Monday, July 14, 2008

The New Yorker Cover

The liberal blogosphere exploded today over the new cover of The New Yorker. The cover was intended to be a satire of all the outrageous things that kooks believe about Barack Obama - that he is a flag burning Muslim mole and his wife is some sort of militant black nationalist:

However, without any context, it does more to reinforce this kind of misinformation than challenge it. Americans, satire, and political campaigns mix about as well as oil, water and rocks, so I don't think many people are going to be laughing about this. The irony is that there is a 16 page article on Obama in this issue that is said to be largely positive. And yet I would guess the average person seeing this on a news stand will think that the New Yorker believes Obama is going to institute Sharia law once elected president. Such is the power of images over words. Sigh

As a side note, how dumb do you have to be to believe Obama will institute Sharia law as president? It first requires enough racism and prejudice to believe that a black person is unable to attend a public grade school in Indonesia for a year (that had Muslims in attendence) without being forever brainwashed into a radical sect of Islam. Then it requires a lack of even rudimentary knowledge of how our government works and what the constitution is and the powers that a president has. Finally, it requires you to believe that the American people would just stand idly by and let something like that happen.

Yes, I know, these are probably the same people who fervently hope for the return of a Christian theocracy. In fact, that's probably why they take these ridiculous smears so seriously. They might be hoping something like this happens, except in favor of their own version of religion.


Tim said...

I heard about this yesterday, and after a brief initial shock, and then reading the comments on Salon, I have to take the New Yorker's side.

The image is clearly satire aimed at the New Yorker's intellectual and liberal readership. The audience it was intended for gets it.

It's no different from when Jon Stewart makes fun of these Obama/Muslim rumors on The Daily Show.

I realize that right wing hacks may take this image and use it for evil, but if we have to sacrifice satire out of fear of sending the wrong message to xenophobes, then the xenophobes have already won.

I don't want to live in a country without satire.

Dan S said...

I wouldn't want to live without satire either.

Nonetheless, it's painful to hear comments by conservatives like "Well, the truth hurts" when referring to the picture and the controversy. Of course, what's painful is the ignorance on display by such comments.

So, I don't know. Satire is a sharp tool, and sometimes cuts both ways, I guess.

brownie said...

I've heard this picture described as "cruel" "offensive" and "insensitive". Hmmmm....

It's funny to me how liberals think it's fine to be cruel, offensive and insensitive when employing "satire" toward those they don't like, but when it's aimed at them, they become overstuffed with haughtness, humorless pride, and self-important self-pity.

To be honest, I don't know that my comment has a whole lot to do with this post in particular, but you know how I like to twist the red-hot poker whenever I'm able.

PG said...

My 84 year old dad gets email saying Obama is a Muslim. (This is one he got recently:

It takes a lot of talk to convince him that Obama isn't Muslim, isn't a terrorist, etc.

He's still not going to vote for him because "he is for abortion." In truth, he's not voting for Obama because Obama is black. But he'd never say that.

I don't think the New Yorker cover will have much impact in the long run. I kind of like the kerfuffle. John McCain should have so much publicity.

Dan S said...

Brownie, this isn't satire directed at liberals. It's satire directed at conservatives who believe ridiculous things about Obama. Liberals aren't upset because it is satire, but because conservative don't recognize it as such, and just see it as the truth.

When liberals get filled with haughtiness, it is usually because conservatives are lying about something, or undermining our national values, or torturing people or starting unnecessary wars and such.

Robert Sievers said...

What is so sad to me is that at the time when America is ready for a black president, the one that gets nominated is the one that is divisive, unqualified, and void of content.

PG said...
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Fingtree said...

From what Robert Sievers described as: "divisive, unqualified and void of content"; George W. Bush was our first black president.

Robert Sievers said...

I don't think I have offered a criticism of Obama yet that has not been rebutted with an eye-for-eye about Bush.

I sure hope Obama has more going for him than people who hate Bush. .

Fingtree said...

Classic; "you can dish it out but you can't take it" remark there Robert Sievers. The consequences of supporting the biggest buffoon in our country's history, is that whatever criticism you put out there in opposition to your proven failed, backward and warped conservative ideals, holds no water or has no substance.
The gullible supporters of George W. Bush have lowered the bar so far, that 'Lassie' the Collie Dog star could represent us better than what the fraudulent, smearing self-righteous right of this country has allowed to act as our figurehead. Your conservative base have been suckers for those movie star types, so Lassie isn't that far fetched. The best the conservatives have to offer (Ronald Reagan) in what they consider was a good past President, played second fiddle to a monkey in a Hollywood movie (Bedtime for Bonzo). Governor Arnold Schwarzeneggar is another actor gone big for the Republicans. Sonny Bono is another. What makes their backgrounds any more credible than Barrack Obama? I'll tell you what it is Bob; It's pompous, pretentious, arrogant, credulous and exploitable fools like yourself that would allow a candidate like Lassie or the equivalent; George W. Bush, to get elected in this country.

PG said...

I just watched some old speeches of Bush on the nightly news. He was tough-talking about not leaving Iraq and he was ranting about not negotiating with Iran. He changed his mind on both those issues this week and the old speeches show him to be the bullying, badly-spoken, blustering, fear-monger that he is. How he has wreaked havoc and ruin in this country and the world. We torture, we lie, and we have lost any ethical credibility or sympathy we once had. For a long time, I've watched Bush's speeches and was reminded of the old WWII speeches given by Mussolini, the swagger, the smugness, the boastfulness, the earthy commonness and the pride. Bush is trying to soften down in his final days, but it doesn't wash. He's a worn out man with a wrinkled brain who, along with those who refuse to apologize for their support of his violence and greed, have only shame and regret before them. But everybody suffers, all of us.

Robert Sievers said...

Last I heard, Obama was running against McCain, not against Bush.

Somebody correct me if I missed the repeal of the 22nd amendment.

PG said...

Today's New York Times front page story is about the economy and how bad things have become. I think it's going to be quite a while before we have washed Bush out of our hair, no matter who gets elected in November. Just because he's out of office doesn't mean there won't be repercussions for years, maybe even decades, to come.

David Wright said...

If you can't have satire on the cover of the New Yorker, where CAN you have it?