7/15/08: New Yorker cartoon draws criticism
And no, it’s not one of those cartoons where animals make reference to high society and jerk off the reader for getting it. Although while we’re on that tangent, Steve Martin’s “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” did the same thing and it made me want to throttle everybody around me who laughed way too hard every time they wanted to congratulate themselves.
Wait, what were we talking about? OH YEAH. This…
…is the cover of the latest edition of The New Yorker.
There’s been various reactions throughout the “blogosphere” (a term that at this point we might as well retire and replace with the more general “internet”). James Urbaniak wrote an interesting defense of the image in which he correctly points out that the obvious absurdity of the image should be self-explanatory.
Unfortunately this is America (God bless it), and it’s been a surprisingly dull campaign the last month with much focus being on “Obama’s black FIST POUND” and “McCain’s so old that twelve-year-old Bob Dole jokes are suddenly new again.” So of course, pundits need to go on NPR and CNN to explain the concept of irony and satire, while lesser pundits show up on Fox News to ease everybody’s apprehensions and re-assure them that it’s actually a drawing and not a real-life photo.
The way I look at stories (or non-stories) such as this is to put myself in the position of people who make the sort of decisions that create the controversy. If I’m the editor, I’d look at that image and my immediate reaction would be that while I understand it I also know that there’s going to be a lot of people that are either going to take it the wrong way or feign outrage because they either feel the need to expunge some white liberal guilt or are just that bored. Then I’d realize it’s a moot point, because this cover’s going to move a ridiculous number of copies. Then I’d chuckle a little, which would gradually become a loud cackle that would echo through the halls of 4 Times Square. A camera would pan out to reveal high-priced call girls sipping champagne while various suits toss money up in the air with glee usually only seen on the face of a child getting a new bicycle.
That or I’d say “well, this is okay, but how about a drawing of Jesse Jackson wielding an evil grin and a surgical knife?”