Obama a Muslim and Michelle a militant?

Despite huge criticism for depicting Barack Obama and his wife, satirically, in a radically unpatriotic light, The New Yorker magazine refuses to apologise, saying that "satire is part of what we do". Obama's campaign team doesn't find it so funny though.

The illustration shows the Democratic candidate dressed in traditional Islamic clothing along with his Kalashnikov-armed wife in what looks like the oval office. Below a painting of what seems to be Osama bin Laden, the American flag burns in the fireplace. Obama's campaign team yesterday condemned the satirical depiction, calling it "tasteless and offensive". The New Yorker's editor defended it however, saying that the cover was "meant to bring things out into the open, to hold up a mirror to prejudice, the hateful, and the absurd". He also pointed out that the copy of the New Yorker, which is a publication known for its liberal leanings, also contains two in-depth articles about the Illinois senator.

Obama has faced continuous allegations about his religious beliefs and the Islamic faith, and 12% of Americans actually believe that he is a Muslim, while he insists that he is Christian. In an attempt to counteract this rumour, and others, he launched the site called Fight The Smears.


The illustration was drawn by cartoonist Barry Blitt, who said that the picture was inspired by the "preposterous" idea that "the Obamas are branded as unpatriotic (let alone as terrorists)".

"It hurts to look at it"

Cynthia Samuels is a New Yorker fan from Washington D.C. She runs the blog Don't Gel Too Soon and works writing internet content for various websites.

I can tell you one thing. It hurts to look at it, even though I guess I understand what the artist, Barry Blitt, says he was trying to do.

The free speech and marketplace of ideas concepts that I've treasured all my life clash with my reaction to all of this; I know that. (...) But for a responsible and respected publication like The New Yorker to abuse that freedom by offering such blatant stereotypes to make its point (...) seems to me abusive and dangerous. In an effort to make a point about the hate that's being distributed concerning these two, they're feeding it. (...)

I guess what I'm saying is that this effort to force Americans to confront political trash talk by offering up a visual representation of it all is, to me, a terrible mistake. An image that casts a shadow over the remarkable symbolic gift of this landmark candidacy - an image that lingers like a scar."

Bloggers create their own versions

Originally posted by Napsterization 14 July 08.

I remixed this week's New Yorker Cover based upon Barry Blitt's Illustration. It is much funnier with the thought bubble and McCain. I think it will be easy for people in the current climate to misunderstand the original. But the remix makes it easier to get that it's supposed to be funny."


Originally posted on College OTR 14 July 08.


Service to the Obama campaign

I also think that by condemning this cartoon the Obama campaign has given validity to the very propaganda that they so need to stamp out. This cover is a service to the Obama campaign, and they respond by dumping on it.
This is way to give rise to sympathy for Obama.

The Dumbing-Down of Americans


Let's bring a moment of sanity and substance to the phony media hype over The New Yorker magazine's satirical cover of Barack and Michelle Obama. I read the article, and will buy a few copies for friends and family. Thank God for basic education programs, or most of America would not understand the meaning, purpose and insight of satire.

Nevertheless, the pretentious uproar over the magazine cover affirms my fears that too much of the media and some voters have been so dumb-downed to not even understand the word satire, or read the related content. Political satire that provides genuine information and insight has been a well-perfected American tradition since our nation's founding.

Those voters who are offended or confused by the magazine's cover and related story won't be voting for Obama anyway, or perhaps should not be voting in general. Maybe the truth behind the cover's message, scaring people with lies to achieve political objectives, deserves more attention. Only those who failed most of high school academics, literature and American history won't get it, or are simply educationally retarded. Clearly, public education and literacy is the bigger national issue and emergency.

Predictably, we now have another member of the old guard of Black so-called spokespersons who want to exploit this opportunity to validate their existence in the new political paradigm. Los Angeles City Council member Bernard Parks' call for a boycott of The New Yorker magazine is nothing more than another sideshow distraction from far more important L.A., national and global issues.

The vast majority of Americans, particularly Blacks, as proven by Obama's popularity, just simply are not naive or stupid as Mr. Parks suggests. Has he taken notice of the renaissance in diverse Black American literature over the last ten years? Who's "talking down to Black people" (i.e. Jesse Jackson) this time council member Parks? A greater focus on the Los Angeles high school dropout and violence rate warrants the council member's real attention.

I suggest those with Mr. Parks' perspective should review classic issues of magazines, posters and album covers from the 1960s to 90s, or get a link to Google. Also, we should retest the qualifications of some mainSCREAM media news talkers and pundits who are hyping another false issue to raise low summer TV news viewer ratings. This hype, as the magazine's story title could suggests, is an example of "The Politics of Fear."

Moreover, the Obama campaign needs to stay focus on the real issues that every moderately literate and thinking Americans genuinely cares about. However, The New Yorker might be thankful for the increase in its sales. The fact that we hear, understand and greatly support senator Barack Obama is proof of America's enlightened level of comprehension.

Dennis Moore, Chairperson -- dennis@DCIndependents.org
District of Columbia Independents for Citizen Control Party (DCICC)
Proud Member of CUIP (Committee for a Unified Independent Party)

Americans have a problem with satire; our elites aside.

I emailed the New York Times story to friends living abroad over the weekend. I was certain this tempest in a teapot was far too esoteric to be used by the major media outlets. I am still astonished that I was wrong. Mostly because of the convincing inability or refusal of our public and pundits to understand satire: e.g., an on-camera "talking head" is informed that the purpose of this satire is to demonstrate the fatuity of this absurdly extreme depiction. The newsperson then responds with the utmost candor "But Michele Obama doesn't deserve to be portrayed this way."

The rest of the world can reflect on this confirmed incapacity of our American public social or political discourse to exist beyond this surface. Of course, one mistakes this for mere stupidity at their peril. It is far more serious than that.