Goes to Jon Swift:
I don’t even understand the point of satire. If the editors of the New Yorker actually believe that Barack Obama is not a Muslim, Michelle Obama is not a dangerous revolutionary and that they do not actually burn American flags, as Remnick now claims, couldn’t they have just said that? Wouldn’t it have been simpler and clearer to run the illustration with a big X over it so that we knew what they were trying to say? We are not mind readers. It doesn’t make much sense to say the opposite of what you mean and then attack people for being unsophisticated because they thought you were sincere. Do New Yorkers always say the opposite of what they mean and then expect you to understand? Real Americans, I think, prefer straight talkers, like John McCain, who means what he says when he tells us that he doesn’t know very much about economics, can’t figure out how to use a computer and believes that we will be in Iraq for 100 years.
Satire, I believe, is supposed to be funny, though I don’t see how being dishonest is humorous. I think it’s just sad. If the New Yorker wanted to run a humorous cover that showed Obama is not a Muslim, they could have accomplished that goal by depicting him slipping on a banana peal on the way to church. That would have made the same point and it would also have had the virtue of being funny.***
The illustration might also have been acceptable if the New Yorker ran it on the inside of the magazine where people who are sensitive to mockery would not have run across it casually on a newsstand. Or they might also have enclosed this issue in a brown paper bag the way pornographic magazines sometimes are to keep it away from the eyes of children and people with heart trouble (how many children have been traumatized for life and how many deaths this cover has caused will only be known in the coming weeks). While the cover may have met the community standards of a place like New York where people apparently don’t mean what they say, there are some parts of the country where satire is just not acceptable in public.
I was laughing out loud.