Monday, July 14, 2008

Acting White: New Yorker Magazine Falls Into Gutter

If the editors of the New Yorker really think that Barack Obama is some sort of threat because of a religion that he has never claimed, or that Michele Obama is a terrorist, because, like John McCain she dares to speak of her personal patriotic awakenings, then so be it - the First and Fourteenth Amendments gives them the right.

On the other hand, if they think that this is just harmless satire, then they need to pull their heads out of their NY asses. Good satire requires that the audience get it as such. A poll by had over 60% of the respondents agreeing with the the authenticity of the depiction in the satire, and that is not funny. Not one bit.

I don't care if the editors are Democrats or Republicans (if you turn off the sound and just watch the behavior, I can hardly tell the difference). The cover smacks of fancy playing of the race card (from the bottom of the deck), and that is not cool whatever your color. The New Yorker needs get out of the race sewer, or stop pretending to write words for intelligent people.

James C. Collier


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AAW said...

I wrote about this on my blog also. This is just BAD satire. How many Americans read the New Yorker?

And if one of them (who has no clue of what New Yorker was all about) just walks by the aisle of the bookstore and sees this picture (with no inscription), what does the editor of this magazine wants such person to think?

Anonymous said...

I knew this day would come, not because I am a pessimist; but because I knew someone would go to far. The thing that gets me mad is they are trying to say it's Satire. If Satire is exaggerating the truth what the heck is that. I think they thought they would do the reverse of that and exaggerate the lies.

I know to me as a BlackMan it just makes me mad. I don't care if they say it's freedom of speech, and that any intellectual will want to read it. It's the image that will stick in people's heads and since it's not funny it won't make people want to read the damn magazine. Who in the hell reads it anyway.

I'm just glad this came out early because it would have been the death nail in November. This is what you get when you let your friends depict something they know nothing about. GO Intellectuals!

Dennis Mangan said...

I don't see it, Jim. The New Yorker skewers anyone the least conservative in far worse ways all the time. As for "the race card", it looks to me that they're playing on widespread perceptions - or at least discussions - of Obama being Muslim. As for his cartoon wife's garb, Obama has associated with unsavory radicals, like Ayers.

Joe Friday said...

another take:

I still say Nader is the best choice so far. :>) What do we have to lose?

Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira, aka Ochyming said...

I SEE no SATIRE there, it is just a STATEMENT, one that embrace LOW politics.

When you satirize [Exaggeration?] a TRUTH, it remain a satire, when you "SATIRIZE" a LIE [how can you Satirize/Exaggerate a LIE?, remember those WW II posters?, same case HERE, they are not SATIRE] you are SAING hey it is TRUE!
... I don't care if the editors are Democrats or Republicans...
Reason why Afro-Americans are naive regarding politics, politics is not about RIGHTNESS, it is about PROTECTING ones INTEREST.
In politics you go to BED with the ONES you do not like!
You end up in BED because you should [if that is the BEST way of protecting your INTERESTs, So is FUNNY how some Afro-Americans just back Off just by hearing from B. Obama a thing they do not like to hear in "public", even if its public]!

Anonymous said...

The only way to correct this misstep is to have a cover with McCain pushing a walker with his teeth in a cup, climbing into his SUV on the necks of soldiers in desert uniform. His wife will be depicted with a lot of luxury brand shopping bags and a 40-ounce beer.

BTW: I canceled my subscription to the New Yorker to let them know I disagree with this cover. I'll borrow it from the library for FREE!

Joe Friday said...

It appears this sleezy hit piece on Obama came from the highest level of the owners of "Advance Publications" who own the New Yorker and many other magazines. The owner is a long time Republican billionaire buddy of the Bush -- Samuel Irving Newhouse, Jr. He and his brother Don Newhouse evidently worked with some hit pieces along with Rove and other assorted Bush hit men to help take down a former Democrat Governor of Alabama. It didn't take long to find all the sleezy connections.

