The illustration, by Barry Blitt,is called “The Politics of Fear” and, according to the NYer press release, “satirizes the use of scare tactics and misinformation in the Presidential election to derail Barack Obama’s campaign.” Uh-huh. What’s that they say about repeating a rumor?
Presumably the New Yorker readership is sophisticated enough to get the joke, but still: this is going to upset a lot of people, probably for the same reason it’s going to delight a lot of other people, namely those on the right: Because it’s got all the scare tactics and misinformation that has so far been used to derail Barack Obama’s campaign — all in one handy illustration. Anyone who’s tried to paint Obama as a Muslim, anyone who’s tried to portray Michelle as angry or a secret revolutionary out to get Whitey, anyone who has questioned their patriotism — well, here’s your image.
The companion article by Ryan Lizza, who has written extensively about the campaign, is very long (18 pages!) and probably won’t thrill a lot of Democratic party faithful, either, since it advances the image of Obama as a skilled and calculating politician who advanced by becoming a master of the game:
“[P]erhaps the greatest misconception about Barack Obama is that he is some sort of anti-establishment revolutionary. Rather, every stage of his political career has been marked by an eagerness to accommodate himself to existing institutions rather than tear them down or replace them….he has always played politics by the rules as they exist, not as he would like them to exist. He runs as an outsider, but he has succeeded by mastering the inside game.”
I have read some absolutely mind-bendingly and patently stupid stuff about Obama in various political blogs from the USA. There are folks over there who have no idea whatever about what a Communist is, for example, though it is a handy concept to throw at anyone who has half-way decent notions of social responsibility it appears.
I find most of the brands of “libertarianism” hawked by various pundits Over There terrifying in their self-centredness and lack of any sense of a society outside their own private fortresses. Thank God such notions appear to be rare here in Australia. May it ever be thus!
Needless to say, almost, but I should also point out that the post with which I began is also from the USA, showing they are not all mad after all.
Not since Swift proposed cannibalism as a solution to the Poor Irish question has there been such a twist about obvious satire… Well, maybe not… How can I know that? What I do know is there has been more silliness over the New Yorker cover than the editors can possibly have anticipated. Me, I think it’s a great cover — hilarious!
One of the best responses I’ve seen comes from Len in Texas, who is on my blog roll: Get the satire? He includes this cartoon.
If you visit Len, be sure to read the comments, especially the first one! DOH!!!