This is one of those once in a decade moments in which I disagree with Steve Benen, as he thinks the cover was inappropriate:
Now, I know what the New Yorker was doing here. It’s intended as satire. The image isn’t endorsing the insane smears made against the Obamas; it’s mocking the insane smears made against the Obamas. I get it.
But there’s clever, poignant satire, and then there’s ham-fisted, garish satire that’s in poor taste. The New Yorker cover falls comfortably into the latter category.
Presumably the New Yorker readership is sophisticated enough to get the joke, but still: this is going to upset a lot of people, probably for the same reason it’s going to delight a lot of other people, namely those on the right: Because it’s got all the scare tactics and misinformation that has so far been used to derail Barack Obama’s campaign — all in one handy illustration. Anyone who’s tried to paint Obama as a Muslim, anyone who’s tried to portray Michelle as angry or a secret revolutionary out to get Whitey, anyone who has questioned their patriotism — well, here’s your image.
Exactly. Smear artists running a scurrilous right-wing magazine would presumably run the exact same image of the Obamas on their cover, too. That we know the New Yorker is poking fun hardly makes matters better.
The bolded part is what I do not understand- “Smear artists running a scurrilous right-wing magazine would presumably run the exact same image of the Obamas on their cover, too.”
Isn’t that exactly the point of the New Yorker cover in the first place? With this cover, the Neow Yorker is saying “This is the nonsense these jackass smear artists are spreading virally all the time- look how stupid and absurd it is.”
Again, I am completely in the tank for the Obama candidacy, and I just don’t get the response to this. We have a long tradition of this sort of cartoon and cover art in this country. The folks at Riverdaughter, hardly a site that I agree with, well, ever, remind us of this cover:
Again, I understand why the Obama campaign is doing what they are doing. I understand why cable news networks will be doing their best to out-vapors the other with breathless coverage. I do not understand the collective freak-out from bloggers, though, and particularly Democratic or left-leaning bloggers. Even Kevin Drum, who is normally unreasonably reasonable, thinks the cover is scandalous and awful because it does not pin these rumors on Republicans.
*** Update ***
I should point out that I am aware that I am unusually tone deaf on issues like this. I guess I just really detest the notion that people’s messages have to be self-censored because some idiot somewhere is going to misinterpret it or misuse it.
*** Update #2 ***
Larison explains why I am wrong:
This cover image is slightly different, in that it is trying to undermine the worst attacks by revealing them to be nonsensical caricatures, but nonetheless the artist seems incapable of imagining that there are many voters, particularly those who don’t know that much about Obama, who will see this image flashed on their television screens or attached to chain e-mails and think, “I knew there was something about that Obama I didn’t like, and now I see what it is!” No doubt many Obama supporters thinks this gives a lot of voters too little credit, but they have been giving them too much for a long time. Besides, this isn’t just a question of voter savviness–the power of suggestion can be great, and in a tightly contested race, in which the challenger has not yet won the confidence of a majority of voters, any lingering doubts that prevent people from supporting the challenger could be decisive. The less informed undecided voters are, the more susceptible they will be to such an image, which will plant seeds of doubt where there might have been none before.
In an era of instant, mass communication, the image will be, indeed already has been, circulated widely and will gradually lose whatever “ironic” edge it once had. That the image derived from a New Yorker cover and was intended for an audience of high-information, predominantly left-leaning voters who already support Obama will be irrelevant or will add to the “credibility” of what the image conveys. Then the word will go forth in forwarded emails everywhere: “Even The New Yorker thinks Obama is a secret Muslim, etc…”
He is probably right.
*** Update #3 ***
Since it’s the controversy of the day, let me make my views more clear. It obviously was an attempt at satire, but it fails. It represents the basic stuff that you get from the Right about Obama, but it neither mocks nor exaggerates them. It’s a sad state of affairs that conservatives are hard to satirize or parody because they’re so insane, but that’s where we are.
I guess I am just tone deaf.
I think the New Yorker cover would be terrific with The Onion’s Kelly in the corner.
I’m with you, John. Especially this:
“I guess I just really detest the notion that people’s messages have to be self-censored because some idiot somewhere is going to misinterpret it or misuse it.”
I think you mischaracterized Kevin’s problem with the cover; he thinks it sucks because it didn’t have the guts to actually say what it wanted to say, instead of settling for snarky ironic 3DG33n3ss.
I agree with him on this point — that’s where it fell flat for me.
Imagine if the shoe were on the other foot, and some right-wing magazine had a cover featuring John McCain as a senile Manchurian candidate with an illegitimate black baby.
The conservative outrage machine is what’s helped push the media so far to the right over the past however many years, and it’s about time that the left started to fight fire with fire.
Folks should be against this “satire” if they would oppose the same sort of thing on National Review or some other right wing media.
Accepting this cover would open the door for more right wing attacks.
The correct, non-hypocritical, response is to be against this regardless of the venue, imho.
The term Drum used was ‘gutless’ so I am not sure I would characterize his reaction as ‘scandalous and awful’.
I am really not sure what I think of it although I am not surprised by the reaction of the blogosphere. As a political blog junkie I understand the satire, but I can’t help agreeing with Kevin that it somehow lacks the proper context to direct the humor/satire where it is intended.
However if you subscribe to the ‘no PR is bad PR’ school of thought, the New Yorker hit the jackpot with this one. I bet they don’t get too many copies of that issue returned.
I think you overlook Steve’s point that the joke is there – but without the punchline.
It would have been a much better cover if – as Steve pointed out – the scene had been contained inside a thought bubble coming out of Rush Limbaugh’s head or a speech bubble coming out of McCain’s mouth.
Me personally, I would have had this entire scene on a canvas with an elephant wearing a little “GOP” button painting it.
Anyway, I’m not outraged by the cover. I just think it’s poorly executed from a graphical standpoint – that’s my only real critique. I guess that’s in my nature being an Art Director and all.
Yes, and no. TNY has a responsibility here, in this context, to an audience wider than its small cult following. This material propels them onto a national stage, where they do not ususally work, and because they have this affectation of not captioning their covers, the art has to represent itself to that wide audience.
The point actually is, that wider audience WON’T GET IT, and this makes TNY basically stupid, arrogant, and filled with hubris .. as well as potentially destructive.
That’s why I said, this is really bad judgment on their part. But, on the scale of bad judgment in the media, it doesn’t really rock the meter. This is Fox News on any given day.
We have a media that cares nothing for outcomes, has no sense of responsibility, and shirks all accountability. That is the takeaway from this gaffe.
I think there are two things to consider:
1) There will be many people who only see the cover in passing, and will not know the background that will tell them it is satire. It may be a small effect, but it will exist.
2) “Working the refs” was proven to be an effective tactic by the right. It is worthwhile to use this tactic as well, so that when a right-winger does try the “Obama is a turra-ist” thing, people will be more prepared to reject it.
Yeah, I’m fairly surprised it is getting as much heat as it is. Does it require an awful lot of political savvy to get all the jokes? Yes. Is it likely to be misinterpreted by a lot of people? I’m dubious about that, but I could be persuaded, I suppose.
After all, ain’t no lower limits on stupidity, no matter how much we think otherwise sometimes.
And that’s exactly where the cover falls flat.
It gives the viewer no frame of reference. It doesn’t say that these gross caricatures are being painted by Republicans. And imagery like that without a frame of reference is ripe for misinterpretation.
Especially when 90% of the people who see it won’t read the article.
Big diff between what they would–but importantly, havent–do and what this mag actually did. Coming from THE state where actual voters were on video insisting they knew Obama was a MUZZLUM, I find it hard to believe you won’t see the damage this press coverage will generate.
