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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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93 Responses

  1. Anna
    Anna July 13, 2008 at 11:19 pm |

    Oh, for the love of little tiny fishes.

    Just like the “lynching” pic of Ms Obama on DailyKos, this is not freaking acceptable just because it’s supposed to be “ironic” or made by “progressives”.

  2. habladora
    habladora July 13, 2008 at 11:27 pm |

    This is infuriating. When will we learn that simply repeating the hateful tactics used by the right against our candidates isn’t effective satire?

  3. » You’ve gotta be kidding me with this. … Talk Islam

    [...] gotta be kidding me with this. The New Yorker shows the Obamas as the right-wing sees them: Barack as a terrorist, Michelle as a [...]

  4. Jeff Fecke
    Jeff Fecke July 13, 2008 at 11:48 pm |

    Any context — any context — and it might have been funny. Just putting the title, “The Politics of Fear” on it could have transformed its meaning. But as-is, absent context, appearing on the cover of the New Yorker and not The Onion? Nope. Not funny in the slightest.

  5. jed
    jed July 13, 2008 at 11:49 pm |

    Satire is supposed to raise the ire of one group or another. Judging from the outcry in the blogosphere, this cover illustration is quite effective satire.

  6. jed
    jed July 13, 2008 at 11:59 pm |

    Drat, meant to add: … but this time, the New Yorker got under the skin of the wrong group.

  7. Peter
    Peter July 14, 2008 at 12:13 am |

    Hmmm…..I’m going to have to think about his.

    I totally get the satire. It’s so over the top, that the intention is obviously to mock the reich wing smears on Obama.

    But, I can see that perpetuating the stereotypes that have been engineered in wingnutotipia, is not helpful.

    That said, I don’t see this as being a poster for rightwing recruitment. They don’t need any help from the New Yorker. They’re going to be as sleazy and racist as they can, without an assist from the New Yorker. And I don’t think too many people in the flyover states read the new yorker anyway. Although, I could be wrong about that.

  8. Verchiel
    Verchiel July 14, 2008 at 12:18 am |

    Re: Jed–

    Satire is also supposed to hold up the unacceptable and absurd for well-deserved derision and ridicule in the interests of a remedy.

    The presumed regular reader of the New Yorker is well aware of what needs to be remedied, here. For those already holding the misconceptions in need of correction, this is just more repetition and reinforcement in one neat, little package.

  9. Derrick
    Derrick July 14, 2008 at 12:32 am |

    LOL.

    A job well done.

    What’s missing:

    A CHE poster.

    Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.

    Rev. Wright kissing HUSSEIN Obama.

    Whites in chains – a young naked blond girl chained to Michelle HUSSEIN Obama.

  10. exholt
    exholt July 14, 2008 at 12:38 am |

    This was not only poorly thought out and thus caused offense…..it shows an astonishing lack of imagination and creative effort…especially when plenty of others in the MSM is piling on top of Obama at the moment. :roll:

    It would have been funnier and more spot-on if they had designed the cover in such a way to target the right-wing attacks against Obama and the various memes used in such…along with those who created and disseminated such attacks…..and more creative and original to boot.

  11. jed
    jed July 14, 2008 at 12:57 am |

    “In the interests of a remedy”, then, the New Yorker may have already partially succeeded, succeeded at uniting the liberal community (in the blogosphere anyway). If the so-called ignorant now have to ask, “What do you mean the cover is supposed to be a joke?”, they may get some education, and in the latter event, the New Yorker will have completely succeeded.

  12. Verchiel
    Verchiel July 14, 2008 at 1:15 am |

    RE: Jed @ 12:57a

    I’ll gladly take some solidarity wherever it can be had, however, I fear that precious few of those individuals already subscribing to notions of “Barack as Muslim terror sympathizer,” and “Michelle as anti-white radical,” will be moved to question those beliefs when **progressives** are the ones saying this is intended as a joke.

    We’ve been disputing these despicable characterizations for some time now, yet they still have traction.

  13. Lauren O
    Lauren O July 14, 2008 at 1:15 am |

    This is not meant to be snarky or sarcastic, but rather a genuine question:

    Can’t all satire be portrayed as a reinforcement of the thing it’s satirizing? We can all see that this New Yorker cover is making fun of the things it’s depicting as false and absolutely ridiculous. I understand that some people might be too stupid and/or uneducated to get it, but is it the New Yorker’s responsibility to make sure that every single person, even the stupidest people, understand their jokes?

  14. jed
    jed July 14, 2008 at 1:18 am |

    The rest were lost long ago anyway; precious few is better than none at all. In any event, this particular magazine issue will not decide the election.

