Satire? I think not!

Magazine's Obama Satire Sparks Furor // New Yorker magazine cover depicting Barack & Michelle Obama (© 'Today')

Publication shows candidate dressed as a Muslim, his wife as a terrorist…

WASHINGTON – Barack Obama‘s campaign says a satirical New Yorker magazine cover showing the Democratic presidential candidate dressed as a Muslim and his wife as a terrorist is “tasteless and offensive.”

The illustration on the issue that hits newsstands Monday, titled “The Politics of Fear” and drawn by Barry Blitt, depicts Barack Obama wearing traditional Muslim garb — sandals, robe and turban — and his wife, Michelle — dressed in camouflage, combat boots and an assault rifle strapped over her shoulder — standing in the Oval Office.

The couple is doing a fist tap in front of a fireplace in which an American flag is burning. Over the mantel hangs a portrait of Osama bin Laden.

“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,” said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton. “But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree.”

In a statement Monday, the magazine said the cover “combines a number of fantastical images about the Obamas and shows them for the obvious distortions they are.”

“The burning flag, the nationalist-radical and Islamic outfits, the fist-bump, the portrait on the wall? All of them echo one attack or another. Satire is part of what we do, and it is meant to bring things out into the open, to hold up a mirror to prejudice, the hateful, and the absurd. And that’s the spirit of this cover,” the New Yorker statement said.

The statement also pointed to the two articles on Obama contained inside the magazine, calling them “very serious.”

Republican John McCain‘s campaign spokesman, Tucker Bonds, agreed that the cover was “tasteless and offensive.”

 

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1 Comment

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One response to “Satire? I think not!

  1. The reaction to the New Yorker cover has been absurd.

    If there is still someone out there who a) has never heard the rumor that the Obamas are America-hating Black separatist Muslim terrorists, but b) would believe as much if he heard it–is it really very likely that the cover of The New Yorker will provide his first exposure to those ideas?

    The idea that it is racist is nonsense: the Afro and fist-bump are not generalized racial caricatures, but rather direct allusions to specific accusations leveled at the Obamas. The right’s coöption of each concept is fair game for satire, and it’s not clear how artist Barry Blitt could have depicted them in a non-racially specific way.

    I have much more to say on these subjects here.

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