The words “Obama” and “Muslim garb” will be repeated 1,158 times in the next 2 weeks. Unfortunately, that’s a huge disadvantage for a Scary Negro trying hard to convince people he’s Christian.
The Moar You Know
Status quo for that bunch of morons.
So do I. And if some idiot cuts their finger off with a circular saw or rides a motorcycle without a helmet, well, as long as I don’t have to pay for their respirator I really don’t care.
But the stakes are a lot higher here, John, a lot higher. And when the stakes get high for a nation of three hundred million people, I think that calls for the exercise of some prudent behavior.
This cover for the New Yorker is many things, one of which is the polar opposite of “prudent behavior” on the part of the publisher.
As satire, it misses the mark. Satire exaggerates. This is just a visual catalog of every hysterical right-wing hit against Obama. And, let’s face it, when you’re talking about a mass audience, whenever the word “irony” is used in defense of your position, you’ve already lost.
As Atrios put it: “Shouting “n****r” is ok as long as you mean it ironically.”
I agree, or a thought bubble over the head of some overweight blogger pounding the keyboard in Mom’s basement. But as it is, it seems to be saying there’s a kernel of truth in this depiction.
If you look at the New Yorker’s other political cartoon style covers, those covers always had a valid point taken to extremes. So even a person used to New Yorker style ‘satire’ would assume that there’s some valid point underneath this, rather than assume it’s all right wing paranoid fantasy.
It wasn’t a smear attempt, that’s ridiculous. It was a liberal magazine pushing the envelope past the edge, precisely because they are liberal. I believe this is behind much of the liberties the so-called liberal media takes in crossing the line too often in bashing dems. Their motives are to maximize interest to buy their product, while blithely feeling immune from criticism precisely because individually they are liberal. Without the needed context, this was going to far. Maybe so even with the needed context.
That’s spot-on, TZ. Remember the Stephen Colbert hosting of the National Correspondents Dinner? Americans, for the most part, don’t seem to get satire. Colbert gave one of the greatest, and gutsiest performances I’ve seen in a long, long time at that event. The emperor had no clothes. And the response was… the media didn’t cover it, if it weren’t for YouTube, we wouldn’t have gotten a chance to see it at all.
And you’re correct that TNY is playing outside their normal arena, and doing us a disservice in the process. That disservice is in not recognizing, and thus adjusting their behavior to account for, the fact that 12% of Americans apparently still believe that Obama is a secret Muslim.
The last piece of why this was a terrible idea is that TNY covers are “stand-alone” pieces of commentary, never accompanied by interior articles. So, if you don’t get the satire, you’re left with a damaging piece of propaganda, ready-made for “No Quarter” or other such rat-fuckers.
Stick to your guns, John. I disagree with both Drum and Larison and I explain why here.
just like most people here have already said, the image fails because it doesn’t put the smears in context. without mentioning that nearly everything in the image is GOP bullshit, it only tells half the story.
THIS CAN ONLY BE GOOD!
How many ‘less informed’ voters read The New Yorker? Yeah, yeah, I understand about the forthcoming e-mails: ‘ultra-lib mag’ features Obama as Muslim and Michelle as militant stuff.
It’s true that, in these times, perhaps we should censor ourselves for our own good because so much is at stake. The future of our country, no less, but until the msm starts playing real news and stops obsessing over perceived gaffes and slights, I’m not going to beat up on the New Yorker for this. Because the msm bears so much of the blame for people being ‘uninformed.’
For fuck’s sake, I don’t even know what country Karl Rove is in right now. Does anybody know? And if not, isn’t that news?
We have a winner! That’s why this is offensive, because it might be a “joke”, but the cover will just re-enforce people’s wrongheaded stereotypes. Also, the cover contains no reference at all to the people it’s mocking (Fox news, NRO, Rush, etc), so it’s not clear who the target really is.
That’s why people are angry about this cover. For more epic fail, see this op/ed that appeared over the weekend.
What miffs me most about all this is the fact that the MSM failed to do it’s job over the past few years, and adopted every right-wing falsehood imaginable: now it’s fashionable to mock these falsehoods, before we’ve even managed to make a clean break from them? How about they stop perpetuating the myths they should be debunking?
This country needs a break from right-wing bullshit. Instead, everyone thinks they are Steven Colbert. So, we wind up with shit like this infecting our discourse because the MSM makes money when they inflict the disease, and when they dole out the cure.
Finally, if this is supposed to be a joke, who the fuck is laughing?
John Cole quoted Larison as:
That was exactly my thought: while the cartoonist’s intention is probably honorable, the negative consequences (particularly given the low-IQ knuckle-draggers who run the American press) far outway any positives.
Dennis - SGMM
A poll taken in March found that 13% of Americans believe that Obama is a Muslim. A similar poll taken last December found only 10% believed that he is a Muslim. Throwing this cover out to a public that is demonstrably ignorant and militantly uninformed is a huge mistake. It’s a sad commentary on America that satire will be taken literally by large numbers of voters.
On the one hand, I hate the idea that “we libruls” have to behave lest the fRighties get another knot in their panties. They’re going to get a knot in their panties no matter what. I grew up with a variation of that shit and after you outgrow the paranoia it bores.
On the other hand, there is no way in hell they are genuinely surprised at the reaction. (“No one could have possibly foreseen…”) I will laugh while The New Yorker takes its lumps. Let the loss of advertisers, dropped subs, angry letters to the editor begin.
harlana pepper wrote,
I disagree. The cover has a predictable consequence—the MSM will talk about it, almost certainly in ways that keep the issue alive in a manner that will hurt Obama.
Just because the New Yorker isn’t responsible for the rest of the press corp doesn’t mean they’re not responsible for the forseeable consequences of their actions.
It’s like saying that someone who doesn’t lock up in a dangerous neighborhood isn’t responsible for his house getting burgled; after all, he didn’t burgle the house, the criminal did.
Then the smear artists needed to be a subject of the cover. They weren’t. This is presented not as an attack on them, but on Obama since the only people who will infer the invisible subjects are the people that know that its satire going in. The rest of the public will take it at face value – as an attack on Obama. JeffLieber at GOS leads the way.
J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford
Focus people. Let’s have a week where we don’t attack Obama or go spastic over the attacks (perceived or otherwise) on Obama. Let’s shove it up Mr. Honor & Integrity’s ass:
Mr. Honor and Integrity
“An examination of court documents tells a different story. McCain did not sue his wife for divorce until Feb. 19, 1980, and he wrote in his court petition that he and his wife had “cohabited” until Jan. 7 of that year — or for the first nine months of his relationship with Hensley.
Although McCain suggested in his autobiography that months passed between his divorce and remarriage, the divorce was granted April 2, 1980, and he wed Hensley in a private ceremony five weeks later. McCain obtained an Arizona marriage license on March 6, 1980, while still legally married to his first wife.
Until McCain filed for divorce, the Reagans and their inner circle assumed he was happily married, and they were stunned to learn otherwise, according to several close aides.
“Everybody was upset with him,” recalled Nancy Reynolds, a top aide to the former president who introduced him to McCain.”
Whenever anyone brings up the name John McCain state that you just can’t get over the way he treated his first wife and his involvement in The Keating Five or how you can’t imagine how McCain could be totally oblivious to his second wife’s very, very severe drug problem that led her, a millionairess, to steal from a charity.
1. How poorly McCain treated his first wife
2. McCain’s involvment in Keating 5
3. McCain neglecting his wife and his obliviousness to her very, very severe drug problem (that led her to a life of crime)
Stay. On. Message.