  15. Renee
    Renee July 14, 2008 at 1:22 am |

    Of course to the white liberal crowd at who this aimed at this is ironic, and they can safely view it that way as they are not the “object” POC are. You cannot fight racism by using racism. It is disgusting and demeaning on many levels. This is not the work of an ally, this is someone pandering to the lowest common denominator. How many times are POC going to be objectified to prove a point? Does anyone really give a shit that we matter, or how we might even feel about this disgusting mess?

  16. Verchiel
    Verchiel July 14, 2008 at 1:43 am |

    RE: Lauren O @ 1:15a

    I think the problem here is that there’s very little that makes this stand out as making fun of the misconceptions in question.

    It’s the very sort of thing you’s see from the braying jackasses at Cox and Forkum, RedState, or LittleGreenFootballs.

  17. Kai
    Kai July 14, 2008 at 1:55 am |

    Any white liberal who thinks this is funny should just go ahead and wear a swastika or fly the stars and bars — satirally, of course, since it’s obviously over the top, I mean, anyone who knows you knows you’re not a Nazi or a Confederate! Haha. How original. White liberals getting a chuckle at the expense of POC and mocking centuries of bloodshed is awesome. Good shit. If you’re a dumb ass.

  18. Kai
    Kai July 14, 2008 at 1:58 am |

    Oops: “satirally” = “satirically”, above.

  19. Roxie
    Roxie July 14, 2008 at 2:05 am |

    Well damn. Renee and Kai said it first.

  20. Official Shrub.com Blog » Blog Archive » The New Yorker gets a 0 on the Swift-o-Meter

    [...] Feministe.   [link] Filed under Books, magazines, etc.; Companies Behaving Badly; Liberal; Politics; [...]

  21. Banisteriopsis
    Banisteriopsis July 14, 2008 at 2:17 am |

    It’s just not funny. Funny would be something *more* than reality. “Terrorist fistbump” really happened. To be funny they’d have to include something extreme, like John McCain in a tank, targeting the Obama house. Or Barak with a black paintbrush. Or something. This is more like Obey’s brand identity. You don’t get cool points when you forget to be ironic.

  22. Greg
    Greg July 14, 2008 at 2:23 am |

    Banisteriopsis, the cartoon is “something more than reality.” Everyone knows they’re not going to be a portrait of Bin Laden in the Obama White House nor are they going to burn American flags for fun.

  23. Marcee
    Marcee July 14, 2008 at 2:28 am |

    Satire is a tricky form whether literary or graphic. It requires “smarts” and a high level of discernment. My fear is that many people looking at this will misinterpret the meaning. Probably many of the sophisticated New Yorker readers will get it, but the masses may not. The New Yorker made a naive assumption here. While the cover is subtitled “The Politics of Fear,” that title will quickly disappear, and this cover picture will have a long, tortured life on the internet. Obama defamers will say, “See. We told you so!” E-mailed copies will proliferate. The Obamas have been fighting a widespread internet campaign that has claimed they are unpatriotic Muslims. This cover reinforces the very stories the couple has relentlessly tried to dispel. Imagine The New Yorker having a cover showing McCain fondling telecon lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, as he looks over his shoulder at a smirking Cindy McCain. The picture would be entitled “The Perils of False Gossip.” Equally offensive and equally unfair.

  24. RL
    RL July 14, 2008 at 4:08 am |

    Remember the Danish cartoons depicting Muhammad? Both Obamma and McCain had a great opportunity to show the rest of the world that we believe in and treasure the free press in America. Both failed to do so. And, look at all the people upset. Look at all the people just as upset and crazy as after the Danish cartoon situation. This is a freedom of the press and freedom of speech issue. It doesn’t matter if I or anyone else appreciates the satire or disagrees with the NewYorker for publishing this cover. The fact of the matter is, we should be proud to live where it can be published and where the press can distribute ideas. Most of the articles and many responses to them I’ve read indicate that a lot of people have forgotten the most basic and best reason to love America. We can exchange ideas and information freely. We are free to agree or disagree with one another. We can even publish a cartoon if we want.

  25. luzzleanne
    luzzleanne July 14, 2008 at 4:56 am |

    Lauren O:

    It’s pretty much already been said, but I think it goes back to the “getting under the wrong people’s skin” thing. When Swift wrote suggesting that breeding the Irish like cattle was a good solution to the hunger problem, the English were horrified, even though that’s pretty much what they were doing. To be good satire this would have to do something that would horrify the rightwing (portraying McCain as a senile old war hawk comes immediately to mind, but frankly those are both relevant to his presidency, unlike Obama’s “terrorist fist jab”).

    The point is, we may think this is so stupid and over the top that it’s laughable, but there are a lot of people out there who actually believe it. There were very few, if any, people who believed that eating babies was a good idea. What the New Yorker needed to hit on for good satire was that “eating babies” level of ridiculousness.

