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New Yorker Cover: When the Joke’s Not on You

July 15th, 2008 | by Omnipotent Poobah |

Ice Station Tango

A Tip O’ the Satirical Cap to Station Agent

Fill in the blank. A New Yorker magazine cover is to Barak Obama what a National Review cover is to (blank).

A geriatric John McCain in a wheelchair! Get it? Now THAT’S funny! But, what about those thousands of Nimrod-in-Chief Hitler caricatures? Funny as hell they were. Why, some of the Photoshopped mash-ups of Lil’ Napoleon dressed as a terrorist rival the New Yorker’s noteworthy effort. And don’t even get me started on the Cindy McCain and Laura Bush robot jokes - it’s comic gold I tell ya’, comic gold!

It’s also time for a slap up side the head.

Dueling Typewriters and Pens
The much-excoriated New Yorker cover is no more over the top than a thousand other satirical cartoons produced by the left and right. Satire, especially political satire, always goes for the gut. By its nature, it’s a knife fight of dueling typewriters and cartoonists’ pens. It’s often over the top and vicious and it’s supposed to be. If it wasn’t, it would be a wonkish, stuffy policy discussion - boring as hell and not nearly as stress-relieving as a good belly laugh.

Political cartoons - especially good ones - often reveal a truth. In this case, a truth about those who cry over spilt cartoonists’ ink with claims the cartoon will bring about a sure victory for Yertle the Turtle McCain and the simultaneous collapse of Western civilization.

Hogswallop! If Obama is such a weak candidate a satirical cartoon will topple him, we’ve all got much bigger worries.

Satire’s a Good Thing
Many of the righteously indignant claim the cover only enforces the misperceptions and outright lies of the anti-Obaminator crowd. It probably does, but given the New Yorker’s position as one of the ring leaders in the right’s liberal media elite, I’m guessing not many Bushies or McCainiacs will pick up a copy to nod with satisfaction that the media finally got it right and has come over to the dark side. Therein lies the satire. The cover’s not a satire because it confirms anti-Obama views. It’s a satire because it lampoons the addle-brained, fear-mongering anti-Obamans.

Satire’s a good thing. It allows us to laugh when, by all rights, we should be crying. Righteous indignation has it’s place too. We should be righteously pissed at the things going on in our country and a good rant is a way to make that point strongly. And if you’re handy with a cartoonist’s pen or a keyboard, satire is a particularly delicious way to do it. I satirize my political opponents often and when I do there are plenty of pats on the back for administering a good, old-fashioned, ass-kicking screed against the dark forces of the right - comments that come from some of the same people now seeing satire in a different light.

This satire also reveals another dark truth. By wasting energy on a satire with the weight of a politicized Dilbert cartoon, the righteously indignant crowd puts themselves exactly where those being lampooned want them - firmly among the hypocritical for laughing at right-bashing satire while carping about vicious pens turned on their own main man.

Your attitudes only help those who want to see us fail and want to harm us. Why do you hate America and want the terrorists to win?

BTW, that last sentence was satire.

Get it?
Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

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  1. 6 Responses to “New Yorker Cover: When the Joke’s Not on You”

  2. By Craig R. Harmon on Jul 16, 2008 | Reply

    I just think it was a stupid idea. The people it was lampooning are hardly the type to be noticing or giving a rip about The New Yorker and passers-bye at a magazine rack were, I think, for the most part, unlikely to get the actual point of the satire and wonder what the hell The New Yorker editors had against the Obama’s.

    As for the satire, I could barely suppress a yawn. It hardly seems worth getting up in arms about.

    Want to hear something REALLY outrageous? A 57 year old student at Indiana University - Purdue University, Indianapolis was caught red handed, get this, reading a book while on his break! Shocking, I know, but, well, the PC police have so thoroughly taken over universities and certain folk have so thoroughly taken on the role of victim in this country that the man got into serious hot water over it.

    You see, it was a scholarly treatment of a historical incident in which students of Notre Dame University, in 1924, fought the Ku Klux Klan and beat them, apparently, pretty badly. The book is, by the way, carried by the university library. One wouldn’t think reading a scholarly book would be a problem, particularly not one that was anti-KKK in nature but, well, you see, it had a picture on the front of hooded KKKers and burning crosses. The janitor student was observed reading said book by a black co-worker and mayhem ensued. The black co-worker reported the janitor’s abhorrent reading behavior and…well, read for yourself.

  3. By Craig R. Harmon on Jul 16, 2008 | Reply

    Such incidents are beyond satire in that they are satires of themselves and would be hilarious if actual people weren’t hurt in the process.

  4. By Craig R. Harmon on Jul 16, 2008 | Reply

    The New Yorker story is of an exercise of free press in which, rightly or wrongly, the magazine came in for some criticism for its choice of cover art. The IU-PUI story is a travesty. It’s sad that it took the actions of two legal organizations, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and the American Civil Liberties Union and threats of law-suits to get the University to apologize for their idiocy and abridgment of the right to read a book in the name of caving in to rampant victimology.

  5. By Dusty on Jul 16, 2008 | Reply

    I agree with you Poobie!!! Love this post and I will be quoting it! Blog on m’dear! ;)

  6. By Jet Netwal on Jul 16, 2008 | Reply

    Free speech isn’t for sissies…

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