Right. I think the whole game here is that The New Yorker target audience doesn’t consist of the 12% of America that thinks Obama is secretly Osama bin Laden’s bunk-mate from terrorist madrassa school.
Compare it to the “Muhammud with a bomb on his head” comic that had Muslims burning the Danish flag in the streets. It’s the same situation. The wingnuts will take everything out of context to fit their distorted world view. It is no surprise that they pass The New Yorker while picking up a copy of The New York Post and conclude that even liberals think Obama burns the American Flag in his bedroom while Terrorist Fist Jabbing his Black Panther wife.
People who have never read the humor(?) of the New Yorker before, probably won’t get the joke any more than people picking up MAD Magazine for the first time will be able to make it from cover to cover without being offended. :-p That’s just the nature of the beast.
Here’s why the cover is wrong, Satire is against the person being satirized, this cover takes on the Obamas. Lost in translation the cartoonist is in love with his idea and “gets” the wrong victim. The “joke” is not on the extreme right wing, nor ill informed (who will see it on TV only) it is on the Democratic Nominee. Henrik Herzberg was yacking this am and defendning the cover, he knows what satire is the New Yorker sold out for some Lira, nothing is sacared anymore. More appropriately all the cover needed was a Weekley Standard Cartoonist showing the cover to his Editor drooling big drools!!!
But mrmobi, I took a completely different message out of that brilliant Colbert performance, and Colbert’s success in general; the American people -do- get satire (check out the # of youtube hits!) they just don’t get exposed to it much. It used to be an American tradition to satirize one’s opponents and enemies. To be perfectly frank, the first moment I knew something was seriously awry in this “war on terror” was when it became apparent that there was no effort to minimize and satirize Bin Laden, but rather an effort to make him into a big scary badman. “Don’t they realize that this will only make him stronger?” I asked my TV, and you know, I think they did know that.
Look, satire and irony are the greatest weapon against tyranny ever devised; why do you think that the TV is mostly devoid of it? Why do you think the only truth we get is from our “humor and satire” hour? It’s because these things don’t work at all without an element of truth.
But, then again, the cover isn’t very funny, so that’s certainly a mark against it. It would have been better in a thought bubble.
John Cole gets it right again: the collective freak-out by the leftist blogosphere is incomprehensible.
The New Yorker magazine cover cuts to the truth of the matter, proving, once again, that a picture is indeed worth a thousand words. Even the elitist liberals of Manhattan are forced to acknowledge that Barry Hussein Obama and Black militant “I’ve never been proud of America” Michele have no business getting anywhere near the White House. A vote for Obama is a vote for surrender to America-hating jihadists.
There’s nothing funny about that folks, no satire in that at all.
But your resentment isn’t relevant here. What’s relevant is that a magazine has published an inflammatory image with no context, to be seen by people who don’t know anything about the backgroud or the “satire” intent of the thing.
Liberals, and everybody else, have a responsibility to be clear and be forthright about their communications, otherwise you get … you know, the politics and government we have now.
The media that shrugs here and says “Oh, it’s just satire” is the same media that slept through the fall of 2002 and the winter of 2003 and didn’t question a war and now wants to act as if it had no responsibility for that war. Their standard reaction is, how dare anyone blame us for anything?
If the cover had a caption that said “Shame on the right’s politics of fear” it would be a whole different story. Here, in reality, there is no caption, and viewers have to make up their own. That is the reason why this is a stupid lapse in judgment.
TNY doesn’t live in a vacuum, or a museum. Its cover is sitting there in grocery stores and airport newsstands to be seen by passers by who know nothing of its style, culture, or meaning. It is just there, alongside the STar and the Enquirer and Road and Track. They will look at that picture for five seconds and make a determination about it. And never know any more about it than that.
That’s why it’s a problem.
Time after time, liberals seem to give the normal American people way too much credit. Most will NOT see this as satire, just another way to justify a reason to not vote for Obama.
Conservatives always play to the basic instincts of the American people and give them no credit for being able to distinguish between satire and the truth. Liberals, on the other hand, think all Americans are actually smart enough to tell the difference and get the “joke”.
All that is needed to see which way is correct is too look at the last two Presidential elections.
Giving Americans credit for being smart is ELITIST, dammit.
Not so — by publishing this cover in this form, they are the folks spreading this garbage. In fact, it is distilled essence of garbage.
This kind of irony and satire are silk hankie affectations in the midst of guerrilla war tank battles.
Humor can be a devastating weapon in this kind struggle, but this lame attempt at snooty liberal humor is counter productive and self defeating.
Kevin Drum nails this, as he often does.
Dennis - SGMM
How many less informed voters read? The problem is that our courageous media, with its well-known gifts for subtlety and nuance, will take this up and run with it as will the Clinton die hards and all of the cretins sending out chain emails.
You could be the most degraded down-and-out wino on skid row and if you held up a cardboard sign saying that Obama gave you a bottle of Muscatel for a blow job you’d be nationwide before the day was out.
It isn’t satire if you simply & lazily reproduce the same things as the presumed target of your satire.
Hence, Jonathan Swift satirized the situation of the Irish poor & hunger-stricken and the lack of English aid to them by suggesting their children be eaten.
Had Swift simply penned an essay of mercantilist philosophy suggesting that at root the Irish population were to be looked at insensitively as economic commodities, well, it wouldn’t have been satire. It would have simply been a precursor to the latest Thomas Sowell or other right-think nutspeak.
First, I’m bummed to even still be talking about this, but here goes …
About Larison’s excerpt here (sorry, don’t have time to read the whole thing): Really? A cartoon will do that? Is Obama really that off-limits?
This oddly reminds me of the dustup over the Mohammad cartoons in Europe. Most non-Muslim Americans never understood the big deal. And rightly so. We’re a secular society. Yet this freakout over the New Yorker reminds me, almost to a T, of exactly that same sort of religious fanaticism.
Only to a very small minority who know what TNY is and what it means. To the averager person, the picture is going to be confusing at best.
The cover does the opposite of “cutting to the truth.” It actually throws sand in the face of truth. The real truth is that it’s a really dumb thing for them to do. If truth were the objective, there would be a caption describing the truth of it. The small number of people who “get” TNY covers without captions are not the issue. The large numbers of people who don’t get that are the issue.
You are making the mistake of thinking that this is about the reaction of a small number of lefties in the blogosphere, just as TNY is making the mistake of thinking that this is about the small number of people who get their covers. It’s about the large number of people who don’t fall into those categories and will make up their minds about this in a few seconds without any background information to do it with.
Voting for Obama requires thought! I’m going with McCain!
Seriously, I’m not exactly in a fainting spell over this, but, as I am far from the first person to point out, I look forward to next week’s New Yorker cover, which I hear will feature an illustration of John McCain in the White House hitting his wife, screaming at an aide and pressing the red button, while in a thought bubble above his head is a flashback of him being tortured by the Vietnamese.
See, because those are the rumors that some ill-informed people are saying about what he’s really like. It’s funny, you see?
That’s running next week, right?
Good. I’m aiming for a 97% irrelevancy rate.
The second graph was meant to be the relevant, or at least less irrelevant bit.
Not many. But they do see the cover at the Barnes and Noble, at the airport bookshop, and the doctor’s office. Taken by itself, which what most people that encounter it will do, it is an image that reinforces the Obama stereotypes, not delfate them.
