Wednesday, July 16, 2008

That NEW YORKER cover and the Obama campaign

By now, you've surely heard of that New Yorker magazine cover on the Obamas--a satirical illustration showing a beturbaned Obama fist-bumping with a radical, revolutionary Michelle Obama in the White House, an American flag burning in the fireplace, a picture of Osama Bin Laden on the wall. It was satire, making fun of the misconceptions some radical anti-Obama partisans have. But many were shocked and outraged at the cover. John McCain criticized it; and Barack Obama and his followers have been loudly critical of it.

But today Roger Simon of The Politico gets it right, saying basically: lighten up, people. It's satire:

"...his was the main line of attack that critics of the magazine took. Sure, the ultra-sophisticated readers of the New Yorker will understand that the cover is a satire, the critics said, but many people will not. Many people, they argue, will take the cover seriously and believe that the Obamas revere Osama bin Laden, hate the American flag, carry assault rifles and are dangerous Islamic radicals. And, the argument goes, the New Yorker should not have run the cover for that reason.
But this is what is called the Idiot’s Veto. If a single person might not get a joke, then you should not tell the joke. All humor (and everything else) should be reduced to the lowest common denominator just to make sure nobody misunderstands anything."

And there's also this: isn't this, too, elitism? The Obama campaign seems to be saying this: that, hey, those dumb, rube hayseeds in Flyover America are too stupid to understand this cover.

Guess what: they aren't. But the Obama campaign at times is too stupid to understand many ordinary Americans.