The Rolling Stone Cover And Imagination

I don’t think the outrage has died down about the choice of Rolling Stone to feature  one of the “Boston Bombers” on the cover.  (Rolling Stone offensive?  You’re surprised?  Irreverent, in your face, know-it-all, over-the-top-edgy, but a cultural force that must be reckoned with.)

We are so quick to outrage.  On Facebook and Twitter, in comments on on-line articles, to our friends and colleagues.  Outrage has become our modus operandi.

I’m “outraged out,” people.  I don’t have any outrage left.

I look at Jesus.  Was he ever outraged?  I would say He was, especially when the Temple was being desecrated.  But not often.   We vent outrage out of anger and frustration.  Jesus had a purpose to His outrage.  It moved him to action.  Does ours?

I actually think Rolling Stone did the nation a favor.  The magazine showed the bomber as a normal, everyday young adult.  We can’t imagine a cold blooded murderer looking like one of us.  But he did.  Both of them did.

We need to imagine it, however distasteful it is.  Cold blooded mass killers no longer look like Hitler or Stalin, or the Khmer Rouge.  They might be our neighbors, like in Bosnia or Rwanda, or otherwise unexceptional people, like the men who flew planes into buildings on 9/11.  We can’t limit our imagination to how life used to be, or how we want it to be.   Those old paradigms must go.  Evil is way out in front of us on that one, unfortunately and tragically.

Like I tell my college students when we have an in depth discussion on hot topic issues: Just think about it, people.

2 thoughts on “The Rolling Stone Cover And Imagination

  1. It seems that sociopaths without empathy or compassion should be physically identifiable.

    Lately there have been a number of shows on television featuring sociopaths – Hannibal, Criminal Minds, and The Following for example. I can’t watch them. It’s too disturbing to watch characters that act with such an absence of empathy.

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