Also, the “it’s a satire” defense comes off as a more-sophisticated version of “I WAS ONLY JOKING,” and deserves as little respect.
first of all, DIAF, you stupid twat.
second of all “I really didn’t love America”
This will soon be McCain’s to lose. You just cannot win an election with coverage so stacked in favor of one guy. Impossible.
Everyone seems to be focused on the message to the now infamous 12% of the population who think Obama is a Muslim. That’s really beside the point. What this cover does is reopen the culture war–and the opening parry comes from the self-satisfied liberal elite!
I am a reader of TNY. I am native New Yorker. I am a life-long Democrat. But I also live in Texas and my political life depends on getting PAST all this crap that the past 20 years has been based on. Seems like the msm is the player that doesn’t want the culture war to go away.
Honestly, people are genuinely worried about serious problems in this country. Lots of people are actually scared about the economy. So, that’s when you make fun of the right? That’s when you say, “Hey, this is what the latte drinkers think of your fears–the ones that you know are based on rumor, because you’re NOT part of the 12%, but because you are more conservative, less coastal, less likely to listen to Rush but more likely to live next door to someone who does than the average New Yorker reader.”
It is hubris. It’s also fear–fear that if this election really allowed Americans to focus on their similarities instead of their differences, the msm (and its chattering audience–from which I come) would have to both change its tune and perhaps admit its role in the polarization of the country.
I agree that they have the right to put whatever they want on the cover. No censorship. But the fact that they actually don’t give a shit about the ramifications of their choice, well, that makes a liberal (yes, I use the L word) like me mad.
Rick Hertzberg went on MSNBC this morning to defend the piece and there was a telling moment when the anchor showed him the recent Newsweek poll showing absurd levels of people believe Obama attended a madrassa as a child and swore in as senator on the Quran. He expressed dismay and befuddlement that so many people would believe things that are demonstrably untrue.
And this is the problem with the whole decision-making process at the New Yorker over this cover. They sit in their offices in New York City surrounded by the urbane and satirical and think, “Hey, what a great way to show up the right-wing smears.” THEY are the ones who don’t get it. They actually believed they were being clever like Colbert! Instead, the images come off as racist and smear-perpetuating. The whole thing is deeply disappointing.
I’m sure the artist is quite capable of imagining this, but he’s not going to give up satirical cartooning because a lot of Americans are tools. Plus, who actually believes there are people out there with an undefined dislike for Obama that a New Yorker cartoon would crystallize? Get real.
As Brad says:
I agree with John. I know why the Obama camp is decrying this, but I don’t understand the blogger reaction at all.
Nah. Some people just can’t take a joke, and are sense of humor challenged. Especially if it pokes fun at something they cherish, or in this case someone they cherish.
Different dorks respond differently. The Danish cartoons got some turbans all in a twist calling for jihad, this New Yorker cartoon prompted some sternly worded blogs. Piss on them all.
It’s sorta like the zero-tolerance dipshits who call for a kid to be expelled if a water pistol happens to be in their backpack on school grounds. Guess some like zero-tolerance on humor too if it offends their delicate sensibilities, or in this situation they think someone somewhere wouldn’t be as smart as they to get the joke so they get all pissy. Lighten up.
I refuse to join the freakout over the NYT cover. Yes the cover is a lousy piece of would-be satire, and may end up validating the crypto-Muslim smear against Obama with some low information voters. Big freaking deal – anyone that open to suggestion on such a flimsy basis is low hanging fruit for the GOP regardless, and will be reeled in by them one way or the other. A fool and his money (or his vote in this case) are soon parted.
I think this episode may actually rebound to Obama’s benefit because the best way for his campaign to deal with these smears is to take them on out in the open rather than letting them fester in the dark via viral emails and water cooler whispering campaigns. Better to have a lengthy discussion of it in the media, to expose this nonsense to some sunlight. With luck, it will provide Obama with an excuse to sit down with Barbara WaWa or one of those other soft-focus journalists and give a lengthy interview where he can go on at length about his Christian faith, how it has directed his life, etc. It seems like nobody is paying attention to it, but in a quiet way Obama is doing a better job of reaching out to the evangelicals (especially the younger ones) than any Democratic candidate since Jimmy Carter. Don’t be surprised in Nov. if he pulls in twice as many votes from that block as did Kerry or Gore, which might tip the balance in some close states (VA, MO).
Larison and ‘Atrios’ are both wrong. Full stop.
J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford
McCain by the decade:
60’s – POW
70’s – Cruelly abandons infirm wife for millionairess
80’s – Keating Fiver
90’s – Negelected wife and her very, very serious drug problem
00’s – Takes it in the ass from GWB, asks for more, please
Oh, another thing:
No. Anyone dumb enough to believe that a) has never heard of the the New Yorker and b) would never have voted for Obama anyway.
That just about says it all. After all, why would bloggers react to anything? I just can’t figure it out.
Atrios: It represents the basic stuff that you get from the Right about Obama, but it neither mocks nor exaggerates them
So…Atrios thinks it NOT an exaggeration to imagine Obama burning a flag in the oval office, hanging Osama’s portrait in the oval office, wearing Muslim attire in the oval office, or Michelle sporting an AK47 or whatever in the oval office…? Even for retarded right wingers to imagine this is NOT a stretch…?
I’m with you on this one, John. Who the hell wants to live in a world where only the most vulgar, obvious, over the top satire complete with charts, graphs and explanatory text is allowed because we have all followed the right wing to the bottom of the dumbass discourse barrel? Fuck them.
The cover is fine if not great. I think Barry is a total sellout, not to the Islamists but to the American Corporatists, and even I get it.
Americans are so dumb.
That’s the problem. The cover art will be distributed widely and nobody will read the article within which certainly excoriates the right-wingers. Put the cartoon inside with the article, and at least some sense of context is established.
Atrios’s comment reminds me of a GOS diary from a few years ago:
Their Reality Has Lapped Our Satire
The Moar You Know
A true Republican.
That just about says it all. After all, why would bloggers react to anything? I just can’t figure it out.
It seems there’s a lot you can’t figure out.
One more comment before I go figure out why these certs are not working in Xcode.
This one kills.
Alright, shoot straigh you bastards, don’t make a mess of it.
ok… where is this “freak out” ?
i’ve seen a handful of mild poohpoohs here and there, but nobody is screaming. someone help me out..
yes you are tone deaf.
the cover was racist, disgusting, disrespectful and bigoted.
why did they not just draw the obama family as monkeys eating banana in the forest. we all know some right winger think so already. it is SATIRE, after all it the LIBERAL new yorker.
I added a fake tag at the end, “”, but it got clipped.
Thanks for rising to that like a trout to a fly, or in your case, was it more like a sucker?
My take on it was this:
1) The cover is a brilliant parody, but its delivery is the problem – it is too much like a “statement” that would be made by right-wing nuts. I feel a bit bad for the artist – art is tough to get “right”
2) The sad part in our political discourse is that some people don’t get parody, so people react unhappily to many parodies.
This says more about our culture and politics than I’d like.
July 14th, 2008 at 11:09 am
you forget Obama has already been taken wearing that outfit, michelle is already known as the ANGRY BLACK WOMAN and Obama is known not to wear falg pin. this is just the next level
Thymezone needs to get a job in the Thought Control Division of the Bush White House.
Or possibly in the Thought Control Division of the Obama White House.
NON-GOVERNMENT APPROVED TEXT AND IMAGES ARE NOT GOOD FOR THE MIND, COMRADE!
Well, except for that serving in Vietnam part.
No, Atrios thinks that those images are not an exaggeration of what the GOP is saying is true about Obama. And he’s right. Colbert succeeds at satire when he takes the right-wing talking points and amplifies them just beyond the line when 90% of the public would declare “That’s just crazy” and then lets them walk back to the original talking point to realize that it was crazy to begin with.
