Monday, July 14, 2008

The Obama New Yorker Cover

This week's New Yorker has a cover by artist Barry Blitt of Michelle and Barack Obama dressed in their native garb, which has apparently offended many in the liberal blogosphere. My first impression on seeing this cover was that the New Yorker had written an exposé revealing that Barack Obama is indeed a Muslim, Michelle Obama was a member of the Black Panthers (or the Mod Squad) and that the Obamas hate America and burn American flags in their fireplace. Then David Remnick, the editor of the New Yorker, issued a statement saying that the illustration is actually intended to be satire, a decadent form of humor invented by the Romans shortly before their civilization was overrun by barbarians.

I loved the illustration, which I thought was a very powerful statement about how Barack Obama should not be elected President, and as Jonah Goldberg noted, it could have been a cover illustration for the National Review, which used to be called the Harvard Lampoon before it went national and changed its name. But I must say I also agree with many in the liberal blogosphere who believe that satire and most other kinds of humor should be avoided at all costs. I have long been opposed to satire, which just causes unhealthy confusion and, like fluoridated water, weakens our body politic. How can we fight an enemy that doesn't have any sense of humor at all if our media is distracting us with such esoteric and ill-advised attempts at comedy?

I don't even understand the point of satire. If the editors of the New Yorker actually believe that Barack Obama is not a Muslim, Michelle Obama is not a dangerous revolutionary and that they do not actually burn American flags, as Remnick now claims, couldn't they have just said that? Wouldn't it have been simpler and clearer to run the illustration with a big X over it so that we knew what they were trying to say? We are not mind readers. It doesn't make much sense to say the opposite of what you mean and then attack people for being unsophisticated because they thought you were sincere. Do New Yorkers always say the opposite of what they mean and then expect you to understand? Real Americans, I think, prefer straight talkers, like John McCain, who means what he says when he tells us that he doesn't know very much about economics, can't figure out how to use a computer and believes that we will be in Iraq for 100 years.

Satire, I believe, is supposed to be funny, though I don't see how being dishonest is humorous. I think it's just sad. If the New Yorker wanted to run a humorous cover that showed Obama is not a Muslim, they could have accomplished that goal by depicting him slipping on a banana peel on the way to church. That would have made the same point and it would also have had the virtue of being funny.

Although this modest blog has twice been nominated for a Weblog Award for Funniest Blog and I have sometimes been unfairly accused of being satiric by my enemies, as I have said many times I am no expert on comedy and any humor in this blog is purely unintentional and deeply regretted. So I must defer to the liberal blogosphere, many of whose members are indeed experts at comedy. Although liberals are often unfairly accused of being humorless, the truth is that they are so knowledgable about what makes something funny that they rarely find humor that meets their very tough standards. They are like connoisseurs of fine wine who are unable to drink anything that is not the finest vintage. When a liberal says, "That's not funny!" it is a cry from the heart from someone who longs to see something that really is funny. It's too bad the editors of the New Yorker did not consult them first before they made their ill-fated attempt at comedy.

Atrios, for example, whom many consider to be the Benny Hill of the blogosphere, but pithier, points out that for satire to be effective, it must exaggerated beyond all reason so that even a moron will know it is supposed to be funny. Only satire that is way, way over the top has even a chance of making people laugh. Subtlety has no place in satire because it could easily be taken at face value. If someone like Atrios is fooled into believing that something intended to be satire is real doesn't that just defeat the whole purpose? It would be like an episode of MASH without the laugh track, which wouldn't be funny at all because you wouldn't know when to laugh. Many liberals believe that if they don't get a joke, it stands to reason that it would probably go over the heads of most people, who are not as smart as they are. Just to be on the safe side, it would probably be better if humor were avoided altogether.

If a magazine decides, however, that it does want to take the risk of publishing satire, in order to avoid unfortunate misunderstandings, satire should always be clearly labeled. As a reader of Andrew Sullivan pointed out, one of our greatest African-American clowns, Spike Lee, opened his film Bamboozled, with a definition of satire, so that no one would think he was being racist -- against black people, that is. If he had not put up this warning before the movie, many people in Hollywood (who might not have realized that Spike Lee is himself black -- yes, it's true! -- because most of them are completely color blind) would have thought that Bamboozled was a racist film and he would have had to go to rehab for alcoholism to save his career. The next time the New Yorker tries to run a satiric cover, they should include a label that says "Satire" in very big letters just as they label all of their advertisements. Although I am not generally in favor of solving problems with legislation, the time may have come when the government needs to mandate warning labels for satire like they do for cigarettes.

