Monday, July 14, 2008

Now from New York - TRASH

Often one can judge the street interpretation of a media move by the commentary that it provokes. We have conservative talk radio hosts praising the recent cover of the New Yorker magazine cover shown to the left, an immediate implication that something is amiss, and indeed, the cover boggles the mind of the sensible. How anyone can call such an illustration anything other than a mean-spirited hit given the context of the psyche of the teaming masses is just flat out ignorant. This is not satire, and efforts to tag it as such insult the astute.

Granted, I don't know the demographics of New Yorker's subscribers, but now the cover has made front page news and gets the exposure of what everyone does see, and you can bet Fox News is going to have a field day with this image. The flag in the fireplace, the Islamic garb, and what makes me past offended, the machine gun over Michelle's shoulder. I said 2008 would bring out the worst. I wanted to be wrong. This is exactly what it looks like, and it comes from where we think it does.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

We'll see.

7/14/2008 4:42 PM  
Blogger Michael Bryan said...

Matt, take a breath, brother. It's SATIRICAL. It's intended to be so over the top in its characterization it makes the hyperventilation of the Right regarding Obama look foolish. Think: Daily Show.

7/14/2008 4:45 PM  
Anonymous Mariana said...

Mike, you know I rarely disagree with you but I think you are wrong here. Sure it is a satire, Matt knows it, I do too, but not everybody staying in line to check out at the grocery store know it. I've been walking my PC lately, talking to hard core democrats. You'll be shocked how many of them are antiObama, how many think he is Muslim, how many are afraid of him for a variety of reasons; even people who occasionally attend DL, believe it or not.

7/14/2008 5:16 PM  
Blogger Liza said...

Ditto to Mariana's comment.

Michael, you've got it wrong on this. Indeed, "New Yorker" readers are latte sipping liberals or moderates and would recognize this as satire. The cartoonist has effectively included most of the right wing smears against Obama.

However, it was, at best, extremely poor judgement to put this on the cover or even in the magazine itself. It was inevitable that it would be immediately discovered and disseminated among the most ignorant, low information Americans who do not know the source, do not understand the satire, and will use it to reinforce their erroneous and prejudicial beliefs.

If the "New Yorker" editors did not understand this, then they should be immediately terminated from their jobs. Given that it is so obvious, one almost has to conclude they did understand it, and their motivation is now in question.

Have magazine sales been slow? What would motivate them to do such a stupid thing?

Why do Fox News' work for them? And so well too.

7/14/2008 5:59 PM  
Blogger Sirocco said...

I disagree - the whole point of the article and the cover is to point out just how offensive those ridiculous claims are. The people who look at this image and accept it as "evidence" or "proof" or "support" their beliefs are the morons who who aren't going to be persuaded from their beliefs anyhow.

The vast majority of voters who see that will recognize it for what it is - a mockery of the claims of the group mentioned in the above paragraph.

7/14/2008 6:13 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...

The two sides will have to agree to disagree. Obviously I see what Michael and Sirocco see about the satire, but like Liza and Mariana, I lack confidence that the image will be properly digested and in fact cater to lesser minds.

Perhaps it is true that the infantile idiots who would be influenced by such an image are lost causes already, but I wonder. At the very best, best, it represents an effort to inoculate Obama against more subtle forms of branding, one that used poor taste.

The short sighted thinking is the failure to recognize that it can be planted inside other contexts, blogs, etc. as potent imagery attached to words making vitriolic assertions designed to stick into the weak minded.

Shall we post another picture depicting orderlies administering CPR on a hospital bed with IV's and those metallic pads, "CLEAR!!"

Wait, wait, I think we have a pulse.

The guys at the shop agreed with Michael and Sirocco that this amounts to nothing. Sirocco stated: The vast majority of voters who see that will recognize it for what it is.

We'll see.

7/14/2008 10:35 PM  
Anonymous Mariana said...

Hmmm...we'll far I'm so scared they will not vote at all...I got to the point where I tell them to vote for McCain if they want to but to vote democratic all the way down the line (I'm talking about hard core democrats, guys!)

