Rolling Stone made an excellent journalistic move – but we’re still allowed to be angry.

rolling-stone-magazine-Jahar-Tsarnaev-boston-bomber-cover

I’m just going to preface this by saying that – like many others – I’ve already expressed by disgust at the all-round dick move made by Rolling Stone.

Writing that first article (read: venting) was therapeutic. I got most of the anger out of my system and let it out into the world. But that was about 13 hours ago and I’ve had some time to calm down, process, and think about Rolling Stone’s decision to feature Dzhokhar Tsarnev on the cover. And I hate to say this, but it’s actually a brilliant move. That’s not to say I agree with it, but I think we need to look at a few more issues at play.

First, it’s a story that needs to be told.

I’m not going to use the kind of language they did – that he “fell into” radical Islam and that “his family failed him” – because after a certain point we all accept responsibility, and bombing the Boston Marathon was no passive act of a young man irresponsible of his actions.

Still. We need to investigate why someone with no connection to radical Islam from birth committed such heinous acts, if only to prevent similar events in the future and similar lives being destroyed.

Second, from a PR perspective it’s an enormous success.

Even those who had never heard of Rolling Stone are now aware of the publication. It’s enforced its floundering reputation for being edgy. They could have used a dozen different covers and run with the same story, and received no way near the same level of attention.

Third, it has attracted an entire new customer base.

While many people will no doubt boycot the magazine, I’d wager a greater number of people who rarely or never buy it will grab themselves a copy. Circulation figures will boost. Those readers might be inclined to buy the magazine the following month, and in this economy no publication can laugh off sales figures.

Fourth, it forcibly subverts the idea of what a terrorist is supposed to look like.

In the collective consciousness of today’s world, a terrorist looks something like Sadam Hussein – Muslim, bearded and with evil looking eyes. Twenty-Thirty years ago, a terrorist was Irish, and therefore looked like the white, Western world. Times are changing again. It also feels like a small “fuck you” to every media source that reported, in the confusion of the immediate wake of the bombings, that the suspect was male and brown. At the time of the bombings, there was no reason for any media source to report that the suspect was “brown” (particularly when that wasn’t true) other than to give a giant conspirational wink to everyone who was thinking “Al Qaeda”. Sloppy, sloppy journalism.

The fact that Rolling Stone have made what is probably a very smart move does not mean it wasn’t also a dick move. We are allowed to be shocked and angry; it is the exact reaction Rolling Stone were looking for. People are not ignorant or hateful for being angry. They are rightly so. Anyone glancing at the cover could have been mistaken that Tsarnev was a good-looking front man for a band, rather than the terrorist responsible* for the highest number of deaths from a US-soil terrorist attack since September 11th.

The greatest thing Rolling Stone have done is incite discussion, both in the media and amongst friends. I was furious this morning, but now that has given away to curiosity. I don’t know if I’ll buy the magazine – I don’t want to support what were a blatant dismissal of ethics – but I will be interested in what it has to say.

We’ll just have to wait until August.

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That time I interviewed Midnight Juggernauts.

Midnight Juggernauts

I’ve been a fan of Midnight Juggernauts since my final year of school back in 07, so when the chance came to interview them I jumped. Hard. Like, I was bouncing round my bedroom when I got the email confirming everything.

They were touring in South America, so the interview was all done over Skype. Now, I don’t know about what “the professionals” do, but I record  every single interview on my iPhone. There’s none of this fancy pants equipment (let’s save that for Radio class), just me, my laptop, and my phone pressed right against the speaker.

There’s also the case of where to conduct the interview. Where do the professionals do it? In their Pinterest-esque study? Their living room?

I didn’t have either option – living with my family and a distinct lack of beautiful study – so it was, of course, my bedroom. Oo-er.

I spent a good portion of the morning streaming their new album Uncanny Valley while making my bed, shoving miscellaneous clothes and shoes into a hidden corner, and ensuring I looked decent enough to be interviewing someone while not over-doing it and looking like I was on the pull. I could have spent a bit more time, you know, getting my questions together, but it was vitally important that the Midnight Juggernauts not think I was some disgusting slob who hadn’t even washed her hair.