  26. Fuzz
    Fuzz July 14, 2008 at 7:00 am |

    A few observations:

    1) In fairness to the New Yorker, it’s not their job to shore up support for Obama, or to slap down opposition to him. It’s also not their job to dumb down everything they print because some imbeciles will take it the wrong way. Making fun of stupidity, however, *is* part of their job, and I think they succeeded here; it made me laugh. If you disagree, cool, but that’s kind of the point; different people find different things funny.

    This blog, like many other feminist/progressive blogs, regularly satirises the right by engaging in hyperbole that mocks the wingnut view of feminists; humourless, hairy, babykilling sluts. Perhaps some stupid people reading that would take it as validation of their belief that feminists are in fact humourless, babykilling sluts etc. That’s unfortunate, but I don’t think that means one should refrain from attempt at humour or satire because it would provide ammo to the morons who won’t get it.

    2) A hypothetical: Let’s pretend this cartoon had never been published. Would there be any less racism directed at the Obamas? Any less hatred of Muslims in general? Any less of the infantile reduction of news coverage to sound bites and stereotypes? I doubt it. The New Yorker is getting a lot of heat for this cover, which I think is misdirected. Our beef is with the racists and the stupid, lazy newsmedia, both of whom will exist irrespective of this cover. They’re the real enemy, and if you feel that the New Yorker’s decision to publish was impolitic and unwise, it’s worth remembering that it was only so because the magazine has to live in the same world as racists and cretins.

    3) Inevitably, discussions of this sort will produce a liberal circle jerk of holier-than-thou (i.e. less racist than thou) sentiment. Stop it. Just stop it. It’s moronic. Whatever the indelicacies of the decision to publish, it’s okay to find it funny. It’s okay to be white and find it funny at the same time. And comparing this cartoon to either the swastika or the confederate flag is both monstrously stupid and genuinely, unambiguously offensive.

  27. New Yorker Obama Terrorist Cover | Outside The Beltway | OTB

    [...] The Volokh Conspiracy, Moonbattery, The Daily Dish, Blog of the Moderate Left, AMERICAblog News, Feministe, Wake up America, Pensito Review, The Raw Story, Michelle Obama Watch, Buck Naked Politics, [...]

  28. Alas, a blog » Blog Archive » Regarding that New Yorker cover….

    [...] disagree with virtually every person I respect in the political blogosphere. Which certainly makes me realize that I could be mistaken on this [...]

  29. shah8
    shah8 July 14, 2008 at 8:34 am |

    Think of it this way…

    An errant Jonathan Swift would have drawn Irishpeople as pigs with human heads on in a pigsty. It would be just as ridiculous as the English having long pork ribs at a picnic outing. However, the whole point of satire is to paint someone as beyond the boundaries in some form. The prohibition against cannibalism makes the latter satire and the first a tasteless joke.

    The New Yorker isn’t poking fun at some racist white idiot. It’s essentially poking fun at Barack and Michelle at their expense. In the end, satire is a weapon against entrenched mindset.

  30. Cara
    Cara July 14, 2008 at 8:50 am |

    Right RL, because just look at this post and thirty comments saying “Let’s get a bunch of burning torches, march down the the New Yorker building, fuck some shit up and MAKE SURE THEY NEVER PUBLISH AGAIN. That’ll show everyone to never mess with Obama, MUAHAHAHAHA!”

    Oh, wait, no I don’t.

    No one questioned the New Yorker’s right to publish. They questioned whether the New Yorker was being responsible with their position as a respected publication, and whether or not they were reinforcing racism. Kind of NOT THE SAME THING.

  31. Cara
    Cara July 14, 2008 at 8:51 am |

    Also, the lack of critical thinking inherent in your insistence that criticism = restriction of free speech makes me think that you might be in the group people are so worried about not “getting it” . . .

  32. Renee
    Renee July 14, 2008 at 8:56 am |

    @Fuzz this is not about supporting Obama..this is about not using racism to supposedly defend racism. It turns blacks into objects and that is not acceptable. It just as bad as FOX calling Michelle a baby momma in that it plays to the same sort of stereotype.

  33. muffler
    muffler July 14, 2008 at 9:11 am |

    I never thought I would say this because I am an East Coast Liberal, but the editors of the New Yorker are delusional and self-absorbed. I am sure that they saw the humor and understood the intent well amongst themselves in their offices on the upper east side. The problem is they probably thought that everyone else in the country would too and in that lies the problem. They are living up to the other stereotype from the middle of the country… yes they are elitists and in their attempt to parody the dumb rumors of Obama running outside NYC they actually have given them a banner. Thanks guys.

  34. Doug
    Doug July 14, 2008 at 9:33 am |

    Rachel Sklar is probably right that the New Yorker staff assumed their readership would be smart enough to “get” whatever the satirical intent of the cover was. But how did a group of such supposedly “smart” people at the New Yorker not envision how many people wouldn’t “get it” — and how bad the whole thing would look when it finally hit newsstands?