7/14/2008 11:52 PM  
Blogger John Rose said...

This cartoon isn't funny for the same reason that the original smears weren't funny, despite their almost self-satirizing absurdity- there are some people who believe this, and the stakes are too high for them to continue to do so. If they wanted to poke fun at how wrong the smears are, they would have had to do a little more than simply repeat the smears in visual form.

7/15/2008 6:48 AM  
Blogger The Navigator said...

The illustration is so over the top that I can understand Michael and Sirocco, but I share the concerns that (sadly) the "masses" are easily snared by the simple, easy to understand snapshots, and this is one of them.

I fear it will be used by those hostile to Obama inside their own publications, blogs, and so on.

It is still early in the campaign, and that adds support to the notion that any storm over this cover will help shed similar material in the same light.

I can't allow myself to think of Obama actually losing this campaign.

7/15/2008 8:51 AM  
Anonymous framer said...

"It was inevitable that it would be immediately discovered and disseminated among the most ignorant, low information Americans who do not know the source, do not understand the satire, and will use it to reinforce their erroneous and prejudicial beliefs."

Say the people who lap up anything Michael Moore puts out.

The problem with the "satire" is that the underlying premise is flawed. Had this cover came out four months ago, it would have been in its proper frame. These were Hillary's attacks, not the right wing.

Is Obama a muslim? No, but Hillary is the one who put out the pictures.

Are the obamas militants or terrorists? No, but they do associate with former members of the Weather Underground, and there are a disturbing number of instances of obama campaign offices bookending their Obama portraits with Che Guavara. The Obamas have 60's militant problems, but it is more a function of their association and support of the far left rather than something endemic to them personally.

And as far as Obama's flag issues go, they are entirely of his own making.

This issue was entirely avoidable and were bad decisions on his part.

All in all, this was a liberal on liberal crime, so hyperventalating about the right wing is way, way over the top. The typecasting images were from Hillary, and the publication is ultra liberal. I believe the implication that they should be looking out for the best interests of the Obama campaign is the most interesting part of the entire conversation. What other media are supposed to be "in the bag" for Obama upon threat of losing their jobs?

7/15/2008 3:15 PM  
Blogger Liza said...

In the 60's, Obama was probably playing with Lincoln Logs and catching bugs in jars.

Che Guevara is an issue? Are you kidding me? I haven't even heard that one yet.

Oh, by the way, Framer, the "satire" is supposed to be a summary of right wing smears, not those sourced to Hillary.

It is the right wing that is attempting to portray Michelle Obama as an angry black woman. It was some pathetic little idiot-bitch on your favorite Foxed Up News that called the fist bump (or the DAP for "dignity and pride") a "terrorist fist jab." It is the right wing that has attacked Obama's "patriotism" going back to the flag lapel pin and that pledge of allegiance bullshit that wasn't true. It is the right wing that keeps trying to confuse "Obama" with "Osama" and makes an issue of his middle name being "Hussein." It is the well-oiled right wing smear machine that is being satirized, supposedly.

Quite frankly, Framer, I do happen to think that what is left of the "liberal" corporate media should be looking out for Obama. Bush and Cheney have us in the graveyard. McCain, if he were to somehow be elected, will bury us.
Perhaps you have noticed things getting more dire by the day or are you still worrying about the pins that people wear in their suit jacket lapels?

7/15/2008 4:32 PM  
Anonymous Dustin said...

you know, the first time I saw this I did not know whether to laugh or cry, because it took me a minute to figure out just what the point of this illustration was.

The picture was put on the front page of this magazine sans all context except what you approached it with. It's flat, because jokes require context to be funny or even amusing.

I don't consider this the worst thing ever, but in the end it was a pretty foolish thing to publish, let alone publish on the cover. The reality is that nowadays, anything said in print (or over the internet, or on air), is said to everyone, regardless of the intended audience.

To me it's basically the printed media form of trolling to get hits. weak sauce.

7/15/2008 9:00 PM  
Anonymous framer said...


Flag pins aren't my issue, but I am a firm believe in not poking forks in people's eyes either. It appears that Obama's handlers ended up agreeing with me.