In the end it didn’t even matter. He Skyped from his phone – no camera.

I transcribed the interview later, and the number one thought running through my head was: “Holy hell. I sound like a total prat.” But you know, I had envisioned myself TALKING to them. Face to face. I was in FACE TO FACE talking mode, not on-the-phone talking mode. They’re completely different things. Obviously.

And my Dad walked in half way though the interview. Like oh my god Dad that’s so uncool, don’t you know I’m talking to rockstars? And trying to be professional? But also I would really like a cup of tea, thanks.

The interview is now up on The Australian Times for all to read. I suggest you do. If nothing else, you may be intrigued to find out what these electro-rockers listen to when they’re not making music….

And have a listen to their new track, Memorium. It’s pretty trippy stuff. The whole album is influenced by the idea of robotics and humanity and technology. The name Uncanny Valley comes from legendary roboticist Masahiro Mori. It’s a hypothesis he wrote in 1970, which states: “I have noticed that, in climbing toward the goal of making robots appear human, our affinity for them increases until we come to a valley, which I call the uncanny valley.”

Heavy.

The Five People You Will Meet At Every Festival

Festivals

Festival season is almost upon us! Who doesn’t love a good festival? It’s that one special time a year you get to exchange body sweat with a thousand people just by jumping around in a mosh pit.

The people you go with can make or break any festival, no matter who’s playing and what the weather’s like. You’re also likely to meet a few, erm, characters along the way. To help you spot them, I’ve compiled a list of the five characters you’re most likely to meet this festival season. Continue reading

HIPSTERS: “I liked it before it was cool.”

It’s a phrase we use in mockery of hipsters everywhere. Adopt a sneer and say in your most patronising voice: “I liked it before it was cool.” BINGO! We have a hipster.

I haven’t always sided with the hipsters, but now I am.

I’m just going to jump right in and say, in defence of hipsters everywhere, it is THE SINGLE MOST ANNOYING THING WHEN SOMETHING YOU LOVE BECOMES, LIKE, TOTALLY MAINSTREAM.

I mean, props on you for jumping on that bandwagon before the zeitgeist, but when an entire crowd totally gets your love for this one band / brand / weird anime cartoon, it can kill your soul a little.

Before it was coolWhen we like something, and I mean really like something, it doesn’t matter if anyone else thinks it’s cool or not. It says something to us, it becomes part of us. Maybe our souls are just made up of an entire collection of things we like and the memories they protect. Suddenly when EVERYBODY likes it, it doesn’t mean as much anymore. It’s protection is gone. It’s like a little helpless kitten that still has its eyes glued shut and keeps bumping into furniture. And what do we do to little helpless kittens? We protect them!

Cue all the “Yeah, but I liked it BEFORE it was big,” statements. You can hear yourself saying the words, knowing how they sound, but dammit, you DID like it before. And people should know that it is a part of you, and not just blip on the outside. Continue reading

Iggy & the Stooges, or How I Had A Musical Orgasm

Iggy HordernIggy Pop’s stage presence is a thing of legend – his on-stage antics are almost as famous as his music. Last night, I realised a long-time dream and went along to see for myself (responsibly dragging along my 17-year-old sister. As you do.)

I’ve been a fan of Iggy & the Stooges ever since I accidentally downloaded a live version of ‘The Passenger’, back in the days of Limewire when I could actually manage to download things. I was hooked. I got my hands on every other song and devoured every article I could find.

I was very relieved when I learnt he hadn’t yet died of a heroin overdose. Continue reading

INTERVIEW // An Australian Musician with a ‘Heart of Gold’

I had the good fortune to meet Telen Rodwell, an Australian musician/film maker/general-all-round awesome person who is about to release his first album. We met at the Renaissance Hotel in King’s Cross, and I squealed like a little girl when I realised the lobby was used for a couple scenes in Harry Potter. This was also my first in-person interview, and after having a mild panic attack at the thought of, you know, actually conducting an interview in person, I downloaded three voice recorder apps. This article originally appeared in The Australian Times. Continue reading