The New Yorker and the Obamas

What were the folks at The New Yorker thinking? Unless you’ve had your head in the sand you probably heard about the latest issue of The New Yorker Magazine with their cover of Michelle and Barack Obama. Michelle is depicted as a gun toting Angela Davis type and Barack is dressed in Muslim attire. The American flag is in the fireplace and a portrait of Osama bin Laden hangs on the wall. And don’t forget the terrorist fist jab :-()

According to the folks at The New Yorker, the magazine cover is a parody of the way the right wing media has used fear tactics in the way they depict the Obamas. Some so called liberals, aka progressives, who aren’t Obama supporters have been using scare tactics as well.

Barack Obama magazine flap shows an irony deficiency

The New Yorker’s cover illustration has sparked a flurry of outrage among the Democrat’s supporters. Hey, people, it’s a joke!

By JAMES RAINEY

We’ve already scratched thrift, candor and brevity off the list of virtues in this presidential cycle, so why not eliminate humor too?

That seems to be the fondest wish of a few commentators and legions of Internet blatherers, who spent much of Monday vilifying New Yorker magazine for this week’s cover, which depicts Barack and Michelle Obama as a couple of gun-toting, flag-burning, America-hating terrorists.

It seemed fairly obvious to me, my 8-year-old and, likely, the majority of readers of one of America’s finest magazines that the cover drawing by Barry Blitt was a parody. In other words (for those still struggling with the concept), the joke was not on the Obamas but on the knuckle-walkers who would do them harm by trying to turn a couple of fresh-scrubbed Harvard Law grads into something foreign and scary.

Yet online discussion boards from coast to coast overflowed with anger and despair that the image of the golden young senator from Illinois had somehow been taken in vain.

A grass-roots organizer in Chicago named Mark S. Allen made his complaint to one of the Chicago Tribune’s blogs.

“I will NEVER purchase or read The New Yorker Magazine again!!” mewled Allen. “I found your current cover on the Obamas extremely insulting, hurtful, racist and not worthy of the reward of my continuing to purchase The New Yorker.”

That was mild compared to the shame that Chuck-in-Wichita heaped on the New Yorker via his comment to the Los Angeles Times’ politics blog, Top of the Ticket. Chuck failed “to see the humor in that rag they call a magazine.” Not content to merely boycott the magazine, he pledged “to never even visit New York, let alone live there.”

The article also mentions this:

Chicago Tribune columnist/blogger Eric Zorn gave notice that he is waiting for the magazine to launch an equal-ink takedown depicting John McCain as “about 150 years old and spouting demented non-sequiturs in the middle of a violent temper tantrum while, in the corner, his wife is passed out next to a bottle of pills.”

Actually, someone who has maintained a little more perspective already obliged. David Horsey, the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, riffed on the Blitt illustration with a McCain portrait of his own.

Horsey’s image shows a drooling, wheelchair-bound McCain, singing “Bomb bomb bomb — bomb bomb Iran,” as wife Cindy pours dozens of pills from a vial and implores her husband, “Take some of my meds to get through the inaugural parade!”

Playing off the New Yorker cartoon, in which an Osama bin Laden portrait adorns the Oval Office, an American flag aflame in the fireplace, Horsey poses the McCains in front of a Dick Cheney portrait, their fire burning a copy of the Constitution.

Lest anyone miss the point, the cartoonist dedicates the piece to all those “irony-challenged literalists who were upset by the New Yorker’s Obama-as-a-Muslim magazine cover.”

That’s coming from a self-described progressive who has put a world of hurt on President Bush but who said in an interview that he sees a disturbing “lack of irony or sense of humor” among some Obama supporters.

I headed over to Seattle PI and found the McCain picture.

Will we ever see a magazine portray the McCains this way? I doubt it. The media seems to have a hands off approach when it comes to attacking the McCains. If Michelle Obama had the drug addiction past that Cindy McCain has, you can bet that the media, especially Faux News, would be spinning it 24/7.

Anyway if the steam has stopped coming out of your ears, there’s an article inside the magazine about Senator Obama. The article is titled Making It: How Chicago shaped Obama.

One response

  1. I have Bell’s Palsy and enjoy your blog very much. First time I’ve commented, but have been reading here and there.
    Great blog. I enjoy reading it every chance I get and value your opinions!

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