So I woke up this morning to watch the news and get the weather forecast for the day and was greeted with this image:
Now, I am not sure if I am just more sensitive while wiping the cold out of my eye or what, but I was immediately outraged. As you see the cover is depicting Obama as a Flag burning Muslim, knocking knuckles with his seemingly militant Angela Davis styled wife. While the New Yorker is well known for its satire, I think this cover crosses the line.
Ironically enough, this is one topic both Obama and John McCain’s campaign parties can agree on – they too feel it is inappropriate.
Obama spokesperson Bill Burton commented: “The New Yorker may think, as one of their staff explained to us, that their cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Senator Obama’s right-wing critics have tried to create. But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree.”
The McCain campaign immediately e-mailed a similar statement from Tucker Bounds saying: “We completely agree with the Obama campaign, it’s tasteless and offensive.”
The press release for the New Yorker said this about the July 21st cover:
“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.”
I completely understand that the New Yorker is a smart, witty publication known for its satire, but the problem arises when people don’t understand the intended message. That is what I fear will happen here when anyone outside of the Upper West Side, or New York City for that matter, picks up the issue. Many will not get it, especially since there is no caption outlining the fact that this is a joke based on collecting every distorted cliché rumor about Obama to make fun of them all. I sure didn’t. Maybe that’s because I am an Obama supporter, and simply don’t care to see these clichés in any form, which I think many other supporters will say too. And those who oppose him will just use this for non-humorous purposes and throw it way out of context.
In the end, a funny joke delivered poorly is just a bad joke. The same goes for cover art.