Plenty of people are weighing in on The New Yorker’s satirical cover of the Obamas as terrorists.
My two cents: Timing, especially in comedy, is everything – and, in this case, the gag would have made much more sense back when the Obama-is-a-Muslim stuff was in full gear. By now the issue has died down, so if you don’t like it, why re-inject it into the national debate?
Here’s the quote from Obama spokesman Bill Burton: “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. But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree.”
Check out this clip of CNN’sWolf Blitzer interviewing New Yorker editor David Remnick about the cover.
Plus a few quick takes from other pundits …
GAWKER: “This is the problem with being an editor or publisher or writer or cartoonist or even blogger and having some small lingering trace of a sense of ironysometimes you accidentally assume that the Vast and Mysterious “Audience” shares that subversive French sense.”
Byron York, NATIONAL REVIEW: “Privately, some McCain types admit they find the cover funny. And how bad can it be for your campaign when a national magazine, in an effort to take a shot at Fox News and talk radio, portrays your opponent like this? Some of Obama’s supporters are likely to go over the top in their defensive outrage, sending subtle reinforcements to viewers who already believe that McCain is stronger than Obama on the issue of terrorism. Maybe it’s funny, and maybe it’s tasteless and offensive maybe all three but it will be noticed.”
Jake Tapper, ABC NEWS: “Intent factors into these matters, of course, but no Upper East Side liberal – no matter how superior they feel their intellect is – should assume that just because they’re mocking such ridiculousness, the illustration won’t feed into the same beast in emails and other media. It’s a recruitment poster for the right-wing.” (Click here to read Tapper’s follow-up post, including Remnick’s rebuttal.)
Andrew Sullivan, THE ATLANTIC: “I thought it was quite funny myself. This was obviously intended ironically, and it’s not exactly Parade magazine.”
Eve Fairbanks, THE NEW REPUBLIC: “This week’s cover seems to me ultimately more dull than provocative – a collection of the most obvious smear narratives about Obama, lumped together and mediocrely illustrated. It’s no better than Perry Bacon’s infamous Washington Post story, “Foes Use Obama’s Muslim Ties to Fuel Rumors About Him.” Both outlets claimed not to support the allegations they were visually or rhetorically putting forward – obviously! – and yet a reader would have to have a fairly sophisticated understanding of each outlet’s ethos to immediately intuit the intended ironic distance.”
Michael Weiss, PAJAMASMEDIA: “Listening to the chorus of fainthearted responses to this week’s New Yorker cover, one gets the impression that satire, like everything else in our sad culture, must now come with a warning label and child-safety latch.”