Obama and the pledge thing is referenced on Snopes, I provided the link. Again, forks, eyes. . .

The "smears" that got the real traction were Hillary jobs. I could even reference you saying so a few months ago. If it was meant to lampoon right wingers, I don't believe it would have been this controversial. The fact that there is lingering blue on blue undertones is why so many people are upset.

Che Guevara was a murderer and a thug, but has received cult like icon status in large sections of far left America. The people who hang his picture on the wall, or wear tee-shirts with his likeness have no idea of what he was as a person (I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt). Obama people are not necessarily Che shirt wears, but I would bet to 99%degree the inverse is true.

Don't some of the cult worship Obama pictures scare you even a little, even as a supporter? Why would you have these people staffing Obama offices?

And finally, "what is left of the 'liberal' corporate media?" I'm not really going to have that discussion, as it would probably be a waste of both my time and yours. I'll agree to disagree.

7/15/2008 9:12 PM  
Blogger Liza said...

I didn't say that Hillary did not attack and smear Obama. She did. However, this particular cartoon is supposedly a "satire" of the smears that originated with the right wing. Deny it all you want, but that is what it is.

I'm not even sure what your point is, Framer, or if you even have one.

Cult worship Obama pictures? No, I haven't seen them. What is the origin of these? The same people who send out emails and set up websites saying that Obama is a Muslim Anti-Christ?

How did Che Guevara become so important to this election and what do you have against murderers and thugs, Framer? Isn't the GOP full of them? No, perhaps not. "If you kill one person it is murder, if you kill a million people it is foreign policy."

Yeah, Framer, let's do some serious worrying about people who wear Che Guevara tee-shirts. It makes total sense, given all that is happening in this country and the world right now. If we can just identify those people and make sure they are never elected to public office, everything will be okay.

You Republicans just amaze me. Almost eight years of failure after failure, damage in the stratosphere with a lot more to come, and you can still spew this garbage. Now, that is what scares me.

7/15/2008 10:53 PM  
Anonymous Framer said...


My entire point is that there is a large group of people that are incapable of any type of introspection concerning Obama. That is not politics, that is worship. When a cartoon of Obama causes a reaction just short of militant Islam rioting about the cartoons of Muhammad (Satire, for the satire impaired) there is a problem. People can criticize Obama, they can make jokes about Obama and they are not racist or evil.

You chide X4mr for his worship of Gabby but ignore the beam in your own eye. At least x4mr is consistant in his attitude about irrational slavish devotion (again, satire alert).

Again, YOU are the one calling for media members to be fired for not outwardly supporting Obama. Is that the America that you want? I'll fight you to the last breath on that account.

7/16/2008 8:24 AM  
Blogger Liza said...

Good afternoon, Framer,
Thank you for the clarification. I believe that I understand what it is you are saying. You happen to have caught me in a good mood, or as good as it gets after having read the daily world news.

Just to make a point, Framer, I googled “Obama anti Christ” and I got 1,150,000 hits. We could go on indefinitely about the racist smears against Obama, and I could continue to gather numbers, but this is not a good use of our time. You know very well that the smears against Obama have nothing to do with constructive criticism of a candidate nor are they just cute little harmless jokes. These smears are intended to derail his candidacy, to appeal to the most ignorant, uneducated, and uninformed Americans who might actually vote, and to prey upon their fears of racial “others” by portraying him as a terrorist sympathizer, a radical 60’s militant, and a multitude of other degrading smears including the “anti Christ.”

What is so appalling about the smears against Obama is that they are way past the point of being confined to the fringe of the right wing. They moved into mainstream corporate media quite some time ago. You know for a fact that the “terrorist fist jab” came from a despicable little piece of subhuman trash on Fox News and that is, supposedly, the basis for the “satirical” cover on the “New Yorker” magazine. Fox News, despite worldwide recognition as a propaganda tool for neo-conservatives, would be considered by many to be mainstream media. That alone is a sad commentary on the quality of information that is available to Americans, especially in the absence of compensatory and unbiased coverage of important issues on other corporate news channels.

