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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Obama, New Yorker Cover...

Ok let us get this out off the bat: I love satire, I love when peeps push the envelope, I do not think this is one of those times!

The New Yorker magazine decided to put up a cartoon on its cover with Barack and his wife fist bumping while the American flag burns in the fireplace. Obama is in Muslim garb, his wife is wearing an Afro (note she does not have one in real life), and camo clothing, with an Ak-47 on her back and spare ammo, in the background is a portrait of America's #1 enemy Osama bin-Laden.

The NY'er is defending its decision by releasing this press release: "“On the cover of the July 21, 2008, issue of The New Yorker, in ‘The Politics of Fear,’ artist Barry Blitt satirizes the use of scare tactics and misinformation in the presidential election to derail Barack Obama’s campaign.”
(wanted to make sure their statement was in there)

Look it is all well and good to do satire, but come on, on your front cover, you put up that sensational image, it was there to provoke but the problem is, in this climate where so many see Barack and his wife as the Anti-american candidate (and if you doubt me, look at the protests of his speech here in San Diego) putting something like that on the cover not only sparks debate (which is good) it re-enforces stereotypes...BAD!

Come on, was it necessary to give his wife an Afro, to have them fist bump? Why put Obama the non-muslim in full garb? And of course to re-enforce the muslim = bad and osama = obama mindset, let us just throw a picture of Obama in the background and burn the flag!

Look racism is still prevalent in America, no matter how much peeps want to pretend it is not and sweep it under the rug. A cover that makes Obama out to be a threat to the country and his wife a BLACK PANTHER (because trust me, that is the image that comes across, especially to the older-voting demographic that he so desperately needs) is irresponsible and does not come across as satire.

Again, why re-enforce the fears that some harbor? Why could you not put this in an EDITORIAL?

I read somewhere that 15% of the country thinks Obama is muslim, thanks NY'er for re-enforcing that. And this is even after the Rev. Wright controversy. Look we all know many people are stupid, hell some of my own friends are stupid (they are not close), why help their close-mindedness by making him look muslim? Since we know that America is not ready for a Muslim president?

As a commenter on noted, The New Yorker would never have taken the chance to put a cartoon of John Mccain on the cover as a Slave owner, or a Redneck gun toter, but Obama was fair game like this?

Shame on you New Yorker, what could have been a social commentary is now just a blatant attempt to sell magazines

I like this alternate cover that was proposed via The Dish Rag By Elizabeth Snead that I found on La

Sorry the blog has become so political, you know it is all about what I like, and right now I like politics!


Kamau Francis said...

That cover is about as useful as a poster of a smiling kid smoking a joint with a sign below - "Say No to Drugs"

Pierre said...

Honestly, I didn't really give the cover a second thought because I thought it was such a ridiculous caricature that nobody would actually believe what it was representing.

I know about many of the rumors that have been spread about Obama (many of which are rather contradictory like: is he a Manchurian candidate-type Muslim or a member of a racist brand of Christianity?). I thought the cover did a good job of gathering a large portion of those rumors and exaggerating them to the point of triviality.

I actually think this is exactly what those Obama-bashing rumors needed: a forum where they can be completely mocked for the ridiculous they represent. O's campaign's could not counteract such a viral message for many reasons; maybe this cover (which is now bouncing around every dark nook and cranny of the Internet, the networks' news and cable) can. And maybe that is what the Obama campaign is hoping to do by shining a spotlight on the cover because, honestly, the New Yorker's circulation isn't nearly big enough or broad enough to have any sort of impact on anything.

Also, politically speaking, the cover comes at a rather good time for Obama. It stokes progressive/liberal outrage against the "mainstream media" in favor of Obama just when he's been slammed for a few transgressions by those same people.

Cali J said...

See that is the problem and the difference here. You are thinking in political terms. Politics is not my (big) issue with this cover. It is what the cover represents to progression as a society. The vitriol that all my black friends reacted with says it all. My Jamaican friends who cannot vote were not struck with "Oh how does this affect his campaign?" they/we reacted like this "Why would you do this to the black candidate?" This cover (picture saying a 1000 words) re-enforces what many feel; that 'America is not ready for' or 'America fears a Black President'. Again, if social commentary was the effect, why not an editorial?

The NY'ers circulation to me is immaterial, since 90% of the people who see the cover will not be reading the magazine anyway. The cover itself is the problem not the magazine as a whole. After all if you read the issue that contains the cover it contains a complimentary article on Obama, but when is the bigot that can now turn to his friend and say "See" going to open up the mag?

To point me to Obama's counter website is cool, I like that they exist, but they do not erase the stain of that cover. When I walk through the newstand I see that cover, I do not see counter-websites.

Again much of my problem with it is not the political satire, it is not its attempt to ridicule those who hold silly views. Nope, my big problem is that they made a misjudgment/a crass attempt/a stoke the fire/a silly decision to sell magazines.


Anonymous said...

Ironically, I had a quick and passionate discussion with one of my house mate's over welfare in this country just before reading this blog entry. My house mate's views differ from mine (starkly), but our discussion parallels the one that follows the NYer's cover.

The fact is that both topics (welfare and Obama's Presidential Campaign) are going to trigger strong reactions. And they are both linked to race and racism.

In this country, race and racism is all too tightly bound to politics, as racism was a national institution for too many years. Sadly I am not surprised this cover was published, and I'm not really buying that it is a proper use of satire. I can easily see this cover inspiring the (parallel) accusatory response that the current welfare debate inspires: "You gonna vote for him? He's a terrorist!" (Parallel to: "You want to support millions of people on welfare? It is/You are communist!)

No one wants to be called communist nor terrorist. Both have the same connotation, (if not now, check your history texts): Anti-American. I'm afraid the fear of receiving this type of accusation may sway people's opinions in the matter. If you don't believe me or don't agree, that is fine with me. But there are plenty of people that satisfy themselves by talking to a single family on welfare to believe that millions are scam artists feeding off hard working Americans. Likewise, I believe there are enough people that will see this cover, not read the article, and let accusations like the one above fly like they were releasing a bald eagle into a protected habitat. This was not a responsible use of the power of the press, New Yorker.

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Cali-J ueber alles in der Welt. Some think that I am mean; (I call them friends), in fact I am not that mean. What I am is sarcastic and dry to the sandpaper level. I have friends that I have never said a kind word to their face, but I praise to the ends of the earth to anyone I know and will defend them to the end. That’s just how I roll! My boys know that I am down for them, my girls know that no matter what I will keep them safe (and occasionally flirt with them [If you are a female friend of mine and think I haven’t flirted with you it just means you didn’t notice, it was extremely subtle or…not yet ]). No one is safe from my sarcasm even my own parents; hence of course as a kid I spent a significant amount of time in punishment. I treat people with respect if I think they deserve it – everyone starts off with the same amount of respect from me (a lot). You don’t need to earn my respect; you have to keep my respect.