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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Quite a Cover

posted by on July 13 at 16:45 PM

The New Yorker puts all of the worst paranoid right-wing fears about Barack and Michelle Obama into one image, calls it satire, and in doing so assures the magazine’s new issue will receive a ton of attention:


What really should be getting attention is Ryan Lizza’s 15,000-word exploration, in the same New Yorker, of Obama’s rise in Chicago. It’s a fascinating read. But, naturally, the startling image trumps the thoughtful written word—and generates an immediate response:

Responds Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton: “The New Yorker may think, as one of their staff explained to us, that their cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Senator Obama’s right-wing critics have tried to create. But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree.”

From McCain:

McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds quickly e-mailed: “We completely agree with the Obama campaign, it’s tasteless and offensive.”

RSS icon Comments


Pussies. The cartoon is just so innocuous that it shows just how silly the Obama smears are.

Did Obama decry the Colbert Report when Stephen satirically noted that Howie Mandel also used a "terrorist fist-jab" and must have "shaved off his turban"?

Posted by iflurry | July 13, 2008 5:00 PM

Have we become a nation of whiners?

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | July 13, 2008 5:20 PM

Why do they have a porcupine on the mantel? The Armani slacks under the Thawb is nice touch though.

Posted by kinaidos | July 13, 2008 5:20 PM


Obamaniacs don't have a sense of humor?

Jeesh, who would have thought.

Posted by Mr. Astonished | July 13, 2008 5:24 PM

Somewhere out there is a verifiable statistic akin to "In their entire history, the New York has (almost? nearly? completely) never published African-American writers or cartoonists. Their editorial board has (never? hardly ever) had an African-American on board. Their entire mission is devoted to the leisurely pursuits of Upper Class white New Yorkers. All the aspiring and established writers or the world should just stop submitting to them.

Posted by Lose-lose | July 13, 2008 6:04 PM

WTF New Yorker? This feeds right into what middle America is afraid of.

Posted by Suz | July 13, 2008 6:27 PM


stupid and vapid and 1950's

Posted by Freddy | July 13, 2008 6:30 PM

last i checked, a magazine doesn't have to base artistic/editorial decisions on shrill campaign orthodoxy. thank god. i'm pro-bama and i think the cover is hilarious.

Posted by brett | July 13, 2008 6:33 PM

Another reason not to vote for McCain: His spokesman uses comma splices.

Posted by SteveM | July 13, 2008 7:02 PM

@6: Fortunately, middle America doesn't read the NYer and probably won't hear too much about this.

Posted by shub-negrorath | July 13, 2008 7:21 PM

Indistinguishable from your average Cox and Forkum "cartoon".

Posted by ru shur | July 13, 2008 7:52 PM

so....we have to keep quiet about right wing smears and not confront them w/ humor. The smearers are so powerful we must defer and give in and not talk about things.

OK, got it.

Posted by PC | July 13, 2008 8:05 PM

Yes, yes...we're all too stupid to read the "written word". We're doomed to relive the past because we're shocked and rendered senseless by a "shocking image" (or a comic...?)
If McCain is elected because we can't see irony when it stares us in the face then we get what we deserve.

Posted by jean genie | July 13, 2008 8:15 PM

As a former subscriber of the New Yorker and not necessarily a fan of Sen. Obama, I believe it is tasteless. They've done something similar before (remember the rabbi & imam male to male kiss cover?). Granted, very few of the people that hold such bigoted views of Mr. & Mrs. Obama won't read or know that that cover is a satire on their views. Still, all one has to do is look at the cover on a newsstand and perception will run wild. Bad move on the part of the editors of the New Yorker.

Posted by lark | July 13, 2008 8:17 PM

Jubilation @2: Yes, but that happened long before anyone outside of Chicago had ever even heard of Barack Obama.

I love to see right wingers get lampooned as much as anyone else here but I really do wish they would make up their minds. Either

A. Obama is a MUSLIM.


B. Obama is a 20+ year member of a CHRISTIAN church whose pastor has made controversial remarks.

They can't have it both ways. So please, any Republicans out there (or hard core Hillaristas who are still in denial), for God's sake, just choose one smear or the other and stick with it.

Posted by RainMan | July 13, 2008 8:22 PM

So, is Eli saying that the New Yorker can't employ humor or irony because it might be misunderstood by the un-hip, unwashed masses?

Pretty rich, coming from a Stranger writer.

Posted by bigyaz | July 13, 2008 8:23 PM

I think it rules. Partly because it refers back to an image of anti-establishment African Americans that hasn't been used in a long time: the Angela Y. Davis figure with her natural and her Soviet assault rifle. That shit's old school as fuck.

Posted by Judah | July 13, 2008 8:24 PM

I'm not saying they shouldn't have a right to run the cartoon, I just think its stupid and shouldn't be on the cover. And yes, middle America WILL be hearing all about it when its on Fox News and all the other talking head shows (and blogs.)

Posted by Suz | July 13, 2008 8:27 PM

Ooh, me likey Mrs. Obama. Is it the hair or the gun?