    That, I think, is one of the overarching lessons that needs to be taught in journalism school, law school, and pretty much everywhere else: Just because you have the right to do something, and just because you don’t have malicious intent in doing so, doesn’t mean it’s still not a rippingly bad idea.

  35. Andy
    Andy July 14, 2008 at 9:35 am |

    Maybe I am a little slow, but . . . . SATIRE? I found it great.

  36. Andy
    Andy July 14, 2008 at 9:44 am |

    I should add, to my off the cuff comment, I think the image goes a long way to show just how ridiculous the perception the Obamas as militant muslims sympathetic to the terrorists is. To that end, I feel that the image serves it’s purpose. Doubtless some people will misinterpret it, but I don’t think those people were going to support Obama anyway. For those on the fence, this image will show them just how silly the “whisper campaign” (or more than whispers) really is.

  37. VELMA SABINA!!!
    VELMA SABINA!!! July 14, 2008 at 9:45 am |

    that’s awful, man.

    I f–king hate it.

  38. Kai
    Kai July 14, 2008 at 9:56 am |

    It’s true that different people find different things funny. Some people think racism is funny. Some people think sexism is funny. Some people think homophobia is funny. Other don’t. It’s that simple. If you’re in one of the first three groups, hoorah for you, have a cookie, you’re my enemy.

    I could come up with any number of post-ironic things to say at this moment which would generate outrage among this site’s readers. There is no craft in that beyond middle school or so. People who are still stuck at that level of maturity need upgrades badly. The challenge is to say something intelligent, kiddies, something which illuminates, discerns, and clarifies, not simply something outrageous which rehashes retrogressive cliches. Most people figure that out at some point, but it’s not my job to make sure everyone has the smarts to know the difference.

    It’s not about the canard of free speech (oh please). It’s not about how much this cover adds to or subtracts from the total amount of racism in the world (um, it obviously adds, duh; white people need to stop with this “is it real racism or not real racism?”; liberal racism is if anything more insidious and pervasive than conservative racism). It’s not about the fact that rightwing cavemen don’t get the snickering self-congratulatory self-absorption at the heart of The New Yorker’s style guide. It’s about the substantive artistic and socio-political merit or demerit of the image. People of color roundly think the image is ginormous failage (I won’t bother explaining why here, it’s too tedious and art-schooly; and I’m not looking to Rachel Sklar or any other white person as an authority here, y’all need better sources on such matters). Some white folks count it among the Stuff White People Like. You can figure out the rest, can’tcha?

    Here’s a simple guide for dummies: If you’re white, you don’t get to decide what is or isn’t racist. If you’re a man, you don’t get to decide what is or isn’t sexist. If you’re non-disabled, you don’t get to decide what is or isn’t ablist. Need more examples?

  39. Natmusk
    Natmusk July 14, 2008 at 10:21 am |

    The first thing I thought when I saw this cover was..”that’s ridiculous and I know it’s ridiculous but, juding by comments I’ve seen on some conservative blogs, this is pretty much what people believe is going to happen so what’s the point?”

    I agree that this is just satire gone wrong in that all it does is reiterate what people believe. I thought satire’s point was to take existing beliefs and twist them to highlight what others may be slightly missing about the situation…this is literally looks like they asked some extremem right-wing what will happen if Obama becomes president and then drew a picture of it.

  40. Latoya Peterson
    Latoya Peterson July 14, 2008 at 10:29 am |

    @RL – Freedom of speech does not mean freedom of criticism.

    @Natmusk – exactly – wheres the funny twist to expose the absurdity?

    @Kai – cosign and cosign and I’m heading back to my spot for this topic. Thanks for representing.

  41. Lauren
    Lauren July 14, 2008 at 10:52 am |

    People who are still stuck at that level of maturity need upgrades badly. The challenge is to say something intelligent, kiddies, something which illuminates, discerns, and clarifies, not simply something outrageous which rehashes retrogressive cliches.

    Yes, and yes.

  42. Renee
    Renee July 14, 2008 at 11:14 am |

    @ Kai Here’s a simple guide for dummies: If you’re white, you don’t get to decide what is or isn’t racist. If you’re a man, you don’t get to decide what is or isn’t sexist. If you’re non-disabled, you don’t get to decide what is or isn’t ablist. Need more examples?

    Exactly…all that is necessary for an environment to be hostile is for one person of a marginalized group to feel unnecessarily sitgmatized. The Obamas have denounced this image and I for one stand beside them. I don’t expect someone who has never been the victim of racism to recognize it when they see it simply because they have never been subject to it. For them it is easy to cast aside and minimize because it does not effect their daily lives.

  43. obama is a secret muslim
    obama is a secret muslim July 14, 2008 at 12:16 pm |

    [...] Liberal bloggers are also frothing at the mouth, which is beyond disappointing…and just a bit scary. [...]

