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Did The New Yorker Go Too Far (or not far enough)?

BY TAYLOR MARSH
–updated–

What’s missing is Sean Hannity placing the flag into the fireplace.


Is the appreciation for political satire dead? Judging by the initial outrage over this cover, I’d say if it’s not dead it’s taking its last
breath. For those of you who hated the Bernie Mac brouhaha, this one is going to send you reeling. But at least we know what will leading “Morning Joe.” Ryan Lizza
can only hope his
article
gets one-third the coverage.

This is the way the Republicans will play it come the fall.

Every wingnut stereotype is featured. American flag burning. Check. Osama hanging over the hearth. Check. Every Barack Obama myth manufactured.
So if it isn’t satire what is it? Bad satire? The
artist responds
:


“I think the idea that the Obamas are branded as unpatriotic [let alone
as terrorists] in certain sectors is preposterous. It seemed to me that
depicting the concept would show it as the fear-mongering ridiculousness
that it is.

And in retrospect, given the outcry, is he glad he made the art?

“Retrospect? Outcry?” he wrote. “The magazine just came
out ten minutes ago, at least give me a few days to decide whether to regret
it or not…”

The Obama blogs are just now weighing in and it’s not with compliments.

But what would we do if a similar feature of Hillary and Bill was depicted, with their mythological wingnut nightmares drawn for all to digest? Oh right, we had the ’90s. We also had the 2008 primaries:

via BagNewsNotes
cover story by Wayne Barrett
Hillary should instead be shown with hordes tearing at her as she fights them off, bruised but refusing to be stopped, which is exactly what happened in the primaries.


Obama’s team responded quickly to the cover:


“The New Yorker may think, as one of their staff explained to us, that
their cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Senator Obama’s right-wing
critics have tried to create. But most readers will see it as tasteless and
offensive. And we agree.” – Bill Burton (via email from the campaign)

The only way to combat a myth is to broaden it, hype it, make a satirical target
out of it. The cover of The New Yorker does just that, but does it make the further statement? Does it go far enough, instead of simply repeating the smears in another form? Where’s the slap at the smear artists, which is obviously who the artist is mocking? The Hillary image has the same problem. It doesn’t depict the fighter rising from the battle. Is simply repeating wingnut talking points enough or does that provide more fuel for the smears instead of mocking them?

If my email inbox
is any indication, die hard Obama supporters as well as other Democrats so far aren’t seeing the humor or the message aimed at the right.

Another way to look at it is to ask whether John McCain would get a dose of this from The New Yorker. Picture a drawing showing a very old man in a wheelchair, his hospital gown adorned with medals… babe of a wife pushing him, as his first wife wipes drool off of McCain’s mouth… while Cindy McCain stops to open packages from Chanel. No, I didn’t think so either.

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.... a writer is someone who takes the universal whore of language
and turns her into a virgin again.  ~ erica jong