The illustration might also have been acceptable if the New Yorker ran it on the inside of the magazine where people who are sensitive to mockery would not have run across it casually on a newsstand. Or they might also have enclosed this issue in a brown paper bag the way pornographic magazines sometimes are to keep it away from the eyes of children and people with heart trouble (how many children have been traumatized for life and how many deaths this cover has caused will only be known in the coming weeks). While the cover may have met the community standards of a place like New York where people apparently don't mean what they say, there are some parts of the country where satire is just not acceptable in public.

Kevin Drum, whose expertise in comedy is rivaled only by his knowledge of politics, helpfully suggested that the illustration should have been in a thought balloon emanating from the head of John McCain. Of course, thought balloons are in and of themselves funny because the whole notion of a person having a balloon coming out of his head is very comedic. Just thinking about it makes me laugh as I type this. I think his main point, however, is that if you are going to use satire, you must make it very clear that you are distancing yourself from the ideas you are expressing. It is much easier to do this in person because you can express the ideas in a funny voice or contort your face or body in a bizarre way so that the listener knows that you are pretending to be someone else, but in print a device like a thought balloon can have the same effect. You would think the editors of the New Yorker would know that. If they need a crash course in what makes something funny, I suggest they take a look at Interiors, one of Woody Allen's earlier, funnier films. The entire film is like a thought balloon coming out of Ingmar Bergman's head.

There is not much the members of the liberal blogosphere and I agree on but I salute them on their efforts to stamp out humor and especially satire and bring more earnestness to our political discourse. The readers of The Daily Kos have been especially vigilant in their War Against Comedy and I commend them for it. I hope that the conservative blogosphere, which sometimes succumbs to very awkward and embarrassing attempts at humor, but fortunately is usually not funny at all, will join with liberals in this crusade. This past week, in fact, both campaigns learned that comedy and presidential politics don't mix. I hope that we can spend the rest of the campaign with the candidates and their surrogates not trying to be funny especially since we are living in very unfunny times. Elections are serious things and there is no room for levity in such a process unless that levity has been carefully scripted by a campaign speechwriter and sometimes not even then.

Update: Kevin Drum wrote me a very nice note: "Ann Althouse misunderstood my point too, so you're in good company......" It is indeed an honor to be in Ms. Althouse's company even if only metaphorically and not literally, which is what I think Mr. Drum meant.

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Carnival of the Insanities

89 comments:

kathleenmaher said...

You are so right, Jon. While you offered many suggestions that might have made The New Yorker's intention clearer, your idea about a laugh track would not only inform those who didn't "get" it, the laugh itself could make one chuckle. Imagine if the cover worked like one of those musical greeting cards. One opened the magazine and heard "Ha, ha, ha!" The clarity would've been worth the extra price, unless, of course, the magazine wants everyone to fuss over it.

ruscitti said...

Jon-
Who was the photographer that took that photo of the Obamas?
How did he get access to them?
Was this before or after 9/11?
I think these are the questions that need to be asked and answered.

Matt said...

I just like life a little more on days when you post, Jon. I just hope the good people of Czechoslovakia can enjoy this post as much as I did. Do the Internet tubes go there?

Clark said...

I think we need a constitutional amendment banning satire. Satire is a lot like flag burning, foul language and other kinds of "speech" that those liberals are always defending. But no, not if the satire is aimed at one of them! The next thing you know there will be a cartoon showing John McCain falling asleep in a fighter jet or something.

Ban all satire, I say.

TimRussert said...

If patriotism is the LAST refuge of a scoundrel, satire must certainly be the FIRST! Thus, it is no surprise that the New Yorker employs this devise on behalf of New Yorks favorite son, er daughter: Hillary.

Yes, you have it all wrong. Liberal bloggers are not devoid of humor, or too effete to enjoy a simple joke -- they are simply part of the vast right-wing (of the Democratic party) conspiracy. Employing satire perfectly matches the Clinton "I want it both ways" style. Is it a joke? Is it serious? Yes, and Yes.

