Rolling Stone put Pope Francis on the cover, which hardly puts a practicing Catholic's mind at ease. But perhaps it was only natural that this weed-and-leftist-screed magazine would try to absolve itself for its horrendous James Dean-like cover of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
After all, if you want to see Rolling Stone really honoring a global prophet of miracles on its cover, just recall its 2008 cover with stern-faced Barack Obama surrounded by a glowing white aura around him. "A New Hope," it read, with a promise of a look inside his "people-powered revolution." Obama ran an omnicompetent "Machinery of Hope" in which a community organizer-in-chief would soon solve every problem and master every technological way to deliver on the country's needs. Don't laugh. OK, do laugh.
For this new cover story, novelist Mark Binelli praised the new pontiff by frying the previous one. He wrote about Pope Benedict with less warmth than these magazine hacks mustered for Tsarnaev, a terrorist. "After the disastrous papacy of Benedict, a staunch traditionalist who looked like he should be wearing a striped shirt with knife-fingered gloves and menacing teenagers in their nightmares, Francis' basic mastery of skills like smiling in public seemed a small miracle to the average Catholic."
So to this oaf, Benedict is Freddy Krueger in "A Nightmare on Elm Street." This is classic Rolling Stone, basing its moral judgments on someone's looks. Doesn't Tsarnaev look like a dreamboat? Don't his good looks demand some sympathy for the "charming kid with a bright future" gone astray? Meanwhile, Francis wins just by not being Benedict: "his recognizable humanity comes off as positively revolutionary," at least "against the absurd, impossibly baroque backdrop of the Vatican."
Francis is a leftist's cinematic icon, apparently. "The touchingly enduring 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington'/'Bulworth'/Aaron Sorkin fantasy in which a noble political figure finally tells the American people the truth tends not to happen in real-life democracy, you may have noticed." It only happens in -- you guessed it -- "an arcane throwback of an institution like the Vatican," where the Cardinals were hoodwinked into pleasing the sybarites at Rolling Stone.