That’s perhaps the nicest way to describe The Hollywood Reporter’s newest cover story of the tragedy that occurred last week in Aurora, Colorado. Admittedly, any shocking event associated with pop culture – no matter how loose the connection – are going to inevitably be tied together when artists express their feelings over it. So while I wasn’t exactly supportive of the personal artwork that started juxtaposing a “Grieving Dark Knight” with the Colorado massacre, especially since it implied that a fictional character was impacted by a tragedy that took the lives of real people, I respected the honest attempts by individuals to convey their sadness in a creative, unselfish way. It is also inevitable – if somewhat disheartening – to have such a tragedy followed by the usual political grandstanding on gun control, mental illness, and violence in entertainment before imploding on its own bluster and having nothing to show for it. We have come to expect this from our politicians and from less scrupulous pundits.
But this cover art? I can’t even think of enough words to describe how offended I am by the shameless opportunism oozing out of such a publicity stunt that would be deplorable coming from a gossip tabloid rag, let alone one of the prime entertainment magazines in the world. I’m not even going to start on the jaw-droppingly irresponsible essays contained within the issue musing on the “connection” between movies and violence from people who seriously should know better (with an especially whiny piece from Peter Bogdanovich…what were you thinking?!).