  44. Radfem
    Radfem July 14, 2008 at 12:37 pm |

    Considering the racism and sexism entrenched in journalism including so-called liberal media (or maybe especially with liberal media), this cover is disturbing on quite a few levels. When benefactors of racism and sexism spoof either or both from their comfort levels of course, it’s hard to trust their intentions are what they state them to be.

  45. Verchiel
    Verchiel July 14, 2008 at 1:30 pm |

    RE: Andy @ 9:44a

    “I think the image goes a long way to show just how ridiculous the perception the Obamas as militant muslims sympathetic to the terrorists is. To that end, I feel that the image serves it’s purpose.”
    ——————–

    Yes, the perception is ridiculous, but where’s the exaggeration or context that would make this anything more than a repetition/reflection of these delusional smears?

    Show it as a daydream coalescing out of a cloud of Limbaugh’s cigar smoke, or on an easel in a FOX News pitch meeting. Anything, really…

    As is, it’s just something for the Dittoheads to nod at.

  46. everybody else is talking about it, why not me « Clueless White Woman

    [...] Uncategorized — by clueless @ 5:35 pm Tags: cluelessness, CONSPIRACY! Yes, it’s that “satirical” Obama [...]

  47. Barry Doesn’t Like This « The Reluctant Optimist

    [...] Barry doesn’t like this and neither do his supporters, who also need to grow a pair it seems. Considering how they have used similar [...]

  48. Renee
    Renee July 14, 2008 at 2:12 pm |

    @Radfem When benefactors of racism and sexism spoof either or both from their comfort levels of course, it’s hard to trust their intentions are what they state them to be.
    I don’t trust them period. They have to much to gain from continuing the systems of power that create women and minorities as other.

  49. Don’t forget it’s satire « Feminocracy

    [...] Believe it or not, I only caught the New Yorker cover that everyone is talking about this morning. Perhaps if the image included a reference to all of the Fox newspeople who honestly [...]

  50. Orville
    Orville July 14, 2008 at 4:10 pm |

    This cartoon is not satire it is racism plain and simple racism and a fear of the powerful African Americans in American politics. I think there is a real fear in Liberal and Conservative white America about Barack and Michelle Obama they don’t know “how” to “deal” with them. In American politics blacks are so used to being on the sidelines not in the front row. Barack and Michelle Obama are challenging the racist assumption that blacks don’t want leadership roles and this strikes a fear in white America.

  51. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne July 14, 2008 at 5:55 pm |

    And, of course, this gives the right wing a chance to play the “Even the Liberal New Yorker” game. Roy Edroso at Alicublog has already found some fine examples of people like Instapundit snickering that they’ll be able to shift blame away from themselves and towards the New Yorker if Obama loses.

    When the people who are supposed to be the object of your parody decide that your parody supports their view, I think we can call that Epic Fail.

  52. exholt
    exholt July 14, 2008 at 7:02 pm |

    never thought I would say this because I am an East Coast Liberal, but the editors of the New Yorker are delusional and self-absorbed. I am sure that they saw the humor and understood the intent well amongst themselves in their offices on the upper east side.

    This along with other comments insinuating that one has to be “smart” to get the humor plays perfectly into the stereotype of the snobby self-absorbed upper east side White “Liberal” elitist along with betraying a high degree of race and class privilege.

    Tip to the highfalutin New Yorker editorial board: If you and/or your supporters have to make snobby obscurantist arguments that one must be “smart” and “sophisticated” enough to get the humor…..you have failed!!!

  53. urbanaratiste
    urbanaratiste July 14, 2008 at 7:07 pm |

    After all the horrible image depictions of Sen. Hillary Clinton, I have no sympathy for the Obama camp. We have free speech in this country and he needs to get over it. This is another classic example of how no one is allowed to say anything that will hurt his campaign. Obama can not control every little word, idea or image, nor can they control what Americans think about him. People are free to think and depict anything they want even if he is unhappy about it.

  54. Radfem
    Radfem July 14, 2008 at 7:08 pm |

    And equating “smart” with “educated”.

  55. Lauren O
    Lauren O July 14, 2008 at 7:17 pm |

    Thank you for the education on the subject, folks. Looks like the New Yorker’s intentions were in the right place, but they failed.

  56. urbanaratiste
    urbanaratiste July 14, 2008 at 7:31 pm |

    Only when these stereotypes and prejudices are revealed is there a forum for discussion and that makes for great art in my opinion. When it pushes people out of their comfort zone to question something.

    My inclusion of Hillary has to do with the silence of the DNC and Obama in the unending sexism that she was verbally and visually hit with. Why did the DNC or Obama vigorously denounce that if this type of stuff hurts all people?

  57. urbanaratiste
    urbanaratiste July 14, 2008 at 7:32 pm |

    I meant, Why didn’t the DNC or Obama vigorously denounce the media sexism if it hurts all people, particularly women?