Jaye Ramsey Sutter said...

People who do not "get" New Yorker humor should not be allowed to run for public office. I also think that people who do not understand New Yorker cartoons should not be allowed to vote.

A bunch of stuff happened this week outside of the left blogistan like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and real people losing their life's savings at the bank, but no, we have to worry once again if Senator Obama's feelings were hurt. Christ on a cupcake will he ever get over himself? I wish the man would buy a dog so he would seem more human. He is no FDR and needs to develop a sense of humor about himself. I cannot see him talking about his little dog Fala being angry. I might actually like the man if he would learn to laugh at himself.

I don't think Obama ever read the New Yorker before this and frankly I have always thought there were two kinds of people--those who get it and those who don't. I will be sending the magazine a check for what amounts to a life time subscription.

So, Obama wouldn't get it if we said we think that it is spinach and we say to hell with it.

Rob Weaver said...

This post reminds me of that sketch in Life of Brian where the women dress as men so they can go to the stoning. But because most of them are played by the Monty Python team, they're actually men dressed as women dressed as men. But then conservative preacher Roger Fulton attacked the film for, among other things, depicting the mother of Jesus/Brian as a man dressed "in woman's clothing, in direct violation of the Holy Scriptures", so he thought Terry Jones' appearance in that scene made him a man dressed as a man dressed as a woman dressed as a man. Which doesn't mean I think Jon is confused like Rev. Fulton, just that - my head is SPINNING, man!

Ontario Emperor said...

As usual, Jon, you are twisting the truth to make your point. Your insinuation that liberals want to stamp out humor is, to put it mildly, a bald-faced lie. Take a look at Hollywood. Take a look at Harvard, the original birthplace of the National Review. Although you choose to ignore it, both Hollywood and Harvard are heavily populated with liberals. This is such an obvious truth that even propaganda outlets such as Fox News are forced to admit it. Just because YOU don't get the subtle nuances of the humor of such icons as Spike Lee and Rosie O'Donnell doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. In fact, I will go further and say that these capabilities for higher humor will ensure the future strength of the nation, as people such as Rob Reiner and former SNL host Ralph Nader occupy prominent political positions in the futurel. Can you think of one conservative entertainer who has been more than mildly successful in politics? One? I don't care if you're talking about a television star, a movie star, or even a baseball announcer, but I can't see the day when a conservative entertainer occupies the highest office in the land.

John J. said...

The problem with the New Yorker cover is that the target audience are not the people who will be affected by the cover. People who read the New Yorker will know it's satire, but the larger population will look at the cover and let it reinforce their already ridiculous beliefs. I'm sure Fox News, and particularly Michelle Malkin, is using as an excuse to just talk about the lies and not how foolish they are.

The other problem is that the real people smeared in this cover are not just the Obamas, but also (and more dominantly) the black and Muslim communities. It reinforces the xenophobic, racist belief that if we elect someone different from us it will destroy America.

Hopefully, four years from now (I hesitate to wish for just one year) this cover will be the height of comedy -- we'll be able to look back on these smears and laugh about them. Right now though, the belief in this insanity is too strong (50-60% in some states) that it isn't funny; it's depressing and worrying.

les said...

Damn. Just, damn. You da best.

LT said...

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

God, I killed four kittens yesterday I was so mad at the world. You may have saved several more.

troglaman said...

What les said.

Andrew said...

Terrific piece. Just wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Jon, for weighing in on this issue. As always, you have hit the proverbial nail on its non-corporeal head. A subject as serious as the US presidential election certainly has no place for levity. Imagine what would happen if everyone felt entitled to make fun of the president and his administration.

Fuckwad (<--satire?) said...

PEEL, Mr. Swift, BANANA PEEL. Impeccable spelling is, unfortunately, satire's greatest ally (if indeed what we see on your blog is satire -- no one seems sure what that is anymore).

Also, @ #6, Jaye Ramsey Sutter: If you had already been enjoying a subscription to The New Yorker, you would know that about 85% of the cartoons in it are utterly insipid, joyless howls into the void of upper-class existential angst. Not the most stringent test for office (everyone there has already passed). Furthermore, everyone should be allowed to vote. USA!

bitchphd said...