Even though this article pretends to be satire and only dissing the so-called "politics of fear" about Obama being a Muslim radical, they know all too well the damage is done because 90% of the people who see this anti-Obama cartoon will never bother to read the article. The cartoon image however, will remain in their minds which is just what the Bush operatives want to happen.

Anyone who thinks Rove, the GOP smear machine, and the Bush cartel are not out to get rid of Obama and put their boy McCain the the White House for Bush's 3rd term in office is too naive and dumb to vote.


Samuel Irving Newhouse, Jr. (born November 8, 1927), nicknamed Si Newhouse, is the chairman and CEO of Advance Publications, which, among other interests, owns Cond Nast Publications, which owns magazines like Vogue, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker among many others. He is the son of Samuel Irving Newhouse, Sr., founder of Advance Publications. His grandson, S.I. Newhouse IV, appeared in the documentary Born Rich.

Newhouse attended the Horace Mann School in New York City. He is a billioniare with an estimated net worth of $8.5 billion, and he is currently ranked the 37th Richest American by Forbes Magazine in 2007...

Dennis Mangan said...

Jeez, anyone ever seen what the New Yorker has done with Bush and Cheney? The entire magazine is leftist from beginning to end, and you can be sure that they're not rooting for McCain. The idea that being a billionaire like Newhouse, even assuming he has any influence on the editorial content of his stable of left-wing magazines, is automatically a conservative is just dumb. See under Buffett, Warren.

Joe Friday said...

Tit for Tat.

James C. Collier said...

OK, I'm peeking through the clouds. I was reading how all the main stream comedians are having such a hard time 'pooning Obama because he is not funny and race, religion, etc. are off-limits from the audience viewpoint. So maybe this is just the case of the NY'r just being too witty for a polarized, desperate public. On the other hand, race, religion, etc. are actual vote levers, so when to know when the bullets are blanks?

Dennis Mangan said...

I gues I should add that that "dumb" wasn't referring to you, Jim :-)

James C. Collier said...

Haud offensus captus, Dennis.

Anonymous said...

from today's Wall St Journal:

Fear and Fretting on the Campaign Trail
July 16, 2008; Page D9

One might think, given this week's controversy over The New Yorker's obviously satirical cover illustration depicting Sen. Barack Obama and his wife Michelle as "fist-bumping terrorists," that beleaguered media companies would be congratulating editor David Remnick for at least temporarily making print publications relevant again. However, in this year's lugubrious presidential campaign, humor and satire are in short supply, and those who dare cross the line of covering the presumptive Democratic nominee's candidacy less than reverentially are instantaneously castigated.

As it happens, I have serious reservations about Mr. Obama's economic and foreign-policy proposals (although the national service he performed in dispatching the Clinton machine can't be underestimated), but the liberal New Yorker remains one of the very few magazines I still read in its print version. Mr. Remnick is one of this country's finest editors, as well as an excellent reporter and author, and it's a rare week that I don't spend at least an hour or more reading its rather eclectic roster of articles. By now, Mr. Remnick is undoubtedly weary of explaining his motives for commissioning the cover illustration by Barry Blitt -- I thought the partially obscured portrait of Osama bin Laden was a particularly witty touch -- to media scolds who believe the stand-alone cover was vulgar and in poor taste.

But The New Yorker has weathered such bouts of indignation before, and despite the usual volley of outraged readers threatening to cancel their subscriptions it won't be long before this brouhaha has exhausted its frenzied prominence in the news cycle. The incident will be forgotten and the weekly will continue its vitriol aimed at President Bush and Sen. John McCain (I guess its reporters were among the few who never bonded with Mr. Obama's Republican opponent back when he was a "maverick") and senior editor Hendrik Hertzberg, among others, will carry on hoisting the flag for the one-term Illinois senator, just as he has since the beginning of this year.

