Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Barack & Michelle Obama on "The New Yorker"

"The Politics of Fear” by Barry Blitt, July 21, 2008 edition of The New Yorker


plez sez: The blogosphere has certainly been buzzing since The New Yorker released the cover artwork for next week's magazine. The reactions have ranged from an acknowledgement that this is satire, to utter dismay, to cries of racism, to accusations of sexism (for real!), combined with lots of gnashing of teeth (plezWife is pissed!), especially from a number of Black bloggers: Afro-Netizen, Acting White, Booker Rising, Afronerd, Electronic Village, AverageBro.com, the field negro, thestateof.com, Homeland Colors, Jack & Jill Politics, and African American Political Pundit.

Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton called it "tasteless and offensive" and, according to Jake Tapper at ABC, another high-profile Obama supporter called it "as offensive a caricature as any magazine could publish."

Talk about piling it on thick, you'd think it was another cover with Barack Obama in the crosshairs of a rifle!

It appears that plezWorld is going to side with the minority view of this knee jerk reaction to a The New Yorker magazine cover. A few years ago, for their Easter edition, the magazine portrayed the Easter Bunny nailed to the cross - I imagine a slew of those fervent Christian bloggers went on a rant about that one, too.

The satire that one finds on the cover (and inside this magazine, for those of us who actually read it) can be quite provocative at times. But then again, isn't that the purpose of satire? It is supposed to poke the sleeping dog, it is supposed to to show the absurdity of a situation, it is supposed to shock you... or else, it isn't satire!

Some have suggested that The New Yorker is now duty bound to dredge up a similarly offensive cover for John McCain. Why would they? It wouldn't be funny, because he isn't going to be the next President of the United States! So it wouldn't be very provocative nor insightful... besides, which rumors about John McCain are false?!?

This cartoon basically laughs at those who succumb to "the politics of fear" as spouted by those dreaded Republicans. If nothing else, the ones who came up with the fodder for this cartoon should be lambasted, not the artist who satirized them!

There are those who are afraid that some American voters will see the magazine and (heaven forbid) they will believe everything on the cover of a magazine that they don't have the intelligence to read is true... and then they won't vote for Barry! It's time to buy a clue, ya'll... those slack jawed yahoos who are going to base their vote on the cover of The New Yorker never had any intention of voting for Obama in the first place: no matter how much AMBI® Fade Cream Michelle Obama slathers on her face, and no matter if Barack Obama decided to die his hair blonde, grow it out and wear it in a mullet!

This isn't some slick campaign mailer sent out by the McCain campaign that uses subliminal messages with rumors about the Obamas that we've never heard before. If you are blind, deaf, and dumb, you've seen or heard reference to everything on the cover artwork during the last nine months by some instrument of the right wing wacko squad:
  • Obama in "Muslim" garb - If you recall, Hillary Clinton (who happens to be a member of the left wing wacko squad) said, "I don't know if he's not a Muslim," during the campaign
  • Portrait of Osama bin Laden above the fireplace - "Obama sounds an awful lot like Osama if you ask me" has to have been uttered once or twice over the past year on Fox News Network
  • American flag in the fireplace - "Why doesn't he wear a flag lapel pin? He must not be patriotic!"
  • Michelle Obama sporting the Angela Davis afro, wearing camo pants, and sporting a Black Panther sub-machine gun for extra measure - Cindy McCain during one of her more sober moments said, "I don't know about her, but I've always been proud of my country."
  • The Obama Fist Bump - "...a terrorist fist bump?" as heard on Fox News Network soon after the Obamas' gesture at his victory speech on June 3rd
  • And if you look real hard at the picture, all of this is taking place in the Oval Office on January 20, 2009!

  • Come on folks, it is what it is, Barack Obama is going to be scrutinized, he is going to be poked and prodded, he is going to be lied about, and some pretty ugly stuff is going to be said about him. But he's also going to be the next President of the United States... you people are going to have to get used to this, and you may as well start now!

    Personally, I think this cover would be an excellent treatment for a skit on an episode of Saturday Night Live after the general election in November!

    NOTE: plezWorld has been a subscriber to The New Yorker magazine for over ten years. For those who are so inclined, this issue of the magazine has a very insightful article on Barack Obama's early years as a politician in Chicago.




    19 comments:

    Mrs. A. said...

    I enjoyed your post. My sentiments are similar to yours, and after spending a couple hours following today's discussion of the cover, a reasonable blogger reads like a port in a storm. I also blogged about the situation today; if you're interested, you can read my take here: http://mrsaea.blogspot.com/.

    Best wishes.

    Hathor said...

    Unfortunately the New Yorker will not have control of this image, the White Citizens Council will.

    Don't underestimate the ignorant.

    David Sullivan said...

    The only problem I have is that 25% of those polled think Barack is a muslim. Why do they think that? The smear campaign that is being spread by the far right taking advantage of the "sheep" that believe everything that is spoon fed to them by their pastors, local pols etc.. I'll say it outright... white, country music loving, hate mongering, mega church going, follwers that still use the word negroe. These people will see that cover without getting the joke and say "See, even them liberal "New Yorker's" think he's a muslim". Sheep.

    plez... said...

    mrs. a.,
    i read your post with great interest (it is quite a read), we are apparently on the same page... if i wasn't a subscriber, i would probably go out and buy this issue of the new yorker as a keepsake and reminder of how ridiculous the great unwashed masses can truly be!

    hathor & david,
    be that as it may, the white citizens council, the country music loving, hate mongering, mega-church going, followers who still use the word "negro" have had this opinion of Obama long before this cartoon AND will harbor those feelings long AFTER he's been sworn in!

    to my way of thinking, those are exactly the people we should be laughing at (by way of the cartoon) instead excoriating the magazine for having los cajones to publish an infuriating and controversial cartoon on their cover.