Dear Jon Swift,

I love you.

Bitch PhD

Lisa Simeone said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you, a thousand thank-yous. Alas, the Humorless Left isn't a rightwing canard. It's alive and kicking . . . and quacking.

But Dear Jon, you've been writing for how many years, and still people such as John J. don't get it. How do you sustain yourself?

Bisous!

Batocchio said...

If they need a crash course in what makes something funny, I suggest they take a look at Interiors, one of Woody Allen's earlier, funnier films. The entire film is like a thought balloon coming out of Ingmar Bergman's head.

My favorite lines, I think. I don't think this particular cartoon was particularly witty or funny, for some of the reasons Mike Gerber outlines, but then, I've been documenting similar cartoons from right-wingers for a couple of years now. Context does matter. And the proposed "re-working" with a thought balloon would have been deadly, too on the nose. Yeah, some conservatives do indeed think it's the truth. Regardless, the magazine has a right to run it, and the hoopla's way overblown – not to mention good for sales. Whether the cover's funny or effective goes to individual taste somewhat, but of course it's intented as satire, and the people who already believed the smears were never going to get it or have their minds changed, anyway.

Ginger Mayerson said...

Oh, Jon, after this I'm putting you on Bloglines!

Yeah, the New Yorker, it's swell for swells.

Full disclosure: Satire I like. Irony pisses me off. Neither are going to win or lose this election for Senator Obama.

Anonymous said...

this blog piece, coming from a liberal who just stumbled upon your site, is a great commentary. And, yes, I actually find you insightful, and the posting comments as funny as anything to come out of "the Onion".

But,
the New Yorker knew damn well what they were doing. The white elitists really ARE afraid of the brown man who went to the same schools as they did.

ignobility said...

I agree with Atrios that satire cannot be too subtle. The Three Stooges, now, that's satire we can all get behind.

Anonymous said...

Let's all go down to the Trans-Lux and hiss Remnick.

-- drlimerick

Anonymous said...

Jon Swift wrote:

"I have sometimes been unfairly accused of being satiric by my enemies, as I have said many times I am no expert on comedy and any humor in this blog is purely unintentional and deeply regretted."

Well then, that explains your Tim Russert posting.

Sometimes it is a bit difficult to track the precise mood your are trying to convey; what with your pantomime of the conservative-stumbler as the predominant voice some days, but with your own bitter sarcasm creeping through on others.

With that in mind, we look forward to trying to sort out your upcoming piece on a certain lefty senator much in the news recently.

Cheers! And here's pissing on Karl Marx' grave.

Anonymous said...

You are stupid. That's just satire.
P.S. I also think the cover is stupid, but not merely because "liberals" made it in a snarky attempt to be clever and highminded. It's just stupid.

Shannon said...

I knew this had to be here! Because I have no life, I've been checking three times a day, just salivating for it. Sorry, that's the most effective description for my behavior.

Jaye Ramsey Sutter said...

Hey "fuckwad"

It was satire, your humorless-er--"fuckwad."

Please don't set me up so easily.

And don't we live in a great country when I can address a critic by his first name?

Chuck Butcher said...

Thanks Jon
I've been trying to figure out what it was I didn't like about the cover. I'm still not sure but I feel much less lonely now...

Anonymous said...

How did you misunderstand Kevin Drum's point?

Not seeing that one.

Adorable Girlfriend said...

Dear Bitch PhD,

Jon is mine!

Love,

AG

Adorable Girlfriend said...

Dear Bitch PhD,

Jon is mine!

Love,

AG

J. said...

As a former New Yorker (both resident and reader) and slightly-left-of-center blogger who enjoys a good satire, I hate to say it but... I entirely agree with your assessment of the recent New Yorker cover, in particular:

"Wouldn't it have been simpler and clearer to run the illustration with a big X over it so that we knew what they were trying to say? We are not mind readers. It doesn't make much sense to say the opposite of what you mean and then attack people for being unsophisticated because they thought you were sincere. Do New Yorkers always say the opposite of what they mean and then expect you to understand?"

Though as for McCain being a "straight talker," I guess it depends on how you define "straight," which seems to now mean "jagged line."