  58. Onymous
    Onymous July 14, 2008 at 8:59 pm |

    I’ve got to say this image completely baffled me when i first saw it.
    I thought it was a sepia tone Carrot Top, so my first thought was “Obama picks terrible prop comic for VP slot.”

  59. Charity
    Charity July 14, 2008 at 8:59 pm |

    Intentions don’t really matter when the end result is this revolting (although I’m not convinced their intentions were in the right place, at all). I think Renee said it best right off the bat:

    “You cannot fight racism by using racism. It is disgusting and demeaning on many levels. This is not the work of an ally, this is someone pandering to the lowest common denominator. How many times are POC going to be objectified to prove a point? Does anyone really give a shit that we matter, or how we might even feel about this disgusting mess?”

    And there’s not enough room to re-quote all of Kai’s posts. Objectified is exactly the word. One cannot make racist images “ironic” or satirical. And white people CERTAINLY don’t get to try, and make x, y, z claims about the worth of such an endeavor…

    “…Only when these stereotypes and prejudices are revealed is there a forum for discussion…”

    These prejudices and stereotypes are a revelation to you? Where have you been? No, I’m serious.

    I’m a Clinton supporter and I’m appalled someone would try to excuse this on the basis of the (very real) sexism she experienced. One does not excuse the other and Obama does not *deserve* such a characterization based on his *behavior*. The very notion of a racist portrayal being “fair” or not, based on MERIT, is deeply offensive.

    Tangentially, there used to be great buttons in the comment thingy for automatic italics, bold, quotes, etc. for the html-impaired like me. am I the only one who no longer sees them?

  60. urbanaratiste
    urbanaratiste July 14, 2008 at 9:02 pm |

    The cover is only acceptable in terms of free speech. But I think it is an image that anyone, even those that are against Obama, realizes is racist. All I hear in the media tonight is how this image is going to turn people against Obama. That is untrue. And I think the cover pushes the envelope, but makes a great visual statement at how ridiculous the idea of the Obamas as terrorist, whether domestic or foreign.

    The other thing that this cover makes a statement about is how contrite and scripted this entire election cycle has become. Not only this one, but others. What clothes a candidate wears, what colors, what lapel pins – ridiculous. This cover reflects the contrast between how much a candidate can control regarding image and how much they can not.

  61. tekanji
    tekanji July 14, 2008 at 9:06 pm |

    I just wanted to say that I have yet to see one person make a case for why this qualifies as satire, aside from them being smart/witty/good enough to “get it”. That’s great, but all that does it mean that you’re part of the “in-group” for an “in-joke”. The ability for people who already believe the object of mockery is ridiculous to see a supposed satire as ridiculous is irrelevant; the dividing line comes from the supposed satire’s ability to make people who agree with the ridiculous argument see the ridiculousness of it.

    As has been asked many times before: How does this cover do that? Where does it show the logical fallacies in the claims that its summarizing?

  62. urbanaratiste
    urbanaratiste July 14, 2008 at 9:27 pm |

    We are talking about the same magazine that in 1993 put an illustration of an Orthodox Jew and Black woman kissing. I vividly remember the uproar the New York Orthodox community had with that cover. So, why is anyone surprised they would pull a cover like the one now? Because, they are Northeast, educated elites?

  63. Kity
    Kity July 14, 2008 at 10:22 pm |

    There is tons of classism all over this as well.

    Why does comment after comment mention that they know “we” will get it, but maybe not those in fly over country?

  64. Roxie
    Roxie July 14, 2008 at 10:35 pm |

    Charity, re: tangent
    You are correct, those buttons are no longer there. However, if you still want to bold, you can use and for italics you can use

    like this!

  65. Roxie
    Roxie July 14, 2008 at 10:37 pm |

    darnit, Charity the code for bold is “” and for italics is “

  66. Roxie
    Roxie July 14, 2008 at 10:46 pm |

    argh. last time use the word “strong” in brackets for bold and the word “em” for italics.

  67. tekanji
    tekanji July 14, 2008 at 10:58 pm |

    Roxie: Brackets are automatically processed. If you want them to show up, you can use & lt; (<) and & gt; (>) (no spaces between the & and the lt; or gt;). It’ll show up like this:

    For bolded text use: <strong>text you want bolded<strong>
    For italicized text use: <em>text you want bolded<em>

    Although, personally, I use <b> and <i> since they tend to show up the same and it’s less to type. ;)

  68. tekanji
    tekanji July 14, 2008 at 10:59 pm |

    Oops, I messed up my italics tag, lol.

  69. shah8
    shah8 July 15, 2008 at 12:10 am |

    It’s not so much that I don’t know html, it just seems like different sites have different html rules, which makes it difficult for me to just learn it by osmosis.