Posted by CP | July 13, 2008 8:28 PM

Interesting story, in case you're left wondering "gee what the fuck does the story acually say," here's a tidbit or two:

"Although many of Obama’s recent supporters have been surprised by signs of political opportunism, Preckwinkle wasn’t. “I think he was very strategic in his choice of friends and mentors,” she told me. “I spent ten years of my adult life working to be alderman. I finally got elected. This is a job I love. And I’m perfectly happy with it. I’m not sure that’s the way that he approached his public life—that he was going to try for a job and stay there for one period of time. In retrospect, I think he saw the positions he held as stepping stones to other things and therefore approached his public life differently than other people might have.”


"Ivory Mitchell, who for twenty years has been the chairman of the local ward organization in Obama’s neighborhood—considered the most important Democratic organization on the South Side—was one of Obama’s earliest backers. Today, he says, “All the work we did to help him get where he finally ended up, he didn’t seem too appreciative.” A year ago, Mitchell became a delegate for Hillary Clinton."

Golly gee whillikers it says ....thowse who know him best say.....he's a politician!!! Not a God!!

Who, who, woulda thunk it?

Posted by PC | July 13, 2008 8:30 PM

Another tidbit:

on the floor of the State Senate Obama and another state senator almost get into fisticuffs:
"Hendon told me [the author of the pice in the NYer], “He’s the one that got mad [that is, Obama], because he said I embarrassed him on the Senate floor. That’s when he came over to my desk.” Before Nottage broke them up, Obama, who had learned to box from his Indonesian stepfather, supposedly told Hendon, “I’m going to kick your ass!” "

I like it.

Posted by PC | July 13, 2008 8:50 PM

We won't support ball-less NO-Bama and will re-defeat him in November!!!!

Posted by clintonsarmy | July 13, 2008 8:59 PM

I can't believe The New Yorker is so fucking stupid. Now that a liberal publication has put this racist crap up and called it "satire", the door has been flung wide open for every right-wing rag to put the most heinous, awful things they can think of about Obama, and it will be OK just as long as they call it "satire". Smooth fucking move, New Yorker.

Posted by montex | July 13, 2008 9:09 PM

The New Yorker cover is Obama's Sister Souljah moment! Oh wait ... no ... it's his Ralph Nader moment! It will cost him the election. How many thousands more American men and women in uniform will die in the Middle East under the insane warmongering leadership of John McSame because of this cover? How many more Klamath River ocean run Chinook salmon will die gasping in shallow hot algae infested pools because of this cover?

Posted by Bob | July 13, 2008 9:20 PM
... calls it satire...
THAT is offensive. And ridiculous. What would you call it?

Jebus Murray motherofgod! Is the sky falling everyfuckingday for (some of) you peoples? I know, I know, Obama's gonna have a tough time recovering from a cartoon in the FOUR months left until the election (what with the party already destroyed by Clinton and all).

Posted by umvue | July 13, 2008 9:56 PM

(can't wait to see what the McCain cover's gonna satirize)

Posted by Andy Niable | July 13, 2008 10:20 PM

Can't wait to see the cover with McCain and Bush holding hands in the desert, walking along a trail of US dollars.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 13, 2008 10:51 PM

That's too obvious Will in Seattle, I am thinking the McCain cover will have John in a Hanoi Hilton POW cell and he's all skinny and starving and sick looking and he'll be trying to stab a cockroach with a sharpened stick cuz he's so hungry but those New Yorker bastards will have put Barack Obama's head on the cockroach! And everyone will know then that the New Yorker has JUST ABOUT GUARANTEED an McCain victory.

Why does the New Yorker hate hope?

Posted by Bob | July 13, 2008 11:20 PM

I Love it. Where is his latte though? Must be holding it in his right hand, hidden from view.

Posted by Clint | July 14, 2008 12:14 AM

"Interesting story, in case you're left wondering "gee what the fuck does the story acually say," here's a tidbit or two:"

It's a 15,000 word story. Nice of you to cherry pick a couple of hundred for everyone. Hey Obama supporters! He's not a God! I know! Totally shocked, cause you know anyone not voting for McCain or Hillary must be delusional. Is that satire?

Posted by hal | July 14, 2008 1:04 AM

I LOVE this. It demonstrates how vapid right wing chain letter smears are, as well as the people who swallow them whole (your garen variety dittohead).

Nice work, New Yorker!

Posted by Frank Sinclair | July 14, 2008 2:22 AM

This is offensive the same way Carlos Mencia is offensive: offensively unfunny.

Posted by ru shur | July 14, 2008 6:52 AM

The cartoon should show him walking on a walker since Odrama got no spine.

Posted by Odrama | July 14, 2008 7:25 AM

Y'know, the article actually does scream one thing loud and clear. Obama is a POLITICIAN. Every time I mentioned this on DailyKos or in other places, I'd get crap for it. But I really don't know where everyone got the idea that Obama isn't a politician. Jeebus.

