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.
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.