Saturday, July 19, 2008

That New Yorker Cover

When does satire no longer work? That's the question we've been asking ourselves since the New Yorker's Obama as Muslim terrorist cover hit the stands. Is it Swiftian-level satire or a swing and a miss that perpetuates misconceptions? Is it a New York intellectual sensibility that is out of touch with the rest of America or have we become a people who are on the edge, constantly looking for something that offends our tender sensibilities?

As much as it pains me to say this, I think we are living in times, or in a society where a solid minority (please let it still at least be a minority) of people prefer seeking anything they can find to reinforce a belief rather than question a misconception. A society where debate has been replaced by mocking, shouted accusations and innuendo. Where nuance is unknown or recognized.

By these standards, I believe the cover was a massive mis-fire. I wish it wasn't. I would love to think we're a society where everyone would see this as it was intended, over-the-top humorous references to ridiculous slurs and rumors. But if one truly believes those slurs and rumors are reality, is the image a cartoon, or a self-fulfilling prophecy?


Blogger buckarooskidoo said...

I don't know...I thought the cover was very clever, since it managed to encompass every loony rumor and internet slur on the Obamas. But I agree, it would be a mistake to overestimate the relative sophistication of this electorate.

12:59 PM  

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