Posted by Nora | July 14, 2008 7:54 AM

"Calls" it satire? It IS satire.

And it's funny. Anybody too dumb to see how ridiculous the image is (I think the burning flag in the fireplace is a great touch) is going to be too dumb to vote for the guy anyway.

Posted by violet_dagrinder | July 14, 2008 8:08 AM

I would like to think this will not be problematic for Obama but sadly most Americans are pretty damn stupid. This may just cost him the election. Expect to see HUGE blown up copies of this handed out at the GOP Convention in Minneapolis.

If there is one thing about Americans and that is during an election year we are super stupid.

Posted by Just Me | July 14, 2008 8:16 AM

Yes, its great satire for ultra-liberals on the coast to see how ironic and smart and clever they are.

I don't disagree with the New Yorker's right to print it, it just seems a little irresponsible. Now every right-wing magazine has the right to publish similar cartoons and worse so long as they call it "satire".

On the other hand, maybe in the heartland people will see it as a big, bad, liberal elitism magazine beating up on Obama? Could it work to his benefit?

Interesting all around, and yes I did find the cartoon funny although the Osama portrait above the fireplace bothers me some reason....not sure why. I think the idea that Michelle Obama is Angela Davis is ridiculous enough to be clearly amusing satire. Maybe since Obama is still making his case to pro-Israeli voters, tough-on-defense voters, etc the Osama portrait doesn't sit as well for me...

Posted by Jason | July 14, 2008 9:08 AM

The New Yorker is the king of posery, pseudo intellectual, literary magazines.

The last time it was relevant, Lyndon Johnson was in the White House.

Posted by michael strangeways | July 14, 2008 9:42 AM

Yeah, but they've got great cartoons.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 14, 2008 9:52 AM

Tasteless and extremely unfortunate. Free speech yes. Of course, this should be legally allowed. But an outlet with the New Yorker's reach needs to have more of a moral compass and avoid things that are this mean spirited. So much of the battle that Obama is fighting is against subliminal racism and fear and this feels that fire mightily.

Posted by Bad move | July 14, 2008 10:47 AM

I agree with the Carlos Mencia comment. But those of you who think New Yorker has no relevance have obviously never read a Seymour Hersh article.

As a New Yorker subscriber for over a decade, and committed Obama supporter, I will not be canceling my subscription.

Posted by Big Sven | July 14, 2008 10:47 AM

This wouldn't be so "offensive" if the New Yorker also released (in the same week) an alternative cover depicting McCain as a doddering old Nazi, with a stick figure of a wife popping pills, planning on his overthrow of the world starting with Iran.

Posted by elswinger | July 14, 2008 10:52 AM

Ohhh, I get it.. scary black people scares frightened white people with their, um.. scary, blackness-ness. And if you don't understand our snarky brand of satire then,you are a blainless and awful person!!
It's official..the length and breadth of this election cycle has crushed my very soul. The next four months will seem like a full calender year. I also firmly believe that this election could very well spill over into 2009 and 2010.

Posted by scott in chi-town | July 14, 2008 10:55 AM

oops I mean BRAINLESS..see this election even effects my spelling capacity!

Posted by scott in chi-town | July 14, 2008 10:58 AM

It's a brilliant cover. Completely brilliant.

I am sick of hearing the Obama campaign judging every trivial bit of media...

Posted by Raphael | July 14, 2008 12:10 PM

Apparently neither ECB or Charles find this cover offensive.

Posted by elswinger | July 14, 2008 12:11 PM

This does remind me of one annoying thing about an Obama Presidency:

Middle-class white hipsters who think Barack being "post-racial" is a greenlight to embrace every black stereotype in the name of being "ironic".

Posted by ru shur | July 14, 2008 1:02 PM

Considering you work for The Stranger, and considering how many times The Stranger has used satirical humor, I would think you would understand it for what it is.

Your offended by this only if your too stupid to get the joke.

Posted by Todd | July 14, 2008 2:19 PM

As soon as this magazine hit the racks in every town (yes even Puyallip) I bet you hand over fist that a huge majority of "aint gonna vote for no black man" voters
have this on their garage walls, right next to the dixie flag throwing darts at it.
But thinking about that, there were some just comming over to the other side, you know the ones who can't read, or just read auto mechanic, and are getting sick of Rush Limbaugh.
Those votes might have counted to just edge Mccain out .
But now the New Yorker just thinks everyone will get it.
I don't think so New Yorker. That blaintant everybody who gets it will vote for Obama anyways, and those who don't were not going to anyways just shows you that the New Yorker has never once heard or listen ot heart what Obama is trying to change about this country.
The image is a political cartoon but it needs to be next to an article about what the hell it aludes to.
On the cover without a caption or explanation, it might as well be an image of Obama in black face 1930s characature paint saying "Mammy", with Jackson in KKK garb looming over him ready to cut his nutz off. How bout that for shock and awe New Yorker. Jeesh.
God I am pissed.

Posted by sci fi | July 14, 2008 2:23 PM

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