At the helm of a once relevant, thought-provoking and edgy magazine is a man who is oblivious to his own uselessness. Jann Wenner — a grasping, preening, simpering, disingenuous aging pseudo-hippy — has clung to his publisher's post at Rolling Stone as though it were the last life vest on the Titanic.
I have subscribed to Rolling Stone on and off for the last 20 years. I realize of course that the magazine was past its prime even then, but to the young and impressionable, the stories, covers and glossy texture were the fumes that fueled my burning desire to become a journalist; a dream I cleaved to in lieu of any real talent, opportunity, or connection to reality.
Despite RS's continued slide into obscurity and irrelevance, I have tried to remain loyal with the hope that eventually the magazine would find its voice, direction, passion for journalism. But instead I find silly insipid writing that is childish, biased, and uninsightful.
The latest issue, featuring a caricature of our country's leader wearing a dunce cap on the cover, looking more like a chimp than a world leader, really offends my journalistic sensibilities. Not to put too fine a point on it, but who do they think they are fooling with that kind of cover?
Don't get me wrong — there are times when I am sure that President Bush is Captain of the Crazy Ship, steering us down the river of doom — but RS's depiction is beyond the pale, and I didn't even vote for Bush.
The piece, "The Worst President in History?" by historian Sean Wilentz, is a diatribe on how Bush has mismanaged the presidency, a claim in and of itself I don't necessarily disagree with; but it tries to disguise itself as an objective analysis of his policies, his leadership, his character, his vision in the context of the greatest and worst presidents of all time.
Wilentz' central pillar for basing his all-too-obvious feelings is poll results "conducted by those perceived as conservative as well as liberals." He cautions us that "lopsided decisions of historians should give everyone pause" and that "historians do tend, as a group to be far more liberal than the citizenry as a whole," but we shouldn't let that distract us from the overall ineptitude and incompetence of the President.