Monday, July 14, 2008

"But Other People Will Think It's Real...."

That's Daniel Larison's take on The New Yorker's Barack Obama cover.
In an era of instant, mass communication, the image will be, indeed already has been, circulated widely and will gradually lose whatever “ironic” edge it once had. That the image derived from a New Yorker cover and was intended for an audience of high-information, predominantly left-leaning voters who already support Obama will be irrelevant or will add to the “credibility” of what the image conveys. Then the word will go forth in forwarded emails everywhere: “Even The New Yorker thinks Obama is a secret Muslim, etc…”
If, after a torrent of publicity over "People won't get the joke", there truly are some people who don't get the joke... Well, that brand of "true believer" wasn't going to vote for Obama in the first place.

But how many of these people, effectively characterized as Republican rubes, are out there? And why isn't it "elitist" to speak to them in these terms? (clarification: This isn't a partisan shot - my original reaction was to the post quoted above, from a conservative blog.)

Lawyers, Guns & Money: "On the proposition that all satire requires extensive belaboring-the-obvious signaling lest some complete idiot misunderstand the point, I vote 'no.'"

Opinions You Should Have: "A satiric drawing meant to make fun of all the things that scare poorly informed, rabidly ignorant Americans about Barack Obama has terrified Barack Obama's campaign team, who are concerned that it will scare poorly informed, rabidly ignorant Americans about Barack Obama."


  1. Let's take this from a different view...can you imagine if they had drawn McCain with some stereotypical Christian fundamentalist garb (whatever that may be) with a picture of the manger or Jesus or whatever over the mantel? Can you imagine the fuss that Fox News et al would have kicked up over the stereotyping?

    OTOH, maybe the fundies would have been thrilled.

  2. I can imagine the fuss, certainly, if there were somehow a parallel parody of smears against McCain.


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