The New Yorker fails because it actually doesn’t amplify the right-wing talking points. They’ve already declared publicly and widely that he’s unamerican, a muslim, that terrorists support him, that Michelle hates America and white people and that they are unpatriotic. We already take those comments as being crazy, but half the country doesn’t. The cover doesn’t amplify the message enough to make the right wingers recognize that the message is crazy. It simply looks like a visualization of what many of them actually do believe, perhaps amped up a little, but not enough.
I hate to say this, because these are the type of words I never thought I’d be able to utter, but Jonah Goldberg points out what is wrong with cover quite well:
Exactly correct. The image, devoid of the context of who’s publishing it, is not satirical at all. You know it’s satire because it’s being published in the “New Yorker”. If it were published in “National Review” you’d think it was a hit piece. And if it was on the front page of Stormfront’s website it would take on an even darker meaning.
The image itself isn’t really funny, but satire doesn’t have to be funny. Satire does have to have a clear target to be effective and this image doesn’t have one. Or, actually, it DOES have one but given who published it and the attached story the “clear target” appears to have been hit by some “friendly fire” in this case.
Complaining about the cover, whether justified in some ideal moral world or not, accomplishes three things:
1) It pushes against the media. We need to establish the same kind of cringe in the media re attacking our candidate as the right has with comments about theirs.
2) It allows us to say over and over and over how wrong all these comments are and why.
3) It allows us to say that this is the crazy right-wing idea of us, and they’re ka-ra-zee! vicious fear-mongers who prey on the prejudices of the stupid.
So, winners all around–we attack the media, defend our candidate against floating smears that we have a hard time talking about otherwise, and attack the right for exactly what they are.
I don’t see the down-side of this attack. That it’s a bit hysterical and lacking in humor and irony? Well, boo-fucking-hoo.
Actually I think that if this cover can’t tick off more people and make them side with Obama protectively, than it can convince idiots that Obama burns flags and wears turbans, then we don’t DESERVE him as a President and he’s probably better off out of it.
It’s like the man says, we have to be the change, we can’t just elect a jesus surrogate to be good FOR us.
joe in oklahoma
“I guess I just really detest the notion that people’s messages have to be self-censored because some idiot somewhere is going to misinterpret it or misuse it.”
of course it is satire. but it is not the kind of satire that is easily picked up on by as nation that does not get educated to appreciate satire or irony.
Let’s break this down about what the image projects without any context on the front cover. Keeping in mind that a tiny portion of the public will get TNY penchant for cutting satire. And also TZ’s point about the magazine being ever present in public places, grocery store, airports etc..
It shows Obama in Muslim garb in the White House. Not a big jump to the trauma of the death and destruction of 9-11, in other words, Obama dressed as a vicious murderer, hellbent on destroying America. And Michelle depicting to image of a violent 60’s radical, also with a direct link of senseless violence and the destruction of our society.
This is what many people will see, and that will stick in their minds — people who don’t consume in depth news, but usually vote. OK, now imagine the GOP equivalent of say the stereotype of wignut southern racists and the NY’er posting on it’s front page, a drawing, without contex,t of GB or Mccain dressed in white with a pointy hat, burning a cross. But the NY’er has inside the mag a story exploding the myth of all goopers being racist. What would the reaction be?
This is a deeply unfunny cartoon. There’s just no humor there. It’s unfunny.
Out of all the things that could be said in defense of the cartoon, labeling the very people who recognize the cartoon’s stump un-funniness as lacking a sense of humor or irony themselves is just sad.
It’s the kind of thing said by a comedian whose joke falls plainly flat in front of an audience, and chooses to blame the audience.
I’m with you, JC. It’s not as if the New Yorker is the National Enquirer and available at every grocery store checkout…who are all of these supposed people who’ll see the cover and assume it’s correct?
Cripes, Americans love to be offended.
Should Know Better
Although I’m not particularly incensed over the whole thing and ‘think of the
childrenstupid people who won’t get it’ seems like a good way of sucking the intelligence and nuance out of everything, the Atrios quote is dead on.
Come on cleek. You know that liberals are incapable of speaking without being shrill and hysterical. Whereas when fRighties speak out against such outrages as scarves in doughnut ads they do so in firm, deep, manly tones.
BTW, there are nutcases on No Quarter arguing that Obama got the New Yorker to use that cover so that
1. People on teevee would talk about how the smears are not true (but of coure the NQ-ers think they are true).
2. People might go out and buy the NYer and then they’d find an article about Obama in it that doesn’t talk about Obama’s experiences in Chicago around the lens of his relationships with Wright, Ayers and Rezko.
I’m not sure its tone deafness. I think its the struggle against common sense. Basically, anyone with a lick of common sense would realize the cover is satire.
But when you’ve got this dollop of fat and self-pity nestled into a la-ze-boy surrounded by poodle figurines sputtering between, chins “Well, I’m worried what he’ll do cuz he’s a muslim”. Common sense flies completely out the window.
I’d also like to point out that if we don’t self-censor, then you have Michelle Malkin putting up names and phone numbers and whining about how she wishes the problem would be “dealt with”. I guess it also goes back to the “The water pump tastes like strawberries when its 20 below out. Give it a lick”
I agree with the idea as a comic inside the magazine, it would be comic gold. As a cover, where people who will never read the New Yorker will see it day after day, its probably bad publicity.
I’m sure my point has been made upthread, and I’m sure you’ve addressed it. But I really wanted to say “dollop of fat and self pity”
When I first saw the comic, I wasn’t sure what to think other than “well, there goes the blog cycle.”
Ahm, anyone who watches cable news today? I mean, this is not rocket science folks. Watch the cable news shows this evening, if you can bear the piles of stupid.
Yes, yes, obviously the point of the New Yorker cover is to satirize the wingnut characterization of the Obamas. Rather, it’s obvious to you and me, but that’s not the problem. I used to have a habit of trying to create sardonic humor by saying outrageous things on the presumption that the people listening knew me well enough to know that I was mocking people who would say such things. Alas, I learned to my sorrow that people didn’t necessarily get that right away, and even if they did, they often didn’t like it anyway.
The “controversy” over the cover is going to be a perfect excuse for Fox News and CNN to display it 24 hours a day for two weeks, not to New Yorker subscribers but to tens of millions of people who will not get the double layer of irony, accompanied by a panel stacked heavily with wingnuts who will — surprise! — fail to correctly construe that it is a devastating satire of them and who will make endless remarks to the effect that, regrettably, the American people still feel that they don’t really know Obama and they aren’t convinced of his loyalty or his resoluteness in confronting America’s dangerous enemies, and here we have an illustration of how these doubts and concerns are out there, oh tut tut it’s certainly offensive but yadda yadda yadda.
Profound, inexcusable error in judgment.
I agree this satire is poorly constructed.
I also agree that TNY is in the business of making money and I can see a whole lot of RWer types running out to buy a copy, take a pair of scissors to the cover, hang it up on the office wall or fridge and throw away the rest of the magazine without reading a single word. TNY just found a way to make money off the enemy, and never has to take any responsibility for how it affects our elections or the political landscape of this country.
I’m waiting for the New Yorker to publish a cover with McCain in a wheelchair barking (“wake up, you [email protected]#$%^&g trollop!) at Cindy who’s passed out on a couch, overdosed on her NGO supplied narcotics.
They need an excuse? Since when?