Libertina said...

Kudos, Mr. Swift. I too believe the cover needed to be more obvious to be understood as satire. Perhaps if the Obamas were eating their own children it would have made more sense. Something outrageous and unbelievable like that would have made the artist's intentions clear.

joe shikspack said...

i believe your goal of the demise of satire is well on its way to acheivement - the bush administration has done you an enormous favor by rendering both satire and farce superfluous.

Anonymous said...

Anybody who uses the guise of Jonathan Swift for his online persona and then claims to have no taste for satire ought to find a new blogging gimmick.

Cervantes said...

It is fortunate indeed that people who don't immediately grasp the satire in this cartoon do not vote -- otherwise it might have done some harm.

Mo MoDo said...

I can't back your call for a ban on satire. That would force Maureen Dowd to get a real job and I'm not sure what else she is qualified for.

LanceThruster said...

I find the drawing accurate in terms of the nonsense used to smear the Obamas, but worry about the memes planted with those who do not deconstruct the image any further.

"I don't care a straw for your newspaper articles, my constituents don't know how to read, but they can't help seeing them damned pictures." ~ Boss Tweed

Anonymous said...

Goodness, it's amazing how many people don't get this satire about satire.

Anonymous said...

Not all that amazing, really. Swift is being much more subtle here than usual and perhaps that's part of his point. "What good is satire if people can't recognize the irony?"

Heather said...

Please see my visual suggestion for the New Yorker. The cover only lacks context:

http://heatherleila3.blogspot.com/2008/07/what-they-should-have-done.html

Brando said...

Amazing post, Jon. I loved the Harvard Lampoon/National Review line.

Stephen said...

I think the New Yorker should apologize at the very least for depicting him that way...Help me force an apology or else: https://www.thepoint.com/campaigns/the-new-yorker-should-apologize-for-the-obama-terrorist-cover

Anonymous said...

The cover is like the Sum of All Liberal fears, I think that's whats provoced all these negative reactions from them. The cover brought all these smears about Obama to the surface, and in that I think it did a good job. You can't run a whisper campaign if somebody is shouting out the lies.

Perhaps The New Yorker should have adapted the cover to the internet generation and written THIS IS WHAT THE RIGHT ACTUALLY BELIEVES over it to get the point across.

Comrade Kevin said...

I'm conflicted, but oversensitivity seems to be the new religion.

Anonymous said...

"Tasteless" is the word used most often by the media to describe this "satirical" illustration, and I agree, just as I agree with much of what you say in your very informative blog on the subject. We're looking at an interesting campaign season, one in which distortions of truth will take a backseat to outright lies and scandal making. Our country isn't screwed up, its the people contributing garbage to the landfill who make us look bad. In a nutshell I wish we could just run elections on the concrete issues rather than purposely deceptive and crafted imagery.

TimRussert said...

After further consideration, my earlier post seems to me to be off-base and a bit nonsensical. Please note that it was meant to be ironic/satirical in keeping with John Swift's article. Clearly, that is difficult to do well, and my hat is off to Jon.

Frank Zappa said...

One of the very few cases of absolutes...

How can Liberals or leftists be humorless when ALL great American comics over the past 100 years are liberal and leftist?

Name five Conservative or right wing top draw comedians?

Not even Jeff Foxworthy is a rightist.

"All people are born alike--- except Republicans and Democrats" Groucho Marx

Monkay said...

What bitchphd said.

Anonymous said...

This has actually been a blessing for Obama, if anything. The cover was not really about Barack, but rather the media. So, of course, this put the media in a position where they had to fight back against the New Yorker. And in doing so, they actually had to pretend as if they thought it was distasteful that Obama was depicted the way he was. Even O'Reily came out and blasted the New Yorker.

From here on out, it's going to be impossible for the MSM to throw any "terrorist fist jabs" or "secret muslim" bullshit out there. Not after all this phony outrage over how the New Yorker depicted Obama.

Anonymous said...

I think people who don't get satire are smart, for seeing straight through the hoity toity bullsh*t and knowing that if you can't see something, it obviously doesn't exist.

Anonymous said...

I think the New Yorker forgets how ignorant the average American actually is. You wouldn't tell a joke to a room full of people if you knew that most people wouldn't get it, would you? Oh, you would? Oh.

