I always vacillate on these stories, wondering whether to even give them any further attention when they're already getting attention 388,277 times what they deserve to begin with.
But this strikes me as so emblematic of just how dumb, just how silly, and just how incestuous and lazy our press corp truly is.
First of all, as you've no doubt seen about a mungogingdillion times already, the New Yorker magazine, a magazine known for it's wry and satiric covers, hit the stands with this.
THIS is what the entire press decided was BIG NEWS. That alone is pretty pathetic.
When I saw it for the first time,(of about 82) I thought it was very clever. I got a laugh out of it, it was funny and made a great point. I loved it. I still do.
It's very clever, I particularly got a kick out of how the artist perfectly captured the tilt to Michelle's head as she gave Barack the "terrorist fist jab", and it only got funnier as you noticed all the elements, the AK-47 draped over Michelle's shoulder, the portrait of bin Laden, the turban, the combat boots, and the little flag crackling in the fireplace. Funny stuff, and finally something that puts all the right wing insanity firmly where it belongs; in the comedy category.
The whole thing is perfect, to my mind, and effectively skewers and exposes the bone-headed, over-the-top craziness that the right has labored mightily to spread about the Obamas.
Then began the onslaught of stupidity and trademark phony outrage oozing out of my TV.
The cover, most said, was insulting, not funny, offensive, even racist. (!?)
Huh? What are these people smoking? I mean, even accounting for different tastes, how could they look at this and NOT GET IT??
The mere fact that the New Yorker has had to repeatedly explain to people that this is SATIRE, and that it purposely depicts something ridiculous and preposterous as a means of mocking and demeaning those who either believe or continue to spread such ridiculous and preposterous notions about the Obamas, is pathetic.
Just how stupid are we anyway? Do we really NEED to have anyone explain to us, as if we're just dirt stupid, that this is meant as satire? Apparently the pundits think we do.
And even then, many choose to take the offended path, expounding about how it's "tasteless", "crude", "offensive", and so on in the now familiar language of fake outrage that's been so overused as to have nearly lost all meaning.
How could anyone such as Chris Matthews actually get all upset about this cover? He tried to do the outrage thing, but his guests, being sane, pointed out that it's just satire and he had to cool his sputter a bit.
But then he uncorked the argument that really sent me around the bend. He tried to argue, as others have as well, that the cover is irresponsible and offensive for this reason: That there's still a large number of people out there who polling shows still believe some of the crap that the cover was specifically lampooning, namely that Obama is a secret Muslim, Michelle is some 60's radical, blah, blah, bleech.
The argument goes that you shouldn't put out a cover like this because it might just reinforce the smack-your-head ignorance of those fine folks who are so mind-bendingly gullible that they'd believe any of the ludicrous crap addressed in the cover.
What a colossally stupid and ignorant argument, and on so many levels.
First of all, just how many of these fine people who are so ignorant and backwards that they still believe Obama's a Muslim and the rest of the lies... READ THE DAMN NEW YORKER MAGAZINE???!!!!! For that matter, how many of them have ever HEARD of it?
Answer: ZERO... none. Zip.
How many of these folks (who we'll refer to as troglodytes or "trogs" for the sake of brevity.) would have seen this cover if these story-starved wretches in the press hadn't piled onto it like a starving dog on a porterhouse steak?
Answer: See above.
So we have Matthews et.al. arguing, while showing the cover approximately every 3.5 seconds, that the NEW YORKER is to blame because some idiots might take it, not as satirizing the ridiculous falsehoods about Obama and his wife, but as confirmation of them.
There was Matthews, showing the cover over and over dozens of times to an audience hundreds of thousands of times larger than the magazine's circulation could ever hope to reach, jumping on the magazine for spreading the image. Anyone see a problem there?
Consider this: If the trogs Matthews and others are so concerned about already believe such garbage, how in the hell is a relatively small circulation magazine's cover going to change that?
The answer is painfully obvious, it couldn't. Unless of course TV media spread it around 24 hours a day and devote hundreds of hours of airtime to it. This irony is lost on these pundits apparently. I guess none of them had the spare nanosecond it would have taken to figure this out.
Then there's the fact that the New Yorker caters primarily to very literate and "intellectual" readers, "sophisticated" people, so to speak, primarily urban. They already support Obama. They "get" the satire. (except those so painfully liberal their eagerness to be offended has snuffed out their sense of humor and irony.)
So this condemnation rings more than hollow. It's ridiculous.
This isn't like the USA Today printed the thing on their front page, for God's sake.
The entire matter is SO dumb and SO overblown that I'm convinced it's just evidence of media incest. The pundits like The New Yorker, and they know that hyping the story will only drive sales and amount to millions of dollars worth of free advertising for the magazine. Plus it's media gossip. They can't resist.
This (funny) cartoon cover doesn't even begin to approach anything offensive enough to warrant the coverage it's gotten. The only reasons I could conceive of for why the press went nuts over this is that it's the summer doldrums in the news business. Not a lot of juicy stories out there. Gotta grab whatever floats by.
Of course there are hundreds of critically important stories out there, but they'd require work to report. So let's all get excited and try to manufacture some controversy where there's little to none. They've been doing this on nearly a daily basis.
They're all far too concerned about the ins and outs of the publishing/media world, and so to them this is juicy gossip indeed.
"Oooooooooo. Look at that cover! If you squint your brain real hard, you can see controversy! See??!! I'm going to pronounce this offensive because that will make me appear sensitive (and it's the safest thing to do. When in doubt, feign outrage.) and because if I say it's perfectly harmless, there's a chance that maybe it really IS offensive and I'll get condemned and bloggers will say nasty things about me."
Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, double ultra dumbness.
Here's a weird notion, apparently to the pundits. The New Yorker magazine apparently chooses it's content based on it's readers. Imagine that!! It publishes stories and articles, and yes, covers, aimed at people who actually READ THE MAGAZINE.
If it weren't for the 24/7 media freakout, do you imagine there would be any regular readers of the New Yorker who actually WOULDN'T get the blatant in-your-face satire, and not know exactly what it was satirizing?
But the pundits, howling in outrage, demand that the New Yorker (and others it's presumed) now base their editorial decisions based on the chance that every bone-head in the country might see it (with of course the pundits help) and not publish anything that the very dumbest among us may not understand. Brilliant.
To me, the idea that a magazine or writer or news program or whatever should be expected to pull back on any story, idea, picture, or program that may conceivably offend some group or another is deeply wrong.
If there's any "offense" to be legitimately taken from this tale, it's the suggestion that somehow the New Yorker should have spiked the cover because of the risk some cracker in Bugtussle, KY who thinks the Obamas are some forin radiculs
might get more stupid notions in his or her head. They're already there! (and of course, Cletus and the missus subscribe to the New Yorker, natch.)
There's already an army of pundits roaming the earth out there, ready at the drop of a hat to spin like their lives depended on it (well, their fat checks do.) and lie, lie, twist, lie, twist, distort, invent, imagine, embellish, pervert, and "interpret" the truth and reality in order to mislead the public on behalf of their benefactors.
But now these same spinners are condemning the New Yorker because their cover could be "interpreted" the wrong way. It's enough to make your head hurt.
And there's an offensive and arrogant attitude contained in Matthews and other's stupid argument against this cover. Their argument reveals that they believe the American people, by and large, are so God-awful STUPID and ignorant that merely being exposed to this cartoon (like they would have if not for this massive coverage.) might cause them to believe the very hogwash the cover is mocking.
I can't say that I'm 100% sure that many Trog-Americans aren't pretty much just that dumb, ignorant, and chock full of lies, dumb fear, bigotry, and right wing slander and propaganda.
The American people made the election so close in 2000 that it allowed Bush, Inc. to steal the White House, and their lies and deceit helped him squeeze back in in 2004, with the help of millions of Americans. Just those facts alone serves as confirmation enough that the average American wouldn't know the truth if it bit him or her in the ass. (and it's not all his or her fault, seeing as they're fed nothing but garbage and trivial distractions by the media day in and day out. There's already millions of people who've realized they can better rely on foreign press sources to get actual information about our government and politics.)
So there you have it. The New Yorker Obama cover is "offensive". Why?
Americans are too dumb to handle a BLATANTLY satirical cover, these handsomely paid wise men and women opine. (as are many pundits apparently.) They can't be trusted to "get" even the most broad and obvious satire, and are actually so painfully and achingly ignorant that they might have their political views erroneously shaped by this CARTOON cover. (On a magazine they not only would otherwise have never seen, but have probably have never heard of.)
So.... the New Yorker should have never printed it, being as they must consider the most ignorant of ignorant readers every time they go to print and not risk them being too stupid to "get it".
Yep. And there's been vastly more print and more airtime devoted to this "story" than anything in Iraq or Afghanistan, anything about where the candidates for president want to take the country, or anything else occurring in the world.
Because the pundits are stupid, or short of that, think YOU'RE very stupid indeed.
And the worst part of this story? The Obama campaign FED RIGHT INTO THIS, by issuing a statement which aped the outrage angle, completely ignoring the blatant satire and humor of it all and the fact that the cover was actually helpful
to Obama's cause, not harmful.
Now by issuing an official statement calling it offensive and tasteless, they are in essence doing this: Calling anything that refutes and mocks the idea that Obama is a terrorist loving, flag-burning Muslim and his wife a militant radical, "offensive".
By condemning the cartoon, or pretending not to see the clear point contained in it, the Obama campaign has given validity to the very propaganda that they so need to stamp out.
Pretend for a moment you're a Trog. (and if my right wing stalker is reading this, you don't have to pretend.) You see this uproar, see the cover, and then hear that Obama has come out and been indignant and offended and condemned the cartoon.
To your mind, it's as if he's simply pissed that it came too close to the truth!
If there were no truth to the ludicrous notions depicted in the cover, (there isn't.) then wouldn't it have been more rational to laugh along with it, to acknowledge the satire, acknowledge the fact that these notions are out there about Obama, and issue some mild statement saying that while the image depicting a Muslim as loving bin Laden and burning the flag is offensive, that the cover serves as an apt reminder of just what ridiculous lengths the right has gone to promote such falsehoods and just how laughable they are.
Obama has acknowledged that he's confronting these smears and that certain people still believe them. Why then, did he pass up a perfect chance to magnify them and expose them as laughable falsehoods?
This would have been a PERFECT opportunity to dispel the myths by LAUGHING at them. They deserve to be laughed at, and with this elevated to the head of every newscast and on every pundits lips, what better chance to elevate these notions and those who continue to try to spread them as the jokes they deserve to be?
They completely passed up a golden opportunity. A bad call by the Obama campaign in my judgement, and one which only made them appear overly sensitive, almost defensive, about the truly laughable rumors that they supposedly want to eliminate.
This cover is a service to the Obama campaign, and they respond by dumping on it.
Truly stupid, inexplicable, and a blown opportunity by the Obama campaign in my opinion. But when you're in the middle of a stupid storm, maybe it's hard to avoid getting wet.