The overheated reaction by the left wing to this flap was characteristic: fretting, with the expected but still noisome whiff of elitism, that millions of less enlightened voters will take Mr. Blitt's send-up of ugly stereotypes about the Obamas seriously. That's no surprise, for Mr. Obama has been afforded the most generous coverage in recent memory, as demonstrated by Rolling Stone's own current cover, which shows the candidate in a beatific pose, and, for further dramatic effect, the picture was not sullied by the usual headlines and teasers for articles inside the magazine. And though current polls show a more competitive presidential race than one would imagine, given the ditch the Republican Party has dug for itself, the number of pundits who have already declared Mr. Obama as the next commander-in-chief is indicative of the fierce desire for payback over the 2000 Florida recount. No wonder skins are so thin.

Rather, it was the Obama campaign's immediate denunciation of Mr. Remnick and The New Yorker that was startling. Bill Burton, a campaign spokesman, issued the following statement last Sunday, before the offending issue had even reached newsstands or mailboxes: "The New Yorker may think, as one of their staff explained to us, that their cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Sen. Obama's right-wing critics have tried to create. But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree."

(Mr. McCain's staff hopped on the bandwagon right away, not only to distance itself from the stereotype of Obama-bashers but also to at least get its candidate a morsel of coverage.)

What baffles me most is why Mr. Obama and his advisers, who, after all, celebrate their message of "change," didn't let its supporters do the heavy lifting and then build anticipation for remarks by the candidate himself. Mr. Obama, who's proved to be as shrewd a politician as the country has seen in modern times -- surpassing President Clinton, who too often let his narcissism get in the way of sound political strategy -- might have thrown the media a curveball by playing down the entire controversy. It would've been wise, I think, had Mr. Obama said that although the cover had the potential to be misconstrued, and was upsetting to millions of his backers, he would never, ever, besmirch the sanctity of the First Amendment. He'd then have the opportunity to criticize President Bush's alleged curtailment of privacy rights and repeat the mantra that Mr. McCain was running for Mr. Bush's "third term." Mr. Obama would thus have it both ways: he'd stay above the fray while his media enablers and bloggers cranked up the indignation machine.

In an email Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Remnick told me: "I understand and can appreciate when critics feel that a piece of satire misses the mark, but what's worrisome is when people say, 'Of course, I get it but these other people over here -- they won't get it and it will only reinforce their negative feelings (about Sen. Obama in this case).' That seems to me patronizing and potentially even dangerous, because then you are always reduced to publishing images or articles, or producing films, or publishing books, that cannot possibly be misunderstood or are not enigmatic or challenging at any level whatsoever. Where does that lead?"

Obviously, Mr. Remnick knew that the "Muslim/terrorist" drawing would not be received in the same manner as a more traditional and benign New Yorker cover, but the charge from some quarters that he was simply trying to sell more copies is terribly off the mark. With a circulation of over one million, that's not a concern at The New Yorker and even the suggestion that it was a stunt is an unwarranted slap at Mr. Remnick's integrity. In fact, what Mr. Remnick and Mr. Blitt accomplished was, at least in this campaign year when reporters and publications walk on eggshells for fear of insinuations of racism, to treat Mr. Obama in the same way as any other candidate. That's an unforgivable transgression to some, but a refreshing dash of honesty and professionalism to this reader.

Mr. Smith is the managing director of the Web site splicetoday.com1.

URL for this article:

NSangoma said...

Unlike Obama, McCain held a Q&A after his speech, which caused a visible stir in the room.

"You could hear the room go, what?! He's actually going to open this up?!" Steele later said. "And I was asking folks, 'Did Barack do that?' And they were, like, 'No.' So, I think it speaks to the style. It speaks to the substance of the man in terms of how he wants to engage the black community, and I appreciate him doing it.

Hmmm, talking to you, with you; not down to you??

Deocliciano Okssipin Vieira, aka Ochyming said...

@big steve said...

If the object of Satire is obvious isn't it stupid to hammer on [making it]?