Friday, July 19, 2013

Another Loss of Innocents.....

I've aged out of Rolling Stone Magazine's target demographic. It's not a hard feelings thing or 'and the horse you rode in on' dynamic; it is what it is. 

Hell, the band from whom they took their name has aged out (and are probably close to AARP's cut-off as well, come to think it; sorry Charlie). Funny how only Pete Townsend hit the nail on the head back in the day and now, he, too, is chronologically impaired.  

I was a charter subscriber back when it was published in a long tabloid layout and nowhere near the glossy pulp paper pin-up it is now. It was chock full of music and very little else. Every once in a while Dr. Hunter S. Thompson made an appearance and I loved his Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail

So, too, did the RS editors as more and more of the magazine had less and less to do with music and it became instead the NY Times of the Counter-Culture, "All the News that Fits." 

I stopped RSM not too long after that metamorphosis began-actually unsubscribing exactly when they stuck Diana Vreeland on the cover and I had to read the article to discover she wasn't Neil Young's mother or wardrobe mistress for Alice Cooper but, rather, the editor of Vogue magazine. 

Since my wardrobe by that point in my life was mostly Air Force utility uniforms ('pickle suits' we called  them) and the occasional flannel shirt and dungarees, up close and personal with anything from Vogue was an encounter for which I had no appetite.

Of course, all of that snideness and snarkiness is yesterday's papers as, realizing nothing boosts sales  like controversy, the magazine did an extensive and extended piece on Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the accused (and surviving) suspect in the bombing of the Boston Marathon. 

Doddering old fool that I am, I understand and have no argument with the pomposity of their advocacy supporting the decision to slap a rock star image of Tsarnaev on their cover (I'm not linking to it for the same reason I didn't buy books from Watergate crooks) even if their rationale gets awfully deep, smells pungent and I am wearing my good shoes.

The article is, I am sure, well-written and researched and is undoubtedly as balanced as the times in which we live will allow. I'll never read it that way just as I'll never chair a meeting of the Mensa Society at a Hooters Restaurant (because I, not the ladies, will never qualify for membership). And the words of the article isn't what will sell the magazine which is on news stands starting today; it's the cover.

I'm sad because Rock and Roll, the magazine's original Raison d'ĂȘtre, celebrated the joyfulness and exuberance of life, embracing the notion that we should live in and for the moment. With very little effort, see below, RS could have kept the their words as they are, while also remembering and memorializing those who were here for too brief a moment and who died before we ever got to know them.

But cash is king and the business of America, even (and maybe especially) for its music  magazine, is always the bottom line. And that's where you'll always find the biggest feeders.
-bill kenny 

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