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marinelife's avatar

Do you think the New Yorker cover of the Obamas missed the mark as satire?

Asked by marinelife (62430points) July 14th, 2008

Here is the image, if you have not seen it. The editors titled it The Politics of Fear (although that appears only on the inside cover).

If we could possibly discuss this as an issue in and of itself and not pro or con Obama as a candidate that would be great.

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16 Answers

chatnoir's avatar

Absolutely. What in the world were they thinking? I don’t get the irony, if it’s supposed to be satire. It’s just crude. Awful. It makes me feel bad just to look at it. I’m a New Yorker subscriber…...for now, but I am reconsidering. I’m shocked at their lack of taste.

andrew's avatar

I think it’s so over the top that it’s pretty hard to miss as satire.
I just heard the editor on NPR, and his remark about how (paraphrased) “people who make the remark ‘well I get it but I worry about people in other parts of the country who won’t’ think that satire is exclusively upper-east-side” is pretty good.

It’s a joke. I love it. It’s ridiuclous.

That said, my foray into the image was discussion about it, so that taints my perception.

marinelife's avatar

@chatnoir I am also a longtime reader of the New Yorker (never the same in the post-Wallace Shawn era if you ask me.) I am not sure how I feel about this. I want to sleep on it. On the face of it, I think it was not a very wise choice.

@andrew I am going to see if I can find that NPR interview. Was it All Things Considered? What is PHE? I’m not sure the New Yorker is viewed by most as a vehicle of satire. If that had been on MAD Magazine I’d have laughed.

gailcalled's avatar

I found it shockingly inappropriate…a picture is worth 1000 words and most people do not read the New Yorker, but they might easily spot the cover at a news stand. It has gotten a huge blizzard of terrible publicity. Maybe the new New Yorker is trying to become page 6 of the New York Post and increase readership. Clear satire was the Saul Steinberg map of the world as seen from NY’s Ninth Ave.

Agree about Wallace Shawn era.

marinelife's avatar

@gc Yes, that is obvious satire. My concern with the current cover is that all it does is codify what some extremists (AKA Fox News) are saying about the Obamas so how is that satire?

gailcalled's avatar

It’s not, according to most of the English-speaking world.

Google Cover news

Cardinal's avatar

He is going for the #1 job in the world he better get used to editorial cartoonists!

chatnoir's avatar

@cardinal – I think it is a dangerous idea to sit silent when racism and bigotry are used for humor. I don’t support ‘getting used’ to it. I support naming it what it is and letting it get some air in the light of day. Pretending that because it is a weak and failed attempt at satire it is acceptable in a civilized society is a step backward not forward. It’s like laughing at racist or sexist jokes. Not that funny.

MacBean's avatar

“people who make the remark ‘well I get it but I worry about people in other parts of the country who won’t’ think that satire is exclusively upper-east-side”

Sadly, most people here don’t actually get it, either. I adore satire but probably nine out of ten people just do not understand it when they see it and wind up taking it seriously and being offended. This cover is satire because it’s saying “This is what the extremists think. See how ridiculous it is?” I see the same thing with racist and sexist jokes in the circles I travel in. The jokes are still told and laughed at but it’s not the content that’s being laughed at. It’s the absurdity of the idiots who actually do believe/agree with the content.

gooch's avatar

@chatnoir I find that humor in general is usually at the expense of someone. Feelings are feelings don’t stop at racism include economic status, religious views, and physical attributes. George W.Bush is made fun of all the time for his ears, speaking skills, and religious views. Carter for his drunk brother and peanut farming history. Ford for falling down all the time. My point is nobody likes being made fun of. Do you enjoy being the center of a joke?

gailcalled's avatar

I find that self-deprecating humor, like Woody Allen uses, is sometimes (to the benefit of the riff) part of a good comedian’s routine. Not that I am a good comedian, but I make fun of myself all the time. (There is so much material-it would be a waste not to use it.)

But I would NEVER use the same technique for someone else, other than Milo.

chatnoir's avatar

@gooch I don’t like any humor that is at the expense of someone else. So, I agree with your every word…Although, my husband teases me about things, from time to time and so did my grandfather and it is rather endearing and I know it is done with love, but in general I don’t like humor that is at the expense of someone else. If it hurts someone, to me, that’s not funny. There’s lot of humor that isn’t at the expense of someone else.

winblowzxp's avatar

If it were George and Laura Bush, would there still be an uproar about it?

jvgr's avatar

I’ve been a regular reader of the New Yorker for many years, and so I can easily understand their intent; and that it was satirical.

Did you read the article? That’s the question.

mdavis682's avatar

Yes, Yes I do. Unfortunately there are too many people in this country that aren’t smart enough to understand what satire is.

seekingwolf's avatar

Well I sure smirked when I saw it.
smirks again

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