Hundreds of Facebook and Twitter commenters condemned the magazine. Many cursed. Others expressed sadness and still more vowed never to read or purchase the magazine again.
Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino spoke for them in a letter he dashed off to Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner accusing the magazine of offering Tsarnaev "celebrity treatment" and calling the cover "ill-conceived, at best," in that it supports the "terrible message that destruction gains fame for killers and their 'causes.'"
The letter goes on to call the cover an obvious marketing strategy and concludes: "The survivors of the Boston attacks deserve Rolling Stone cover stories, though I no longer feel that Rolling Stone deserves them."
What does the controversy say about the culture today? It's a culture that has already produced an online fandom for the attractive young bombing suspect, including young girls calling him "hot" and promising to help clear his name. At his hearing last week, a dozen or so girls wore T-shirts and stickers bearing his face.
Jamieson had this to say on that score:
"If you took that picture and you walked into an audience three months before the bombing and you said, 'Here, this is a cover of Rolling Stone,' what would people say? They'd say, 'Ah, a new artist emerges on the national stage and Rolling Stone is doing a cover. What is his name? Well I guess it's Bomber.'"
Associated Press writers Cara Rubinsky, Steve LeBlanc and Bridget Murphy contributed to this report from Boston. David R. Martin contributed from New York.
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