15 July 2008

Obama and The New Yorker

By now you've probably heard about/seen the cover for July 12 issue of The New Yorker magazine.

If not, that's it above.

Senator Obama is in the Oval Office, fist-bumping with his wife, Michelle. Obama is wearing traditional Muslim garb, while Michelle has some kind of automatic weapon slung over her back. A portrait of Osama bin Laden hangs above the fireplace, inside which an American flag is crackling amid the flames.

Now, The New Yorker is insisting that the art is satire, designed to poke fun at the people who think Senator Obama is a Muslim terrorist and whatnot.

The Obama camp, meanwhile, is predictably up in arms, crying racism and bigotry, among other things. Millions of liberals everywhere are highly offended.

I'm not quite sure where I stand.

On one hand, politicians are constantly caricatured. It comes with the territory. President Bush has been portrayed as a monkey-faced idiot in political cartoons more times than I can count. So in that sense, I think Obama should roll with the cover. Free speech and all that. If people dislike The New Yorker's decision to use the picture, they can discontinue their subscriptions to the magazine or decide to never purchase a copy.

On the other hand, there are a lot of people out there who sincerely believe Obama is a Muslim terrorist. They're idiots, but they can vote, too. And these are the people who the see cover on television for half a second as they're flipping from professional wrestling to CMT, thus reinforcing their incorrect perceptions.

In short, it's a blow to Senator Obama's camp, but not worth blowing up over. If this were Senator McCain being portrayed as a kooky old homeless man or something similar, we would barely hear about it.

Obama's been treated with kid gloves long enough. It's time to see if he can take the hits and keep on fighting.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"flipping from professional wrestling to CMT." Ha!