Monday, July 14, 2008

Not Funny, and Why

Political humor is older than any of us, but to be good it must be intelligent.
This cover takes the dimmest elements of racist hatred and ignorance toward the Obamas and, like a junior high bully, puts it into cartoon form.
I may be smart, but I don't read The New Yorker because I usually find it too haughty and long-winded. Their cartoons are the only part I really like.
But this cartoon is not clever, not original and just plain creepy. It draws on everything about America that is crude, ignorant and dark.
Maybe the Editor thought he could wink and nod with his snooty readership by making fun of the small-mindedness of non-readers. But if that's the case, perhaps it would have been better to share the cartoon via a direct mail piece to subscribers, rather than encouraging cretins all over America to make copies of it and hang it in their cubicles, bars and barbershops.
At any rate, it adds nothing to the political discourse of these times and shows a serious lapse in journalistic judgment.
What's your take on it?


Sonia said...

I think that may be irony and journalism do not always go together- in this case, it is obvious that New Yorker is making fun of racist / bigoted idiots who think Obama is not firm against terrorism, that his middle name betrays his Islamist stance etc ...

I believe that the Americans who believe this would never vote for a Democrat anyway and that « New Yorker » did not publish this caricature to harm Obama but to make fun of those who think they can hurt him by making him look like an islamist fanatic.

Now, what could hurt Obama (and in my case, irremediably , but it does not matter since I do not vote in the US) is his moving to the right : death penalty, Iraq, faith-based programme (yuck!) and the like ...

karenzipdrive said...

Sonia, mon amie, every observation of yours was true, but the cartoon will be used by cretins all over America to illustrate their true feelings about Obama.
Why did the New Yorker give them the ammunition?
If the shoe was on the other foot and they showed McCain as a doddering old man in a wheelchair with a urine bag, with Cindy McCain gulping down pain pills, I'd frame the cartoon.
Voyez ce que veux dire je ?

Shelley T said...

I had a similar objection to a TIME cover many years ago and wrote a letter to the editor about it. Their response: It's satire. The images represent a shorthand, allowing people to glean the message from a very brief glance. This, they said, makes it okay to use racist and offensive images.

In short, I disagree, and find the New Yorker cover pictured here to be as inappropriate and offensive as you do.

karenzipdrive said...

It also would be satirical to do a cartoon of Obama sitting on a fence eating watermelon and fried chicken, but when satire becomes blatantly racist, it's no longer satire, it's just racism.
Furthermore, it could be considered satire to draw McCain getting ass raped by the Vietcong.
That doesn't make it funny or apporpriate.

kzip said...

ooops- I meant to type appropriate...

bigsis said...

I'm horrified by it, even though Obama said its just a cartoon and he's not upset about it etc. I love satire to the point that I sometimes see it where its not meant to exist, and this NOT satire, its racism. If NYer doesn't apologize or come up with one for McCain like the one Zip mentioned (urine bag and popping pills), I I'll just have to continue thinking of it as a dull and remarkably geocentric NY rag.

karenzipdrive said...

One of the things I really do love about Obama is his even temperament and his cool reaction to stuff the rest of us would wig out over.
His reaction to the cartoon was far more measured than mine was, and it wasn't even about me.

Sonia said...

OK Karen, may be I have not realized that this could be taken seriously by electors who would vote for Obama and knew it is a joke.
So I see "ce que tu veux dire" :-)
But again, I dont like Obama not because of this, but because he is getting too conservative for me for the reasons I stated.
I guess I am way too liberal for the US ;-)
I miss Hillary !!!!