Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The New Yorker

I don't usually have much to say about politics, but, when presented with the upcoming New Yorker cover, I had to speak up.

As you know, I am all for freedom of speech, and satire, especially involving political icons, is something I fully support. But, when it comes to an already controversial political race, isn't there a line that just shouldn't be crossed?

I realize what The New Yorker is trying to to, it's just satire, and I am sure McCain will get an equally harsh cover. But, to put a presidential candidate in the oval office, dressed as a Muslim knowing that the percentage of Americans still upset with the whole 911 thing, and associating that with the entire Muslim culture.. whether correct or not, is staggering ( not that the New Yorker is necessarily gracing this same demographic's coffee tables, but still, now with all the buzz.. you get my point), and a picture of Bin Laden behind him, with a burning American flag, and his wife holding an AK47.... doesn't this seem tasteless. You tell me.



There has been a lot of buzz about this particular cover, but it's not the only one that has ever shaken the American public. For more controversial magazine covers go to:
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-et-10magazinecovers14-july14-pg,0,5472017.photogallery

And tell me your thoughts!

A.

11 comments:

flaky genius said...

I saw that there was going to be a news story on this, but I didn't catch it, so I wasn't sure what the cover was like. We don't have the latest issue yet, as far as I know, so I asked J about it. (He is usually up on these matters pretty quickly, having a cake job and all :-) Anyway, I think I understood J to mean that this cartoonist wanted to take all of the ridiculous, slanderous remarks made about Obama and put them into one cartoon. That seems like a dangerous act to me if people don't get the joke. I said to J at the time that it seemed like a bad idea. Finally seeing the cover has cemented my first reaction. Satire, as you would know from my recent podcast for my tech class, attempts to poke fun at the hypocrisies of society using humor, sometimes biting, always witty. This isn't funny or witty. It's just damn offensive. I don't think anyone is going to see this as a joke. Fortunately, there aren't a lot of readers of the New Yorker who would be influenced by the tone and subject of this cover. They tend to be a lot smarter and more liberal than this.

A & D said...

I agree with yah' hunner'd percent.
D.

red said...

Considering I continue to get email from a cousin in OK telling me how Obama will turn the US into a Muslim state and let the terrorists have their way, I think it is incredibly stupid for the New Yorker to feed into that. I understand that the average reader of the New Yorker gets the satire, but the people who believe this crap will just use the cover as ammunition. There are plenty other ways to satirize Obama without pandering to the basest fears of the opposition.

Anonymous said...

a good song that captures times like these


in times like these
in times like those
what will be will be
and so it goes
and it always goes on and on…
and on and on it goes

and there’s always been laughing, crying, birth, and dying
boys and girls with hearts that take and give and break
and heal and grow and recreate and raise and nurture
but then hurt from time to times like these
and times like those
what will be will be
and so it goes

and there will always be stop and go and fast and slow
action, reaction, sticks and stones and broken bones
those for peace and those for war
and god bless these ones not those ones
but these ones made times like these
and times like those
what will be will be
and so it goes
and it always goes on and on…
and on and on it goes

but somehow i know it won’t be the same
somehow i know it’ll never be the same

The Critic said...

I heartily endorse anyone's baby-eating schemes as well. Damn Irish!

Seriously, though, I think it's all a bit of a tempest in a teapot. It's satire and not everyone's going to like it and this particular cover artist has been more successful in the past with other silly covers.

As far as satire goes, it's not his most effective work, I'll grant it that. The red phone in the first link, that is instantly understandable. This one requires layers of previous understanding and as satire fails for that reason. You shouldn't have to have an extra-special decoder ring on to interpret satire, you should just be able to use basic irony. This piece requires all sorts of factual data prior to interpretation and as such I think asks too much of the audience.

Do I think that makes it patently offensive? No. So, let's all suck it up for a second and put aside both "ZOMG it's got racial undertones!!!!" and "WTF? The New Yorker wants Dems to loooooose the election, oh noes!!!"

The rubes who think Obama is a secret Mooooslim are out of reach to him as potential voters anyway. Think about it. If being a believer in Islam is beyond the pale (haha, racial innuendo pun totally, like, for real, dogs!) for these people, chances are the majority of them won't vote for a Democrat or a black man either anyway.

I think Obama's camp is playing this right politically. Get very indignant about it, then he gets to very publicly slam all the rumor and innuendo that are part and parcel of this. He gets to point out again that none of it is true and very loudly denounce the email smear machine that people from....oh, let's say Georgia f'r instance... are forwarding along to each other.

The Fox News dingalings are going to run it over and over and not get the satire (even if they actually do get it), but again, if Fox News is your primary outlet for political news, I'm kinda guessing you're not voting for Obama either.

flaky genius said...

I still hold that the cartoon is a failure at satire, or else it wouldn't be offensive to Obama and his supporters--it would be offensive to his detractors, who have thus far, remained fairly mum. But I do find it interesting that there is so much outrage over this cartoon, which, in its failed intentions, was meant to be satiric and there was very little public outrage over the Hillary nutcracker, in which men are invited to break their nuts in her teethed vagina. That one wasn't a joke or satire. And it got very little coverage.

flaky genius said...

Hey Critic,
Maybe that you don't find it "patently offensive" and can tell people to "suck it up" and can intellectualize it away as satire in the same vein as Swift's "A Modest Proposal" (which is a brilliant work that I respect too much to attempt a comparison) and can say these people won't vote for Obama anyway, so who cares? has something to do with the fact that you are not the member of an oppressed group of people who has had to withstand generations of abuse, humiliation, and indignity. Maybe you don't have a visceral reaction to racism or sexism or any other major ism because you've had the benefit of never experiencing any of those things, you white male of privilege.

Anonymous said...

Walking on eggshells... seems to be the new American way. Media outlets need to have more common sense than this "ugly" work. Howeverk, this satire plays on a fear and this happens to play on America's greatest fear. Muslim Extremism

The Critic said...

Oh right, I forgot. I'm a white male and therefore completely unable to comment on anything unrelated to black socks with shorts, reruns of Becker, mid-priced Zinfandels, and my 401(k).

The Critic said...

Preach it, black soul man. You too, brother.

red said...

Ah, there's nothing like spousal rivalry. I agree with flaky genius that the HIllary nutcracker is far more offensive, and received very little outcry. However, any man who listens to Ani DiFranco and is married to an outspoken feminist has some sense of the injustices in the world, even if he has never experienced them himself. (I got the sarcasm in your comments, just felt the need to defend you both).

We really are a stupid group of people (Americans as a whole). Some idiotic fanatics target us for terrorism and we take it out on an entire culture. I could give a rat's ass as to the religion of our political leaders as long as they are protecting my rights and providing a decent standard of living for all. Bring on the Muslims, the Hindus and Mormons. Give me a Jew, a Buddhist or a Wiccan. Hell, I'd even vote for a Voodoo if I thought that would be best for our country. But please, don't add fuel to the fire with failed attempts at humor which just embolden and validate the ignorant through misinterpretation.

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