The River

Monday, July 14, 2008

Missing the mark

If a cable newscaster wonders aloud whether McCain is senile old fool, would a magazine be engaged in satire by publishing a cartoon showing McCain as a drooling dunce?

What if the same news channel was notorious for implying McCain is too old and unable to keep up with the pace of change, is it satire to illustrate McCain as feeble and infirm?

The answer, of course, is no. It's just tasteless and insulting.

The confusion is caused by the fact that we all know satire amplifies situations so that their absurdity stands out. But you completely miss the mark if you leave out the source of the stupidity! It's like "Spinal Tap" without the rock band. It's like handing a bully a baseball bat. Ha, you think, this will really show what a bully this person is. Bully proceeds to do great damage with the bat, at which point you proudly state, "see? he's a bully."

Meanwhile, people are wondering which party is more despicable, the bully or the one helping him.

And that's how this week the New Yorker proved itself dumber and more dangerous than Fox News, one of the ostensible targets of its cover for asking if a Michelle and Barack Obama gesture was a "a terrorist fist jab?"


A sample from the comments an ABC News blog showing just how effectively the "satire" wounded its intended targets:

This is no different than the thousands of distortions President Bush has had to endure as POTUS.

Both Obamas are totally immature and miniscule political animals if they let this bother them. Then again, after all the truths of the Obamas have come to light these last several months, the depiction seems accurate enough. They have far too much to hide from the electorate.


I live in Illinois and I can't say whether or not the cover has it right or wrong. I don't know anything about Obama before his run for president. I have a hard time picturing Obama enjoying himself on an Illinois farm, driving a tractor or feeding the pigs. Just can't picture it.





Exposes what the Obamas are truly about.

I'm sending this to all my friends and coworkers.


I don't think this cover is satire, I think it's foreshawdowing.

I bet the cover wins awards for showing the Obama's the way they are. Hip Hip Hooray! Hip Hip Hooray!!


Barry Blitt [the illustrator] is a hero!


For anyone who doesn't get the problem with the New Yorker cover and thinks "the chance any one with grey matter could see this cover and "take it seriously" approaches zero." as someone said at A Tiny Revolution, here's an explanation from Labiche on the same thread:

I get daily missives from people that I work with along the lines of, "Anything but Hillary or Obama,", "This Country Really, Really needs to exterminate the libruls", "We're having socialism imposed on us", "The islamofascists are winning", etc.

This type of "irony" has an effect on them:

1. It reinforces the views they already hold of an Obama America. Don't think so? How many people still think that Iraq had something to do with 9/11? Associations develop in the darnedest ways and they're hard to expunge no matter the evidence.

2. They take it as an insult and slight that another Liberal NY media is mocking them and what they perceive as their serious concerns. Not important what they think? As long as they have plans to "exterminate the libruls", start shooting at random or dick with the Diebolds, it is important.

I take it as the New Yorker's clueless and unfunny hipster irony. The editorial policy there is "Look at us looking at ourselves. Isn't it self-absorbed? Yet aren't we cool for knowing that, and knowing that we know that?" They're hopeless. They're the kind of middle brow jokers that occasionally need a pitcher of beer poured over their heads, followed by another poured in their laps, followed by getting stuck with the bill for both. A tragic waste of beer, most likely, but we can repent when get to Purgatory.

The cover itself, IMO, is a sad attempt to co-opt and ridicule the wingnut agitprop over Barack Hussein Obama. The net result will be an outbreak of paranoia and triumphalism on the part of the 'nutters and contempt from everyone else. Their movie and music reviews will still suck and their cartoons will continue to be precious.

Cross posted with your update
Hey Arkady, thanks for stopping in. You're welcome down South by The River anytime.

I too posted my update without seeing your post. In any case, we make the same point: "The net result will be an outbreak of paranoia and triumphalism on the part of the 'nutters and contempt from everyone else"

But I have to disagree about the movie reviews. Well, half disagree. Of the two reviewers they use, David Denby is clueless, but Anthony Lane is genuinely witty and perceptive.
Thanks for the kind welcome, Bruce.

Louis Proyect has posted a very good, extensive and level-headed look at the New Yorker.
That cover was the most tasteless one yet by the New Yorker. It will serve to reinforce the mindset of the idiotic 20%.

BTW... Thanks for the addition of the Blog of Revelation to your blogroll. I just got the news. Will be adding you to ours today.
You're welcome (for the link), Brother Tim. I appreciate your blog, and the linkage.

I've come to realize what jollyroger says consistently at "Reconstitution": the wingnuts shouldn't be ignored, quietly tolerated or gently chided (as in the New Yorker illustration), they should be told in no uncertain terms repeatedly and at every opportunity that they are dumb, dishonest cretins and that to support "Republican" or "conservative" agendas is to be a joke, a fool, and a poor excuse for a human being. Only tactfully of course, especially if they're family, which I know all to well is often the case.
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