Anyone who sees this cover and says “I knew I didn’t like him for a reason!”…well, they weren’t likely to vote for Obama anyways.
I thought it was hilarious. Then again, I also knew Swift didn’t actually want us to eat Ireland’s babies.
Oh. Yeah. I knew that too.
What percentage of the population regularly watches cable news?
If this does go through a news cycle and the talking points are, “Wow, look at these smears! Aren’t they crazy”
I would be 1) overjoyed and 2) wrong about how this is going to be taken.
Both could happen and have.
Far too great a percentage, unfortunately.
The point is that suggesting something like this is trivial because nobody reads The New Yorker (or, those who do will get the satire) completely neglects the role that the MSM-echo chamber plays. I don’t think that role is something that can just be dismissed out of hand. It was discussed on Good Morning America today, for Chrissakes.
The best part of this has been Malkin telling Obama to “grow a pair.” This from the same woman who gets her panties in a knot anytime anyone mentions that she is Asian or chastises her for harassing a 12-year-old boy.
True enough, and it could happen here.
But it absolutely would have happened if TNY had put a caption on the cover. Something like “The Politics of Smear and Fear.”
That simple gesture would have fixed the problem and changed this event into something else entirely, maybe a sedate discussion of the politics of smear and fear.
Without the caption, and given TNY’s cult audience, it’s a whole different horse of a different ball of wax stripe.
Why would they leave off the caption? Supply your own answer, I think folks can figure out what mine is, and what their own is.
Ah, in other words you don’t know. I’d say, based on a scan of various ratings sheets, it’s less than one percent.
And that’s for prime time. Daytime, probably not a third of that.
So the real problem here is The New Yorker’s inability to detect when it will be the victim of free publicity? Give me a freak’n break.
Find me a SINGLE major news outlet –NBC, CBS, CNN, etc. that does not run with this story. If you can find just 1, I’ll buy you a drink.
Otherwise, millions and millions will see this…on their TV.
Outrage —> curiosity —-> increased sales —> Mo’ MONEY
No, the problem is lack of context.
Content is King – Context is Emperor.
So the jake-face consensus is that on balance, the more material like this we have out there in the next 100 days, the better?
In other words, this is a plus for Obama and Democrats?
If that isn’t what you are saying, can you correct my impression? For example, would you suggest that even wider distribution of the cartoon … say, by paying for its appearance on tv, putting it on billboards, buying inches for it in other publications …. would be a smart Obama campaign move? How about putting in on placards designed to be signs placed around polling places? Would that be a good idea?
I would like to know more about your views. Do you have a newsletter I can subscribe to?
Bu-but, no one could have possibly foreseen that everyone in the entire world wouldn’t get the joke! An-an-and it would’ve been mean an elitist to post a caption because that would imply some people are too dumb to get the joke.
Is it too late to add “Just joking,” to the list of verboten political phrases? Or at least force people who use it as a defense to wear a shirt that says “Hello, I’m a giant puss.”
At least he didn’t say ‘n#gger’
Old people + slurs = disaster
That’s probably the simplest solution I’ve seen. Not very arty, but simple and direct. I realize I’m writing off the AssClowns that can’t read, but that’s the latte-sipping elitist liberal in me.
I did like the idea of the balloon coming out of Rush’s head or something, too.
I don’t think NY had any ill-intent. I’ve been guilty myself in the past of showing a comic to someone and they say, “Well, aside from the fact your hand is unsteady, WHY DO YOU HATE THE JOOOOS?”
But that’s what editorial boards are for.
And any real concern for the effects of the thing on the electorate, or the election?
How high on the list of their priorities do you think that would be?
What’s the purpose of satire? Truth? Okay, what is the truth about TNY’s behavior here? Noble? Or profit?
Will the thing be a plus, or minus, for the purveyors of the fear?
How will we know? More interestingly to me, how would the TNY editors know?
Absolutely. I’m somewhat astonished that more people don’t get this.
What percentage of people who see it at the grocery store do you think will “get the joke?”
If “getting” the joke is not the issue here, then what is?
Your snarky cycnism? That’s what your point is, right jake? Your erudite sneer at any possible outrage?
I don’t think the national press had the intention of getting us into the worst administration and the most useless and ill advised war in our history just for kicks, either.
But sleeping through the thing is what they did. Poke them now and see how eager they are to take responsibility for that. See their contrition, and see them demonstrate their eagerness to right the wrong and correct the mistake.
Compare and contrast to TNY. “It’s only satire, everybody knows our covers are tongue in cheek.”
Really? Define everybody? The
off subject, Anyone seen any butterflies where you live? I noticed the other day, I haven’t seen one this year. I did a google search Where are the butterflies? And I found out that I’m the only one who has noticed. People in Pennsylvania, Texas, Iowa, all over are wondering what’s up with the butterfiles. Normally I would have a lot in my garden, but so far none. I read an article that insect are cyclical, but I wouldn’t think that cyclical would mean non-existant. Just wondering.
Slim to none. Further, the problem is that the MSM won’t present it as a joke or focus on the satire. They’re simply going to focus on the response to it, in the form of the Obama campaign, etc. No context will be added.
I agree with whomever suggested it would be great if the MSM would cover this as “Geez, how about those crazy smears?”, I just don’t see that as the likely outcome.
Well, then we share a common reaction, because I am somewhat astonished that you don’t get this.
Buy a copy of the mag and show the cover to the first 100 people you see on the street and ask them what they they think it means. Tell us what you find out.
It will be an interesting experiment. But here’s the beauty part: It’s the same experiment that TNY is doing.
But they could have had a much more effective bash at the thing they say they are satiring, just by putting a caption on the cover.
So, why didn’t they? Why omit the caption?
I’m of the opinion that this isn’t a parody as much as it is a faithful restatement of Repub talking points. Martin summarizes the problem well:
Colbert is an apt comparison because, as Martin points out, he exaggerates the rhetoric of the right wing to the point that inherent errors in their arguments become glaringly obvious. The New Yorker cover is only a parody to a select audience and as such falls flat as parody, and simply panders to insiders.
Kevin Drum is right, no guts = no satire.
Few. Very few.
Cardinal rule of advertising: Your audience is much less savvy than you think.
A big mistake my agency made in our infancy was coming up with stuff that was too clever. We finally realized that most people just didn’t get it, so we dumbed things down. And we became far more successful for it.
A person can be smart. People are stupid.
Lessons from the left that we have gained from this episode (yes, I’m on the left too):
– Satire is or is not satire depending on how the audience reads it. Authorial intent is meaningless.
– Before running anything, a publication should consider the possible misinterpretations/bad faith use of proposed cartoon/article/photo. If any such possibility exists for misuse, the publication should reconsider (and, btw, just close up shop while they’re at it)
– Lowest common denominator reactions should be foremost in the minds of publishers, who should assume that their audience is completely idiotic, no matter the publication, and edit accordingly
– The right wing needs “excuses” from the left to peddle bullshit. If the media and/or the left were not giving them said “excuses,” they would probably just be quiet and/or tell the truth at all times.
– Those who would never vote for a certain candidate in the first place should be considered above all in any messages
And when confronted by the media, they will feign bewilderment at all the controversy, because after all they support Obama and the inside story proves it. Perfect sting with plausible deniability, whilst they count the extra cash.
Also chickenshit exploitation.
Because controversy sells. This has been pointed out repeatedly.
Also, a caption is not needed – only the context. While it would have been one way to establish the proper context it also could have been visually established, which would have been more effective.
Others have mentioned the thought bubble or the speech balloon. My version would have had an elephant with a “GOP” button painting this ‘picture’ on a canvas.
