Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The New Yorker Cover

I hope to have at least something movie-related up here before too long again, but first I wanted to point out this tidbit.

I'll make the modest proposal that this controversial New Yorker cover is obviously a piece of satire, in the grand tradition of satire that works through subtle exagerration, in this case, taking every element of innuendo and rumor-mongering build up in the media over the last few months and mashing them together into a single cluster-f*&@ of an image. So on that level it's kind of brilliant, because it shows how stupid the 'terrorist fist jab' and everything else is.

At the same time, the mistake the New Yorker made was over-subtlety (the problem with 54.3% of all satire) in that most people, including the traditional 'humorless liberals', didn't get it. If the art had been a little less droll and whimsical, perhaps the intention would have been easier to make out, but that's the way the NYer rolls.

What's most interesting to me, though, is that this helps to illustrate that, sadly enough, a huge amount of the population of White America, even after all these years, still doesn't really believe, deep down, that non-White people are really Americans. It's not really an overt thing, but the buildup of each of these things - the 'flag pin' debate, the continued perception that Obama is a secret Muslim, etc. are the symptoms of the psychological resistance that people still have to the idea that a black guy whose middle name is Hussein is a leading contender to become President of the United States, and why the GOP is keeping these very subtle memes alive, to exacerbate the idea that he's not one of us. Which is why I salute the New Yorker for getting it all out into the open, in a way that hopefully will stimulate a little more national debate.

4 comments:

Craig Kennedy said...

I'm not the smartest guy on the block and it seemed perfectly clear to me what the New Yorker was doing right away.

We're a nation of idiots who need to have our unlayered comedy spoon fed to us.

Sam Juliano said...

There is no doubt that THE NEW YORKER overplayed its card here. The magazine is fervantly liberal and pro-Obama, yet ironically enough, they are now being accused of the same charges normally leveled at the right wing rags.

Jeff McMahon said...

What really amazes me are all the New Yorker subscribers and liberal bloggers who are talking about cancelling their subscriptions etc. I'll say it here and now: those people are idiots.

leah said...

to quote mr. burns on 'the simpsons':
'since when are public figures fair game for satire?!'