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You get the journalism you deserve, Boston

I’m usually pretty proud to be from Massachusetts. Cradle of Liberty, great education system, almost no country music… Massachusetts is supposed to be one of the places that helps pull the center of the national intellectual curve up a bit.

Nevertheless, once and a while, I have an epic facepalm that makes me realize that the place can be wicked fahkin retahded. The last time was when Boston went into a state of complete freak out over lite-brites stuck to bridges.

Rolling Stone Cover TsarnevThis time, it is Boston’s apoplectic reaction to the latest Rolling Stone cover. My social media feeds are highly Boston-centric, and the reactions are strong. The complaint? Rolling Stone should not have put that guy on the cover, and if they did, they shouldn’t have used such a flattering picture.

I’m really not sure what to say about the “flattering picture” issue. If you find this guy stirring your loins, then go masturbate and get over it. Then come back for the rest of this post.

In all fairness, I don’t think that the whiny shit syndrome started in Boston. Like most shitty things in America today, it all started on 9/11.

Remember that?

Remember who Time named Person of the Year for 2011 2001? If you don’t, that’s good. You’re my control group. Before you guess, let me tell you about some prior “people of the year.” The title was supposed to acknowledge the person who defined the year. It wasn’t a prize or an award. In 1938, it was Adolf Hitler, as damn well it should have been. In 1939 and 1942? Josef Stalin. 1979? Ayatollah Khomeini.

But, on 9/11, we were a nation of mewling fucking cowards with a mainstream press that existed to provide cover for the government and business – not to inform. So, Time’s Person of the Year in 2001? Rudy Fucking Giuliani.

Nothing against Rudy. I’ll give him credit where due – and he’s due a lot of it. If you want to call him the bravest sonofabitch of 2001, you might have a point. (Or not). Coolest guy ever? Sure, go ahead. “Greatest person of the year?” Maybe even that. But, Time knew that there would be a national freak out, if they acted with integrity – because if they did, Osama Bin Laden would have been “Person of the Year.”

And here we have it again. I haven’t read the Rolling Stone story. I am not really interested. I don’t care what made this punk tick. But, I value what Rolling Stone is adding to the marketplace of ideas – as a lot of people might want to know about him. What made him do it? What can we learn from it? This is a stall in the Marketplace of Ideas that needs to be filled.

And now, there is a chorus rising from Massachusetts – calling for a boycott of the magazine. Wicked. Fahkin. Retahded, people. Putting someone on the cover of Rolling Stone doesn’t mean you’re honoring them. Flipping out about it, in a downright Bush-ian anti-intellectual nature is not only comically stupid, but contributes to a dumbing-down of journalism – a profession that is already on intellectual life support. Rolling Stone is one of the last places where journalists actually practice that craft. Boycott it if you like, but when you do so, remember that you’re helping make the country dumber – and that is not what Massachusetts is supposed to do.

UPDATE: Mayor Menino weighed in – with a pretty stupid letter. He, like the rest of the apoplectic crowd, seems to take the position that being on the cover of a magazine is some kind of prize or award. It is not a prize. Nobody deserves to be on the cover of a magazine or a newspaper. The purpose of the publication is to inform the reader.

To pre-empt the question: This is not a First Amendment problem. Yes, there is a government actor. The government gets to scold people. It only crosses the First Amendment line if there is coercive activity. He has a right, perhaps even a duty, to express his views. I just think his views are absurd. But, this is also the guy who brought us the view that Aqua Teen Hunger Force was in league with Al Quaeda.

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