“Butterflies” is slang for white Southerners who support Obama, right?
I just want to say, that Unanswered Questions fellow is really smart, good looking, and on target. And a Hail Fellow Well Met, too. A gentleman’s gentleman.
Of course, my reaction to that poster is just satire, and everybody knows, I am all about satire.
Do you have me confused with the other “jake”? Because my impression is that we’re viewing this in roughly the same way.
To put it succinctly: I don’t think this is a good thing for the Obama campaign.
As for the caption, I agree with the general notion that it would have diffused any controversy, which yes, would have resulted in less attention, issues being sold, etc.
Speaking of Rush (yeah, I obsess about Rush; my brother is a dittohead), what do you bet he:
a) Cooks up something even worse and says “it was the libruls’ idea!” (see: “Barack the Magic Negro”)
b) Says “the libruls want to censor the New Yorker!”
The satirical target of the TNR cover was explicitly Hillary, not Hillary-haters. The satirical target of the New Yorker cover is implicitly Obama-haters, not Obama. But the satirical target of the New Yorker cover could equally be explicitly Obama, not Obama-haters.
LIL Q: I’ve been seeing butterflies, but maybe not as many as usual. We had an unusually wet and cool spring this year, though, so there may be more later. You should be more concerned about honeybees at the moment. I haven’t seen a single honeybee yet this year, although I have seen a few bumblebees.
You are all jakes to me.
jk. I might be, I don’t know. If so, sorry.
It is, if the thing is not identifiable as satire to someone who isn’t already in on the joke.
That’s the entire point. National politics is all about rather quick summing up of visceral impressions by people not paying all that much attention. Even the TNY editors should be able to understand that.
Or, maybe not.
In any case, they had a chance to strike a real blow against the politics of smear, and they pretty much blew it. Not only because they made the least effective choice, but because the most effective one would have been so easy and cost them nothing. It might even have gotten them more readers for the issue.
i’ve seen a few. seems like there are fewer than before, but maybe i’m just not looking.
It is, if the thing is not identifiable as satire to someone who isn’t already in on the joke.
TNY readership is in on the joke.
National politics is all about rather quick summing up of visceral impressions by people not paying all that much attention.
And all publications should just get in line and produce nothing but quick summaries of visceral impressions by people not paying all that much attention, or at least content that caters to such a shallow disposition? No thanks.
In any case, they had a chance to strike a real blow against the politics of smear…
John, you may not be tone-deaf. I certainly was “um…what?” when I saw the cover, but, as 538 points out, the cover is more ironic than anything else.
It didn’t strike me as funny, but also not really scandalous in any type of way.
So, I don’t know if I “should” be upset. One thing about the left, to the extent you are a democrat/lefty now (and since those are two different things, they may not co-exist at all in you. You may be the ultimate in “the other party SUCKS SO MUCH, I’m with the less evil party”), but one of the things I recommend to CONTINUE HATING – on the left and the right – is the outrage machines – be it outrage over flag pins, outrages over Norwegian cartoons, outrage over being “insensitivity”, etc.
The other thing is, the DISCUSSION of this in the MSM is getting funny – in the Politico
“An Afro and an AK-47”. This was ACTUALLY ASKED by an NBC reporter.
That’s an insane question – and kinda funny.
Are you not aware of all Internet outrage traditions?
I am outraged sir, at your lack of outrage! It is outrageous! Consider yourself out of rage until further notice.
Whether or not the image is properly a)funny b)satirical c)profitable, is anyone really surprised at the reaction of blogosphere?
I mean, forgive me for being a little gun-shy at possible repercussions. The country voted for GWB at least once. After he had one term in office.
….the National Review would have meant it!
Isn’t that what makes it satire for the New Yorker to publish it.
And finally, if someone has not previously thought BOH is Muslim, would this magazine cover plant the seed of doubt? i think not.
Defending the NYer cover as obvious “satire” is making a fatuous claim, because satire is never universal and therefore never obvious.
Remember, there’s a part of the world out there where what passes for humor is Dennis Miller and Mallard Fillmore.
but it does encourage the insane
Unfortunately, this is the New Yorkers view of the world, which is why this is a bad cover.
For the record, I’m not worried about it, but to my eye the NYer still fucked up on this one.
You’re not tone deaf, you’re right. the idea that this could reinforce ideas alredy feared – in a way that changed a voter’s mind, the only way that matters – is beyond ludicrous. The New Yorker is just as hated as the NYT, if less well known, by RWers. Someone who has been fed rumors, upon seeing the cover, are more likely to see how silly it is. that’s why it’s so effective. those things only work as rumors; shine light on them and they die.
I hate the owrld today. More than a few people, older, seemingly smart people, at DKos have announced that they have canceled their subscriptions. God. Barry Blitt is one of the good guys.
I hate everybody.
but it does encourage the insane
Have a look at those WND poll numbers, folks:
72% of WND poll respondents believe that the cover at least somewhat accurately depicts the Obamas.
However, they would have voted for him if this New Yorker hadn’t come along and “given them an excuse” and “planted seeds of doubt.” Dammit New Yorker, how could you lead all these potential Democratic voters astray with your careless satire?!
Part of the problem is that sarcasm, satire and the like is lost on a significant portion of otherwise intelligent people. I don’t know if it’s a form of innocence or just a lack of the deep, ground-in cynicism bred into most of us Gen-Xers, but there is a segment of the population that will never question that when someone says (or in this case, draws) something, they mean it more or less literally. And these people are now appalled that the New Yorker is spewing right-wing talking points.
Add to that, blatant caricatures of minorities put many of us in mind of times that were even less enlightened than our own, making us somewhat uncomfortable. Particularly when blown up to magazine-cover proportions.
And frankly, when you get right down to it, the satire just isn’t clever enough to make up for the ick factor.
Part of the problem is that sarcasm, satire and the like is lost on a significant portion of otherwise intelligent people.
It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.
At the risk of talking to what appears to be a dead horse, uh, this controversy is about the other 99% of the people who are not TNY readers.
If you don’t get that …. why are you posting here? THAT IS THE ENTIRE POINT.
Yo media hard at werk
That’s not really the dynamic.
Swiftboating seeks to do two things:
1) sew ‘informative’ doubts about a candidate that people instinctively oppose. The NoQuarter people won’t admit that they hate Obama because he is black (even though that’s exactly why for many of them) so they roll out Ayers or Rezko as ‘facts’ to cover for themselves. That happens early on, though. That’s 2007 and early 2008. Doesn’t really work now – Obama is a bit too well known.
2) to shore up turnout for a weak opposition candidate. Lots of conservatives don’t like McCain and so they are more likely to stay home in November. However, if Obama is a terrorist, they’ll make a point to go out and vote even if they don’t like McCain. At this point, the smears are a turnout tool. That’s why it’s shifting to “he wants to lose in Iraq” from “he’s unamerican”. The GOP is upping the stakes for the voter – in ways that will have some real meaning to them.
The NYer cover actually plays pretty well into that latter approach by giving the visual of them as terrorists in the White House itself (assuming you are unable to see such assertions as absurd). It makes it a bit less theoretical to those that lack the imagination to paint that picture in their minds. A LOT of people fall in that category. Modern marketing is largely centered around painting those pictures for consumers.
All right John, enough of this bullshit. You bring Darrell back and you do it now. No one came close to deliberately misunderstanding simple statements.
You hear me NUQ? No. One.
CNN airs basically this account:
Blah blah blah it makes him look suspicious. Blah blah blah TNY is known for its satire so nobody will be affected.
