Monday, July 14, 2008

New Yorker Forgets What Satire Means

Regarding the cover of the New Yorker Magazine, in which Obama terrorist jabs/fist bumps his wife, while dressed in evil Islamic garb, this writer finds that the joke is on...well everybody.

Writer David Remnick, responding to an email from a Huffington post reporter, had this to say:

"Remnick responded by email: "Obviously I wouldn't have run a cover just to get attention — I ran the cover because I thought it had something to say. What I think it does is hold up a mirror to the prejudice and dark imaginings about Barack Obama's — both Obamas' — past, and their politics. I can't speak for anyone else's interpretations, all I can say is that it combines a number of images that have been propagated, not by everyone on the right but by some, about Obama's supposed 'lack of patriotism' or his being 'soft on terrorism' or the idiotic notion that somehow Michelle Obama is the second coming of the Weathermen or most violent Black Panthers. That somehow all this is going to come to the Oval Office.""

It's all a big joke! Can't you see that? Says the New Yorker.

Well, I have news for you...satire is only funny if the person gets the joke. If not, its usually rude, offensive, and inane. For instance, though wikipedia is not the cast iron source that it should be, it has this to say in it's definition of satire:

"A very common, almost defining feature of satire is its strong vein of irony or sarcasm, but parody, burlesque, exaggeration, juxtaposition, comparison, analogy, and double entendre are all frequently used in satirical speech and writing. The essential point, however, is that "in satire, irony is militant"[2]. This "militant irony" (or sarcasm) often professes to approve the very things the satirist actually wishes to attack." (bold/italics added)

So there you go. Satire, or militant irony/sarcasm, is a literal attack on something that ISN'T SUPPOSED TO BE TAKEN LITERALLY.

Well, how is someone supposed to know that? Taken out of context, or by a reader/viewer who doesn't automatically assume the New Yorker has such a sharp wit, this cartoon does seem to be an attack on Obama. It's a blatant attack, in fact. Because, usually, when the New Yorker posts such a cartoon, it is actually making fun of the people portrayed. So, how is someone supposed to know when the New Yorker is being sarcastic, facetious, or downright obnoxious?

Oh, you don't really it's a joke? Well, geez, where is your sense of humor?

Please. Whoever decided to run that cartoon, ON THE FRONT COVER NO LESS, is an arrogant heavy handed moron who should get out of the office more.

It's disgusting, it's distasteful, and most of all...I bet it's something that Fox News wishes it had thought of first. And that is pretty much the worst insult there is.

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At 9:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your cartoon of Barack and Michelle reminded me why I dropped my subscription to the New Yorker --- ten years ago !

- arrogance
- pseudo-sophistication
- poor judgment

At 5:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great blog post! I was nearly climbing the walls yesterday every time the news ran the interviews with the New Yorker Staff, who all looked so smug and self-satisfied. They all think the rest of us are stupid for being repulsed by their cover, but they also don't seem to understand that this could be a campaign poster for the Right-Wingers. My advice to the cartoonist is: satire and lies are not the same thing. Sometimes lies are just propaganda, and that's what this cover is now. This was such a bad editorial decision that it's almost unbelievable.


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