  70. exholt
    exholt July 15, 2008 at 12:13 am |

    Well now, if we’re going to criticize elitist liberal New Yorkers, let’s at least get the neighborhoods straight — everyone knows that the stereotypical intellectual elite live on the Upper West Side, not the Upper East ;-)

    I realize that the upper west side is now competing with the upper east side for the title of being THE haven for elitist liberal New Yorkers. If you had said that a decade and a half ago, however, most New Yorkers would have looked at you like you were high on something. ;)

  71. What if they tried to similarly satirize John and Cindy on the cover of The New Yorker? « Professor, What If…?

    [...] good round up, see Michelle Obama Watch here or take in Jill’s link-filled piece at Feministe here. And, to sign a letter calling upon the magazine to pull this issue from news stands, see The [...]

  72. sydney
    sydney July 15, 2008 at 2:03 am |

    Have you all seen the recent NY Times article on this? its at http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/15/us/politics/15humor.html?hp=&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1216101688-fB/8ZWn8F/QmZRGKjuS0qQ

    basically it talks about how hard it is for comics to make fun of Obama. Its a “weird form of reverse racism” according to Jimmy Kimmel. Boo. Hoo. Hoo.

    This whole thing is crazy, but at least I have something else to be pissed at besides the bar exam…

  73. tekanji
    tekanji July 15, 2008 at 3:40 am |

    shah8: Both WordPress and Blogger allow standard HTML tags such as: <strong> (same as <b>), <em> (same as <i>), <u>, <blockquote>, and <a href=”{URL}”>

    Hmm, I wonder if they allow the strike tag (<s<)…

    Other blog types tend to use proprietary formats and/or simply remove/ignore code altogether. Incidently, LJ like WP and Blogger allows most standard HTML tags.

  74. luzzleanne
    luzzleanne July 15, 2008 at 5:58 am |

    Why does comment after comment mention that they know “we” will get it, but maybe not those in fly over country?

    I can only speak for myself here, but for me “we” equals “people who already think these arguments against Obama are ridiculous” and “they” equals “people who think they’re valid arguments,” more than anything to do with class, geography, or even political alignment. It’s less about those things than it is about convincing yourself to believe an argument by ignoring any and all evidence.

    That’s why this piece is failed satire: it just repeats those arguments without doing anything with them. People who already think they’re funny and ridiculous will still think they’re funny and ridiculous, and people who believe they’re valid aren’t challenged at all. It’s speaking to the wrong group.

  75. Orville
    Orville July 15, 2008 at 9:31 am |

    I think the New Yorker obviously wants to sell more copies of their magazine and of course generate free publicity. The editors of the New Yorker knew exactly what they were doing when they published this disgusting racist cover of the Obamas. I think the cover is deleterious but I also believe this should be a wake up call to anyone that think it is just the “conservatives” that have a problem with the Obamas. The truth is the so called “liberal media” and “liberal politicians” some of them also have an axe to grind against Barack Hussein Obama and his wife Michelle Obama because they are black. American politics is changing and for some people in white America the change is occurring too quickly for them they don’t like it. The cartoon is an expression of this fear that has existed. Although it is true the Obamas have to expect criticism because this is the political arena and politics can be dirty. Barack of course knows he will be criticized because that’s part of the game of politics as well. However, I believe this cartoon is not satire I believe it is racism and it just is trying to position the Obamas as “the other”. The burning American flag in the fireplace is so offensive on many levels it is trying to say the Obamas aren’t “American enough” meaning not “white enough” to be a part of the political process. The fear in white liberal ans conservative America is that there really could be a black president in November 2008. And the cartoon is really about fear it is about generating all the negative stereotypes about the Obamas and trying to spread fear to the masses.

  76. James Stanhope
    James Stanhope July 15, 2008 at 11:43 am |

    Orville said: “… I believe this cartoon is not satire; I believe it is racism …” [semicolon added].

    I myself am not absolutely certain that this cartoon even unintentionally reveals the cartoonist’s/editors’ racism — although it could, because only Caucasians are likely to find white racist stereotypes of the Obamas entertaining, and sometimes Caucasians with insufficient self-awareness will unwittingly feed their own unconscious racism by way of publishing racist imagery ostensibly in order to mock that imagery, but in fact in order to flatter a specific Caucasian demographic’s belief in its own exceptionalism — in other words, white editors flattering a specific white audience’s sense of its moral superiority over other, less-enlightened whites, in total disregard of how publication of racist imagery might actually impact people of color.

    I’m not well-informed about concepts of “privileged” control of the media, but I think that the New Yorker’s cartoon could be called an expression of “privileged” humor, since it’s published by Caucasians and aimed mostly at Caucasians who do not feel threatened by white racism or its imagery, and who therefore arrogate the privilege of being entertained by the racist imagery of less-enlightened whites, regardless of how such publications impact non-whites.

