Is it satire or insult?
So now we are going to get all worked up over a cartoon.
Perhaps you’ve seen the July 21 cover of The New Yorker. The cover features a cartoon by Barry Blitt depicting Barack and Michelle Obama. Barack is dressed in turban and Arab clothes while Michelle is in terrorist garb, machine gun slung over her shoulder. They’re in the Oval Office, and a portrait of Osama bin Laden hangs over a fireplace that contains a burning American flag.
This is satire, most would conclude, a comment on the ridiculous right-wing propaganda that continues to maintain that Obama’s “funny” name means he must be Muslim and that his wife is a terrorist because she did a “fist bump” or something.
There are a couple of things going on here. One is that the machine that fuels the perpetually offended ” most notably the cable news networks and various blogs ” is notoriously humorless. For the better part of a century, the New Yorker has done covers like this – poignant commentary about the more ridiculous aspects of our society. What could be sillier than one group being outraged about Obama’s former Christian pastor while trying to maintain that he’s also a secret Muslim?
It’s enough to make one wonder if The New Yorker cover was off base not because it did anything wrong, but because the audience has gotten tone-deaf to satire. Given the relatively modest circulation of the magazine compared to, say, “The O’Reilly Factor,” it’s hard not to wonder if non-New Yorker readers would even have heard about it if the Obama camp itself hadn’t turned up the outrage machine.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
For those who want to be offended by something a little more real, read Seymour Hersh’s article about the Bush Administration’s cloak-and-dagger project to undermine Iran in the July 7 New Yorker.