Monday, July 14, 2008

Lame satire

By Michael J.W. Stickings

It may be satire, of a kind, and the editor responsible for publishing it may be defending it, but, whatever else it is, it's pretty lousy satire that badly misses the mark. The mark, of course, is the right, the Republican smear machine that targets Obama -- caricaturing him as a dangerous, anti-American, pro-terrorist Muslim black man -- but is it clear what the mark is, or that it is even intended as satire?

To those of us who are familiar with The New Yorker, yes, I suppose it is. But not to everyone else. And satire, I would argue, must at some level be obvious, that is, must be understood to be satire.

My initial reaction to it was, Oh, I see, that's supposed to be how the right is portraying Obama. I get it. But then: Yeah, that's not funny at all. And not terribly perceptive. Or creative. Actually, pretty lame. And cheap.

So the magazine cover is either a) lame, or b) not obviously satire. Maybe that's part of the joke -- right-wingers not getting it. But that's not funny either. We already know right-wingers don't get it, just like we know they don't need The New Yorker to show them on its cover what they already think of Obama.

I can't get too worked up about it, though. It's the cover of a magazine that I rarely read -- and, when I do, it's in electronic form. I'd be more worked up if it were, say, Time or Newsweek, but, even then, it's not like a cartoon of such lameness will change any minds.

(More reaction here.)

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