    I tried to explain this on another blog in a thread dominated by folks who described themselves as ‘white liberals,’ and they had no idea what I was talking about. They enjoyed the fact that the cartoon was ostensibly mocking other whites who, these ‘liberals’ believed, were less enlightened than ‘liberal’ readers, and therefore ‘liberal’ readers could enjoy the cartoon in good conscience, regardless of how the cartoon impacted folks who are targets of white racism. So I described this as showing a “privileged” sense of humor. So far no one on that thread has responded.

  77. season of the bitch » Still have post in draft, but free speech always comes first

    [...] So I guess I’ve got to weigh in on this New Yorker cover thang. Some comments here, here, here, here and here. And a particularly good one [...]

  78. Charity
    Charity July 15, 2008 at 7:07 pm |

    Thanks to all for the info on the tags. And thanks to James for this:

    “…but in fact in order to flatter a specific Caucasian demographic’s belief in its own exceptionalism — in other words, white editors flattering a specific white audience’s sense of its moral superiority over other, less-enlightened whites, in total disregard of how publication of racist imagery might actually impact people of color.”

    which puts it so well.

  79. INotI
    INotI July 15, 2008 at 7:50 pm |

    So what makes this cover any different from the dozens of jokes Stephen Colbert has made in-character to the effect of “Barack Obama is a terrorist”?

  80. Roxie
    Roxie July 15, 2008 at 7:56 pm |

    Colbert’s entire character is a satire of the talking heads on Fox, which I think is made very clear.

  81. INotI
    INotI July 15, 2008 at 8:00 pm |

    So? The cover is equally as clearly a satire of the right’s views of Barack Obama, given what I see as the long-standing left-wing credibility of the NYer. The only difference I see between them is that one has to be sought out on TV, and one appears on the newstand for everyone to see.

  82. ohio teach
    ohio teach July 15, 2008 at 8:15 pm |

    Here’s what I’m getting from the brouhaha over this cover, here and all over the left blogosphere: “of course, I’m smart enough to get this, but I worry that my countrymen and women are too dumb to get it.”

    We won’t get very far if we jump to say that Americans are stupid (stupider than us). We need to educate them and to let them see that we believe they are educable.

    Are we on the left up to the challenge?

  83. shah8
    shah8 July 15, 2008 at 8:36 pm |

    *sigh*
    at the very end…
    satire mocks agency. It takes the action of one or more agencies from one standard context, and places it in a different context or reference(pov) point. The cover was humor, but not satire, at least not in the global sense. The only thing that acts as a satirizing agent is the fistbump and the burning flag. However, we have no clear idea of why they are happening. Something that weakly satirical doesn’t count, in my book.

    The New Yorker simply wanted to be edgy, without actually offending anybody who “matters”. Depicting white people as racists who believe that Obama is a Muslim would have brought a firestorm of criticism. This way, it’s much safer. Black people can be muffled about the Angela Davisization of Michelle Obama, and Barack is just a tad too busy (and locked into unthreatening), to fire back.

    It’s a racist cartoon, by racists, for racists. Hipster racist do this all the time. Blaming uncouth lower class whites “for making race an issue” and putting out their own racist feelings. It happened before when many “leftwing” bloggers were talking about how we should overturn the popular vote because Obama is too black for America, when it’s that Obama’s too black for them.

  84. Roxie
    Roxie July 16, 2008 at 12:02 am |

    INotI saidSo? The cover is equally as clearly a satire of the right’s views of Barack Obama, given what I see as the long-standing left-wing credibility of the NYer. The only difference I see between them is that one has to be sought out on TV, and one appears on the newstand for everyone to see.

    The cover is NOT clearly satire. There is no context on the cover to indicate that this is satire. None. In satire, it should be clearly who is the object of the criticism and the only people I see on the cover are the Obamas.

  85. Em
    Em July 16, 2008 at 10:42 am |

    InotI – the difference between actively and passively encountering this image is huge here. Someone watching “The Colbert Report” has likely actively sought out the program. It’s on a television network called *Comedy Central*. Pretty much everything about the way the show is structured emphasises the fact that it is based on mockery and satire.

    A cover on a newsstand is seen passively. Anyone walking by a newsstand can see it. If someone knows that The New Yorker has “long-standing left-wing credibility”, then sure, the image will be easily read as some sort of commentary not necessarily about the Obamas. But there is no inherent context in encountering the magazine on the rack at Barnes & Nobel – nothing to indicate that it frequently uses humor. Nothing to indicate that it is critical of the whisper campaign slandering Obama. To someone completely unfamiliar with the editorial positions of the NYer, there is no context to indicate that the subject of the image is not what is there on the page.

  86. Kai
    Kai July 17, 2008 at 11:58 am |

    Okay I gave in and wrote a post. ;-)

  87. It’s the New Yorker, people! « A Lesbian and a Scholar

    [...] the first things I heard of the cover were from Feministe and Feministing.  Commenters on both blogs recognized the joke, but argued that only the [...]

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