    Stuck in my head said...

    I am still trying to get my hand around the cover of the magazine. I know that they have hit the nail on a lot of the inaccurate rumors that have been spoken about Senator Obama. But I also feel like there are the left wing (and right wing) people who don't read truth, who will not read the magazine, and will say that this highly recognized magazine is now even admitting the truth.

    I agree that these people are probably the ones that don't plan to vote for him anyway, but they also need to be invited in to understand what he really believes. Perhaps the cover will draw them in to read, but perhaps it they will just look at the cover and move on.

    All in all, people (even supporters of Sen. Obama) need to be better informed of the issues that are going to affect them for the next four to eight years starting 01.20.09.

    David Sullivan said...

    Plez I agree with you. I personally found the cover funny as fuck. I mean that Pam Grier hair was dead on! I just think that the "unenlightendables" will run with it.

    plez... said...

    stuck,
    like i said, i've had a subscription to the magazine for over ten years... this is what they do! AND the cover will not draw anyone in to read the article, because those who don't have the "capacity" to "get" the coverart will be put off by the few pictures that actually accompany the articles ("there's a lot of big words in there!")! HA HA HA!

    david,
    i only hope that the mailman doesn't "confiscate" my issue of The New Yorker this week... hopefully he isn't real active with blogging, yet! *smile* this cover is a CLASSIC, if only i can swing it to get Barack & Michelle to sign it for me after he gets elected President!

    Stuck in my head said...

    I agree that it will be a classic cover - possibly worth a lot when he becomes president and way down the line after he is out of office.

    Good luck getting the family to sign it, though.

    AverageBro said...

    Thanks for the shout-out, Plez.

    I think this cover is offensive on so many levels, even though it's supposed to be satire. But the bigger point is that Black America better brace itself. (If) Barry wins the Presidency, we're gonna see faaaar worse. White America's general ignorance (or disdain) of many things common to use is going to be on full display. It's part of the job, it comes with the territory.

    We might need to start getting used to this sorta treatment in the media, liberal or otherwise.

    Stuck in my head said...

    Thanks for stopping through. You'll be added to the list of blogs I recommend for my readers. Keep up the intriguing writing.

    plez... said...

    AvgOne,
    gird your loins, my brother, this was a sympathetic treatment of the Obamas! as the november election grows near and they actually win occupancy of the White House, you'll start to see and hear stuff unimaginable before.

    Blacks, especially, will have to grow a thicker skin and stop taking EVERYTHING as a personal assault on the race. there are virulent racists out there, no doubt... but everything you people deem negative isn't always rooted in some deep seated racism, sometimes it's rooted in deep seated satire... like The New Yorker cover!

    ...and "Stuck...", thanks for the link!

    tom said...

    At least they didn't try and include Muhammad in that sketch, otherwise heads would literally roll !

    Fergie said...

    My knee jerk reaction was to be pissed. Mind you this was just based on seeing the cover, and all the other BS that has been going around because there is no diversity in the room to help folks understand what is offensive and what is not. We have seen the true colors of a lot of people, networks, magazine executives and the like. However, I am also a follower of The New Yorker and I think I have a handle on their point of view, and after reading the article I totally understand the "satire" of it all.

    plez... said...

    tom,
    i think the artist learned a BIG lesson from Salmon Rushdie!

    fergie,
    sometimes it's good to step back and learn to laugh at life! everything isn't always that serious... i'll admit that i was a bit taken back by the imagery at first, but i had read more about the cover before i had actually seen the cover!

    sdg1844 said...

    It's poorly executed satire. I'm in the minority as well. I can see how some would be pissed and I know that intent and results are 2 different things entirely.

    We'd better buckle up because there's a good chance Obama will make it to the White House and we ain't seen nothin' yet.

    Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

    u know how i feel folk

    Hathor said...

    Blacks, especially, will have to grow a thicker skin and stop taking EVERYTHING as a personal assault on the race.

    I didn't take this a a personal assault, nor will I be surprised at any other trash that might arise. Its just I don't dismiss those people who believe this stuff, they are not all hayseeds, some are the same demographic as most bloggers.

    This crap goes deeper than the presidency, it related to those people who see terrorist everywhere and some are taking precautions, like joining a militia.

    Just only need one person like McVeigh.

    plez... said...

    sdg,
    i agree that we better buckle up, because as controversial as that cover turned out to be... i am sure there is much worse waiting in the wings! but i'm all for first amendment rights and freedom of expression, the cartoon doesn't portend or threaten harm or death... i find it harmless!

    torrance,
    thanks for the support, but we'll probably agree on most things except gun control!

    hathor,
    i refuse to let the fringe wacko minority fringe dictate my behavior. in my humble opinion, a life on their terms is not a life worth living!

    Hathor said...

    I wasn't asking you to live it.