NOW is asking this question at the top of their page about the cover, which is reproduced there. The cover picks up on just about every visual cue for the racist slurs leveled at the Obama’s and puts them all together in what they say is satire. It is very hard to see the cover as funny at all. It’s too likely that it will add to the strength of the rumors.
NOW’s page enables you to write the New Yorker and object.
It’s interesting that Saturday Night Live tried a similar thing about Hillary Clinton; that is, they tried to give a satirical representation of slurs and ending up looking like they were slurring. Or at least that’s what a lot of people supposed they were doing in a very unpleasant segment. (I’m relying on my memory here, I should say.)
I’ve been wondering if this is connected to the idea that it is dangerous to issue denials of rumors that involve repeating them. And it’s hard to see how providing another arena for the slurs can be helpful to the Obama’s. In addition, the visual representation lacks the completely explicit “It is false to say that…”.
It may also be that the slurring has gotten so extreme it is beyond satirical exaggeration. Think the most horrible things you can and you may have a rumor someone is pushing.
What do you think?
3 thoughts on ““New Yorker Cover — Satire or Slur?””
According to Merriam-Webster, satire is:
I interpret this to mean that the satirist would take the slurs and somehow exaggerate them to make their ridiculousness so obvious that people who believed some of the things realize how absurd these beliefs were. Maybe one of the best pieces to have captured this was Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator. A lot of George Orwell’s work are good examples, too.
I don’t see that at all in the New Yorker cover. It is not making fun of the slurs. It is simply reproducing them. No satire there.
I was very disappointed when I saw this cover, personally. Michelle Obama ALONE has been getting enough negative press lately because she is a strong, educated African-American woman. And of course, as always, Obama is responding to the controversial cover with grace and dignity – simply calling it tasteless and not really lingering on it.
I happen to really love reading the New Yorker, so this was quite a disappointment. It makes me question what the purpose of this is, because, it isn’t funny. It doesn’t bring anything to light. It just propagates misleading information.
[…] August 31, 2008 Filed under: bias, gender, politics — jj @ 3:57 pm In these extreme times, some supposed satire just doesn’t work. Instead of being funny, it seems merely to repeat what is […]
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