But, blublah blublah blublah, it will sure sell magazines!
David Remnick sums it all up: “I think you underestimate the intelligence of the American people.”
Heh. He said it, write to him.
Listening to Remnick, my gut feeling is that he is a complete idiot. But hey, I thought people who voted for George Bush were complete idiots too. What do I know?
Funny. So, did you want to answer the questions, or just stamp your feet?
If this thread is not about “getting the joke,” then what is it about? Who gets it, and who doesn’t?
Obviously, you are the person who wrote Darrell. At least now we know who it was.
It’s all very Archie Bunker, isn’t it? The creators of All in the Family thought they were making an obvious satire, and then were shocked, shocked to find that plenty of people laughed with Archie, not at him.
At the risk of talking to what appears to be a dead horse, uh, this controversy is about the other 99% of the people who are not TNY readers.
I’m a mantis, not a horse, and this “controversy” is manufactured by nincompoops. My point is that a) TNY writes for its readers, not the people who don’t read the magazine (is that so hard to grasp?), b) the people who don’t read TNY will not be swayed one way or the other by it. Got it? To say that this will have some impact is to grossly misunderstand the American public and the dynamics of presidential elections.
If you don’t get that …. why are you posting here? THAT IS THE ENTIRE POINT.
I post here because I like the bloggers, and many of the commenters, and this is an ideal place to rail, however futilely, against teh stupid, in all its forms. If you do believe that this TNY cover will have a significant impact (or any impact, for that matter) on this election, I would ask why are you posting here? Someplace with a little less realistic thinking ppm (GOS, perhaps?) would better suit you, IMO.
I’ve only had a couple of honeybees in my garden this summer, and I’ve got plenty of bee-attracting flowers. Few bumblebees either. Last year I had lots.
Nobody knows where our Hummingbirds have gone this year. Usually. the sky is full of them. I put out two feeders full of juicy sugar water and only a couple have come by. Combined with the loss of butterflies and bees and other small critters, it portends nothing good.
Yep, definitely tone deaf.
For example, the morons at NoQuarter love it. Why? Because they hate Obama and want him to lose. These are the guys that keep peddling the phony birth certificate story, the “whitey” story, and anything else they think will hurt Obama.
They don’t like it because it holds up the characteristics depicted to ridicule or scorn or discredits them through irony or sarcasm. They like it because they half believe it and they know it will be used to damage Obama’s campaign. They think it holds the Obamas up to ridicule and scorn.
Republicans make bizarre and dishonest claims all the time. Just because the claims are absurd doesn’t mean they don’t work (think Swift Boat). This cover is little more than a simple restatement of Right Wing talking points. That’s not satire. I imagine McCain, whose idiocy is more apparent with each passing day and every time he opens his mouth, would like to thank “my friends” at The New Yorker for the help.
It’s my job.
I don’t agree with John’s answer to that question. I think the commentariat is split, not necessarily evenly, on that point.
The fact that something is “the point” of a thing, like the cover, doesn’t make the thing, like the cover, a good idea, or effective, or smart, or honest, or a good exemplar of the thing being represented, or a good idea. Maybe he is right about what “the point” was, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a shitty and stupid thing to do , and that it could have been made into a better thing very simply and easily, and that 99% of the people out there will have no idea what the point was, and won’t get it.
If this episode has proven anything, it’s that Liberals DO have, and believe in, a Deity. And if you should poke fun… well, I hope Mr Blitt’s family can survive off his life insurance proceeds. Given that MUPpets are as seemingly unhinged as the “Allahu Akhbar!” crowd, it just isn’t safe out there for an Obamfadel.
There was an easy, easy fix for this: take the exact same image, and put it in a thought balloon coming out of some rabid, vapid rightwinger’s meth-addled brain. Doing this would have included some kind of message that this image is a ridiculous fantasy and there, no controversy, no harm, no foul.
My work here is done.
I can’t find that it can be shown to have “proven” anything, and if it were to do so, that might take some time to sort out.
Yeah, yeah. Flattery will get you nowhere, toots.
Well, I thought it was smart, effective, honest, and a good exemplar of the thing being represented. As John says,
With this cover, the New Yorker is saying “This is the nonsense these jackass smear artists are spreading virally all the time- look how stupid and absurd it is.”
Yep, that’s what I thought when I saw it. And I thought the Cleopatra Jones part was particularly funny.
Yeah, if only TNY had ditched the cartoon thing and just printed in big, bold, Times New Roman “Republicans lie about Obama” that would have been real clever and effective. Sorry, I get enough bumper stickers during my commute.
It’s my job.
This is your job? Christ, you must be starving!
The phenomenon of the self-hating liberal emerges.
Wow, not only was I beaten to my point, but twice in the first five replies. me = pwnt.
Fixed for accuracy.
Precisely so. That’s all it would have taken.
–Parentheses in your blurb, mine.
No, a simple caption or visual cue would be enough, as has been stated here numerous times. But go ahead and spend your time mocking some stupid idea that nobody has proposed, as if that supports your point.
I eat caviar for breakfast every day. The most expensive Beluga and Sevruga products. Hundred bucks an ounce when purchased in bulk. I also feed it to my cat.
Just heard Lizza on Hardball defending the cover for his story. Claims there was absolutely NO attempt to gain recognition showing the Obama’s dressed as terrorists. Yuckity yuck.
Hey, where the eff is Karl Rove these days, anyway? They could have killed two birds with one freakin stone!
Well, if this doesn’t prove that the mainstream media is in the tank for McCane and the Rs, then nothing does.
Smoking gun, IMO. We’re offically battling the AP now, it would appear.
No, a simple caption or visual cue would be enough, as has been stated here numerous times.
There is a visual cue. Many of them, in fact. But interesting stylistic advice, nonetheless. Let’s go ahead and apply it to some other historical examples. I’ll start:
Ben Franklin’s Join or Die in the Pennsylvania Gazette would have been much better if he had included a caption that indicated the colonies were not, in fact, parts of a snake.
Anyone who knows TNY will recognize the satirical style.
The thread, IMO, is about other people, who won’t. And secondarily, what the effect of the thing will be.
Let’s suppose, for the sake of argument, that the net effect is zero, it’s a push. In that case, what purpose does it serve to put a picture that depicts Michelle Obama as Angela Davis with a gun on the front of the magazine rack at Safeway?
Perhaps you think it serves a useful purpose. I think it’s a shitty and cynical device to sell magazines and that it can upset and confuse people for no good reason.
On that we seem to disagree, and so be it.
It is so obvious how they could have made this satirical cover perfect. All it would take is one simple change. The title of the magazine should read:
The New Yorker Republic
good one, itchy.
oh, noes. some people are upset and confused.
AND for no good reason.
please, herb, you can do better than that.
Too bad that we can’t say the same about you.
Mr. Cole, I know you have not been a liberal for very long and your sincere attempts to let liberals beat you over the head until you submit to their way of thinking is touching if misguided, but I think this is actually one issue that even conservatives can agree with liberals on. Satire should be avoided at all costs. Saying the opposite of what you mean is just not funny and if anyone is going to attempt satire it should be clearly labeled as such.
What he said.
If the New Yorker is racist, what hope is there for the rest of us?
I don’t speak this crazy moon language. I suppose “Obamfadel” should be “Obamfidel”, though it’s still a sloppy portmanteau… but what on earth is a “MUPpet”?
Stuart Eugene Thiel
Y’know, all this commentary supports the RW talking point that all liberals care about is censorship in the pursuit of political correctness. That could well do more lasting damage to The Cause than the [probably minimal damage by the] cartoon itself.