Monday, July 14, 2008

A publication hanging out on the street corner


This was my letter to the editor of The New Yorker a few moments ago:

In regards to your cartoonist Barry Blitt's caricature of Senator Obama and his wife Michelle:

While I understand that political satire, especially cartoons, has been a tradition for hundreds of years, this caricature crosses the line from satire into bad taste. At a time when the entire world lives in fear of another terrorist attack, and at a time when the Senator is attempting to unite our country in order to work together and solve our problems, to prey upon these fears and lies about the Senator and his wife is distasteful at best, and inflammatory at worst.

How interesting to realize that The New Yorker is in bed with FoxNews! I never would have suspected.

Beth R.

South Bend, Indiana

Honestly, this is just disgusting. The editor has said that it is nothing but satire, but to picture Obama in Muslim attire, and even worse, picture Michelle holding a machine gun while standing in the Oval Office, burning the flag in the fireplace, a portrait of bin Laden overlooking it all...? Are you kidding me?! Satire, my ass. This is nothing more than yellow journalism, and while I rarely read The New Yorker, I've always thought they were a well-written and thoughtful magazine. This is sensationalistic and exploitative, and it is tabloid journalism in very poor disguise. The magazine will get plenty of press about this, and I hope they choke on their ill-gotten gains as a publicity whore.

An almost immediate update:

I got an automatic response to my Letter to the Editor, so I would guess that they are being inundated with emails about this.

About this week’s issue: Our cover, “The Politics of Fear,” combines a number of fantastical images about the Obamas and shows them for the obvious distortions they are.  The burning flag, the nationalist-radical and Islamic outfits, the fist-bump, the portrait on the wall—all of them echo one attack or another. Satire is part of what we do, and it is meant to bring things out into the open, to hold up a mirror to prejudice, the hateful, and the absurd. And that's the spirit of this cover.

Sorry, I don't buy it. There's a big difference between tasteful satire and inflammatory satire, and this is the latter. Lame excuse NOT accepted.


mereel2005 said...

As I said before, I am not a Obama supporter, I would indeed agree this crossed the line. It is disgusting. This goes beyond satire; it is hateful. And all it does is create more hate.

buckoclown said...

Tragic to have such a cover published.  I believe they definetly crossed the line.

frankandmary said...

I love satirical expressions of Freedom of choice, speech, etc.  I don't feel that cover was one of them. Intelligent consideration @ The New Yorker took leave. Gee, it will be just seething with rebels at the White House; run for your lives!  How can that be funny or helpful? When I first saw it I thought: Did Hillary draw that?  ~Mary

chat2missie said...

Although I am not an Obama supporter, I do believe this cartoon crossed the line.  

strzee said...

I was shocked to see this image, I can't believe the New Yorker did that, the worst thing about it is others will use it attack Obama.

dpoem said...

At first I was kind of put-off by this image on the cover of The New Yorker.  I know it's satire, and I can see what the artist's intentions were, and I seriously doubt he meant much harm, but I agree with you.  It was very poorly executed.

The thing is, how does one go about creating an image such as this that can convey the absurdities and untruths leveled at the Obama campaign without being offensive, or without offending those you don't want to offend?  

Unfortunately, this satire was targeted at those who believe the silliness that's portrayed in the image; however, the artist kind of didn't stop to think that "Hey!  Those people who push this notion that Obama is a Muslim probably aren't the kinds of people who can read anything, including the New Yorker."  

Satire sometimes misses, though, and in this day and age of malicious political attacks from just about every angle, I think it's almost impossible to tell what's satire and what's yet another untrue accusation designed to sully a candidate's reputation.

Anyway, great post.  And, though I don't fully share your outrage, I can easily see where you're coming from.  But, instead of anger, I'm just more disappointed in the New Yorker for printing something of such poor taste.  Someone somewhere on their editorial staff could have used better judgment.


krmprm said...

My first response was also outrage.  I felt that this was a personal assault
with more repercussions than a cariacature of an aged McCain.  However, it
is publically exposing what has been an almost secretive assault of stories
and innuendos.  Perhaps the intent was to air and expose these assaults on
the Senator.  I still feel it missed the mark if that was the case.   The time
remaining before November should be spent on issues that need answers.

queeniemart said...

I was very surprised to see this cover of the New Yorker. I have read it many times and the high brow way of putting together the articles sometimes leaves me wondering WTH i just read. I don't find anything funny about the cover. The belief that Obama is a Muslim is going to keep MANY that i know from  voting for him. Good thing they do not read this magazine because it would just add fuel to the fire.

jmoqueen said...

I know nothing about politics and even I find that disgusting :(