve never posted. I doubt I’ll ever post them. I keep waiting for some shred of clarity to let me separate my feelings and view the bombing as just something that happened. I only need an hour to look at it objectively. That’s all. But I can’t even get that.

I’m not over the marathon yet. Not by a long shot. I can’t walk down that street without thinking about it. I can’t walk past that bar or that shoe store without looking right where the bombs went off. I can’t see anything else on that street but those goddamn bombs. I can’t have a conversation with a friend I haven’t seen since Christmas without answering questions I don’t want to answer. I can’t talk about it, and I can’t write about it, but I can’t stop writing about it and I can’t stop talking about it.

Someone who never experienced a marathon monday won’t understand. You either went and you get it, or you didn’t and you don’t. Some things… you can’t explain them worth a damn. And not just this past year, all the other years too. You needed to know the past marathons to understand why this years was so terrible.

The marathon was a pain in the ass event. It clogged up the streets, and the people who ran it loved to tell you they ran and about how hard it all was. Everyone in Boston who didn’t run it kinda half way hated it. Except we never really did hate it. Yeah, it was a pain in the ass, but it was our pain in the ass. The marathon was the friend that you always make fun of, but you’d throw a punch if someone else ever gave them a hard time. It was our dorky thing and we fucking loved it. Attacking it was the closest you could come to attacking that inexplicable sense of family Boston has. That’s why it hurt so much.

People are going to forget all about that sentiment I described. I understand that. Time passes and feelings fade. 30 years from now some kid is gonna hear about the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing, look it up on wikipedia, and think that it was a relatively minor terrorist attack. “Worse stuff happens around the world every other month” he’ll think. That’s fine, I won’t blame him because he won’t know any better. He won’t know how much it hurt for all the people who were lucky enough not to be killed, or lose limbs, or suffer some other senseless injury. He won’t know about the week after the bombing, about how the uninjured followed the people who were in the hospitals, reading every news story they could get their hands on and praying the totals didn’t go any higher. He won’t understand everyone finding a tv to see the FBI post pictures of the terrorists, and everyone immediately sharing the picture so everybody in the civilized world could see it. He won’t know what it felt like to wake up to a call from your friend at 3am telling you to get online because there was a shootout with the bombers 2 miles from your apartment. He won’t know what it was like being glued to online police scanners for 24 hours, and just when you thought he somehow got away, he was trapped in a boat and it was over. He won’t know what it was like seeing Jeff Bauman throwing out the first pitch, or walking on the ice with his prosthetic legs, and giving you hope that things were getting better.

But you knew, Rolling Stone. You knew all of that. You knew how much this meant to Boston. You knew and you put him on the cover anyway because you didn’t care. Just to create some buzz, sell a few more magazines. Killers are glamorous, victims aren’t.

I fully expect people to be fired at the magazine, some well written PR apology issued. I don’t want it. I don’t need it.

bromeo@twssboston.com

About bromeo

Bromeo’s been with the site since the early days. Bromeo’s name was chosen when he was spitballing ideas for his blogger identity and EB chose this one out of about 100 other ones. He doesn’t like his name but now he’s stuck with it. He writes blogs because he has a lot of free time. If the site ever gets blocked by work filters, it’ll probably be because of one of his blogs. Occasionally he gets lucky and writes a good blog.

7 comments

  1. TO: Contributing Editor Romeo ~

    THANK YOU!
    Thank you, for the eloquence in your own description of the indescribable pain we all feel, so deeply, so profoundly. Thank you, for the courage it took to put to words what most of us cannot bring ourselves to think of, let alone discuss or pen.

    Shame on “Rolling Stone” for celebrating in this insensitive way, the unthinkable acts of a grossly mislead youth. What message does this send to those sociopathic deviants who now after this most recent cover shot, may now wonder if their own despicable and homicidal thoughts were to be realized, would they too, be glorified on the cover of the world’s most prominent celebrity publication?

