Tuesday, July 15, 2008
By GLEN JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer 10 minutes ago
CHICAGO - Democrat Barack Obama said Tuesday that the New Yorker magazine's satirical cover depicting him and his wife as flag-burning, fist-bumping radicals doesn't bother him but that it was an insult to Muslim Americans.
"You know, there are wonderful Muslim Americans all across the country who are doing wonderful things," the presidential candidate told CNN's Larry King. "And for this to be used as sort of an insult, or to raise suspicions about me, I think is unfortunate. And it's not what America's all about."
Obama blamed himself for not being forceful enough in challenging some of the rumors about him, including that he is Muslim. Obama is Christian.
Let me get this straight... Both Obama and some of his overly earnest (read, "dumb"--either that or "age 18") supporters are actually upset about this cover?
For the very young or the very dumb supporters' edification: "The New Yorker" is a relatively sophisticated East Coast-published (LIBERAL) magazine that's been around since the 1920s. It's famous for its thoughtful, in-depth coverage of all aspects of society (ranging from sports to libraries to art to movie stars to paleontology to politics---you name it), as well as its fiction, poetry, cartoons, reviews, and... (gasp!) SATIRICAL COVERS.
I can maybe slightly understand if the young and/or dumb don't have any idea what "The New Yorker" or its editorial viewpoint is and so go off half-cocked. (I actually read one blogger who kicked some people off her blog for "not understanding" why she was so upset with this cover---"You fuckheads!" she cried.)
But Obama's statement above to CNN's Larry King is completely, ridiculously disingenuous. The man is intelligent and sophisticated enough to know better, to be completely aware of the magazine's political leanings. The only possible reason I can see for his statement to King is to once again (as he did during the primary campaign against Hillary Clinton) attempt to play the victim. ("Geraldine Ferraro is racist!" stands out particularly in my mind.)
I've been a regular reader and subscriber of "The New Yorker" for something like 15 years now. (And, as a Hillary supporter, was mightily irritated by what I saw as their constant snarky editorial snipes at her during this spring's Democratic primaries.) Trust me: They like Obama. A lot.
Their cover art depicting Barack in Muslim attire fist-bumping his guerrilla-garbed wife Michelle (with her wild Afro), a portrait of Osama bin Laden hanging over the mantle, and an American flag burning in the fireplace is a highly and overtly satirical jab at the few idiotic extreme right-wingers who claim that Obama and his wife are Muslim terrorists.
Now, if the same cover had appeared on "The National Review" or "Guns and Ammo" or whatever...that's a different story altogether. Given these magazines' extreme right-wing agendas, obviously such a cover would indicate an attempt to propagate the lie that the Obamas are radical Muslims. While I don't personally admire Obama very much (though I'll be voting for him), I would indeed be outraged about such a false portrayal appearing in those non-satirical contexts.
But I like and understand my "New Yorker" a lot. It's rational, it's funny, it's intelligent. And it's scary to me to see supposedly left-wing rational and intelligent Obama supporters, and Obama himself, speak out against satire...and FOR the dumbing down of American discourse. Obama should know better.