I remember a much publicized video that was being shown during the presidential primary in West Virginia. Some old white woman was being asked why she didn’t vote for Obama. Her answer was, “I just can’t take that Hussein. I’ve had all I want of Hussein.”

That’s pretty damn sad, Framer. Maybe you think that this is just great given that it works to the advantage of the GOP white, male candidates who are as appealing as pig vomit. Maybe you think that the dumbing down of the electorate is a good thing, and people should be choosing a president to be the most powerful leader in the world based on a middle name, a lapel pin, a last name that rhymes with “Osama,” a Muslim father from Kenya, a fiery preacher, or an email that proclaims that the candidate is the anti Christ.

Indeed, I believe that corporate media should have social responsibility. I do not believe that they should be an echo chamber for fringe right wing attacks intended to derail a Democratic candidate because he is feared by the Republican ruling elite. In the case of the “New Yorker” magazine editors, they should have realized that this so-called “satirical” cover would rapidly filter down to the most ignorant and uneducated Americans, those who the GOP depends on to vote against liberal and moderate Democrats. Yes, I believe that they have freedom of speech, but they did not exercise social responsibility which is a separate issue. Has it even occurred to you that Obama and his family are endangered by these smears?

Lastly, it is not clear to me why you have identified me as one who worships political candidates, ANY political candidate. Just so you know, I am not 100% behind Obama on every decision he has ever made and everything that he says. I believe that he is the best candidate who came forward to be the nominee, but I would have just as enthusiastically supported John Edwards. Presumably, I still have the right to like a candidate? I’m not sure anymore what my rights are after eight years of Bush II.

Another thing, Framer, you might perhaps know from other comments that I grew up in the south during the civil rights era. I will freely admit that I have an emotional attachment to the historical moment that we are approaching. Somehow it seems very fitting to me that in what is one of our nation’s darkest hours that the next president would come from the first generation of beneficiaries of the Civil Rights Movement.

Yes, I care about Obama and what he represents to those people who faced down dogs and hoses and took the beatings, many of whom are still with us. Caring about people is not the same as worshipping them.

7/16/2008 1:32 PM  
Blogger Casey DeLorme, APR said...

Interesting what the omnivores are doing with this one.

I'm of the mind that this cover has forced an issue into the open so that it gets thoroughly discussed and debated (the incorrect notion that he is or was Muslim). It's got half the country running around stating "He's CHRISTIAN, not Muslim!" In the long run this will benefit the O campaign and they can get on to dealing with other, more relevant issues.

7/16/2008 3:12 PM  
Blogger Liza said...

Jon Stewart seems to be defending "The New Yorker" more than anything else, and quite frankly, I do not think this is helpful. However, the last couple of minutes of this video show the extent to which Obama has been viciously attacked on the so-called news channels.

7/16/2008 4:18 PM  
Anonymous Framer said...

If you gooogle George Bush and anti-christ you get twice as many hits. If you do Trent Humphries and satan you get 15,000. If you selectively put "Trent Humphries" and "satan" you get one hit. And guess whose site that is on!

Obama is facing nothing that other candidates and politicians aren't facing. In fact, it is very apparent that he is more media protected than any other candidate we have had in a while.

The cover isn't a big deal.

7/16/2008 9:27 PM  
Blogger Liza said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7/17/2008 7:43 AM  
Blogger Liza said...

If you google "Barack Obama" with anti christ you get 1,430,000 hits. There is absolutely no question that this is an ignorant, evil, racist smear.

I got two hits when I googled "Trent Humphries" and Satan. Neither one made a direct connection. I guess that's good news for you.

To say that Obama is facing nothing that other candidates and politicians aren't facing is delusional.

We have to agree to disagree...again.

7/17/2008 8:14 AM  
Anonymous framer said...

Trent Humphries + satan:*:IE-SearchBox&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7ADBF

The internet is full of wackos, just because something shows up comparing someone to satan, doesn't mean it is an organized campaign by that candidate's opposition.

Unless you are dealing with Hillary of course. . . :)

7/17/2008 11:42 AM  

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