    Boston’s tragedy is still so fresh in our minds, the families affected, the lives lost or forever changed in a blink of an eye.

    Thank you, to Editor Romeo, for the strength it took to write this and the guts it took to say “NO!!!”

    Most sincerely,

    Anita Coelho
    Musician, Producer, Promoter
    Founder, Medici Musica Productions

  2. Justforthiscomment

    Oh my god, it’s almost like they had a feature story about him in the magazine or something… Oh, wait.

    You are outraged because of the photo they chose, but that was precisely the point: He looks so “normal” and innocent and yet he committed unimaginable atrocities.

    Anyway, this is nothing new for Rolling Stone. Here’s the link to a cover they had featuring Charles Manson: http://assets.rollingstone.com/assets/images/music/2004/galleries/1970-rolling-stone-covers/rs61-charles-manson-97/500×595/22516_lg.jpg

    Keep calm and carry on.

  3. This was perfect. Well written and pure sentiment. Thank you for getting it out there so honestly. I am sorry for your pain. The Rolling Stone is way out of line on this one. I understand they want to be relevant but how about promoting artists and people who work hard at their music? There are plenty of stories. This one is not worthy of the cover. There is no good reason to glorify this bastard. Whomever made this decision should be fired.
    John Powers
    http://www.johnjpowers.com

  4. I see the point with relating the Manson issue… however that was FORTY THREE years ago when the mag was barely 3 years old. Manson was also somewhat newsworthy in the music realm as he was a musician and supposedly related much of his “cult” to music and The Beatles. Rolling Stone has come a long way since 1970…

    First thing I do when I pick up Rolling Stone is flip to the last page and scan the charts. Every time. It’s a ritual. RS is a music magazine to me, plain and simple, and I take my music terrorist free. The article is actually really good in my opinion – however it’s just a ploy to create a buzz. Rolling Stone should stick with putting music people on the cover instead of this in my opinion. It’s incongruous to generally make their front cover hero-worship, and then to put a murderer. Just my .02

  5. Bromeo:
    Thank you – for your love for Boston, and the way you said it. Because man, you REALLY said it. I ran Boston (yeah, one of those you’d ‘love to hate’ ;) in 2011. Even though I now live in California, Boston will always be my home, and my heart broke at the news this year. Thanks for your piece, about Boston and the community, and how we’re all family. You are a GREAT WRITER. Keep it up. Keep saying what you mean, and meaning what you say :)

  6. We can never truly know why we are guided, we just follow the path. Justice and righteousness aren’t exclusive. They are just signposts and very few are privileged to honor witness to it. I believe this CAN change

    Don’t question why you can’t do your own, just keep doing what you are doing and CAN be doing more of. Fear is nothing more than a wall we climb everyday.

    Im just some dumb blonde from CA, but I do know this, WE choose. WE… US.. honey, tell me this, how do we get that message out? ie: learn to use your mind, your wisdom, your purpose. Fuck the stupid stooodgards. Nothing changes collectively until we change individually. YOU make the difference. I can see it in your writing. :)

  7. When I was at MIT, living in my fraternity house on Beacon St, we used to wake up , grab a 6-pack from the beer fridge, and bar crawl our way over to the finish line. We usually missed the Kenyans, but got there in plenty of time for the big groups of finishers. With 10 or so beers and a couple street sausages (“cholesterol dogs” we used to call them), we would loudly cheer ANYONE who was out on the street with a number on them, because we knew anyone out there was a BFD. Good good times. Two weeks ago I drove up to Maine with my wife and stepson and stopped in Boston overnight. Saturday morning, we went to The Spot. Parked right on the Finish Line, which my stepson said was “so cool”. The Spot shocked me – you could still see white burn marks all over the sidewalk, and I could just picture the people crawling bloody, missing a leg or a foot and it pissed me off. So FU RS (can’t even say their name), do you know how many wanna be terrorists are now saying “cool! I wanna be on the RS cover!” You are dead to me…

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