Clark said...

I found this comment at Reclusive Leftist

orlando says:

What is profoundly offensive is that guy thinking he has the right to call himself Jon Swift.


Now, that's satirical.

Bukko_in_Australia said...

I'm with you, Rev. Swift. As a conservative, I just can't wrap my mind around this "satire" thing. And irony, too -- what's up with that concept. We compassionate conservatives are straight-ahead people who mean what we say when we talk about things like the virtues of the free market and the wisdom of using the awesome power of government to help maintain the solvency of profitable companies like Freddie Mae and Fannie Mac in the face of swindlers who fooled bank examiners by lying on their mortgage documents. Double meanings and sly inside jokes are for liberals and French people.

Anonymous said...

While we're joking....

One guy says: I don't even understand the point of satire.

The other guy answers: If your first reaction to a joke is "Huh?" that often means that it is a very good joke indeed.

Here's the punchline...ready? It's the same guy! Ha! Get it?

Anonymous said...

If the Obama campaign does not view the cover of the New Yorker as satire, they have no business expecting Americans to support Obama.

Obama tells his followers that anyone who opposes his is a Republican and/or a racist and that they are lying. I am so tired of that Bla, bla, bla.

Obama is hiding his lack of qualifications and his corruption behind his minority status at the expense of all legitimate minority efforts for equality.

Shame on you, Barack Obama!

Taylor said...

To explain satire a little Jon, it isn't necessarily supposed to be funny, but to poke fun. Some people don't understand it right away, but it certainly got our attention more than the statement "Obama is not a muslim and Michelle is not a terrorist" printed in bold letters. I would also recommend that you start getting your news from a variety of sources. You seem to be under the impression that Obama is a muslim, but actually, he is Christian. However, I would like you to explain to us what is wrong with being Muslim? What prejudices do you hold against the most popular religion of the world? Is it that they pray several times a day? That they do not have pre-marital sex? Do you have issues with people who do not drink alcohol? Do you understand that the small percentage of people who use the Muslim religion to support acts of terrorism are no different than the priests of the catholic church who used their religion to defend their Spanish inquisition hundreds of years ago?

Taylor said...

As to the flag burning, Did you know that the proper way to dispose of a flag that is beyond repair is by burning it, exactly in the way that is depicted in the cover of the New Yorker? This is from the USA Flag site: "The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning"

new day said...

To explain satire a little Jon, it isn't necessarily supposed to be funny, but to poke fun. Some people don't understand it right away...

Whoa, Taylor. When I want a lesson on "funny," I will definitely look to you. That was hysterical.

Keep 'em coming.

Jack Payne said...

I couldn't agree more when you say - dishonesty is not humourous - i think it was quite sad by The New Yorker to publish this cover. They should be working on covers that result in a healthy debate and not mudslinging on someone's alledged roots.

Stephen said...

Well jack I hope you come take a look at my campaign to get theNew Yorker to apologize: http://www.thepoint.com/campaigns/the-new-yorker-should-apologize-for-the-obama-terrorist-cover

Carl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carl said...

Sir, I totally agree with you, but this is no surprise.

For example, recall when John McCain was YouTubed singing "Ah, Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran"?

Satire. Not particularly funny.

Or when George Allen was videotaped calling some Jim Webb stooge "macaca". Again, satire. Again, unfunny.

Or when Rev. Wright said white people hate blacks! I mean, come ON, America! That was satire, but it was UNfunny!

OK, maybe that last one was pretty funny. After all, how could white Americans hate a country they've owned, stolen from people of an inferior race, and forcing inferior colored people to work their menial jobs?

But you see my point? When Nixon's agriculture secretary (and isn't that satire right there?) Earl Butz joked about "the only thing the coloreds are looking for in life are tight pussy, loose shoes and a warm place to shit," he was being satirical! Anyone who knew Butz knew there isn't a racist bone in his body!

At least not anymore....

Carl said...

Do you understand that the small percentage of people who use the Muslim religion to support acts of terrorism are no different than the priests of the catholic church who used their religion to defend their Spanish inquisition hundreds of years ago?

Which in turn is smaller even than the percentage of Catholic priests who use religion to defend child molestations.

Mic Seagull said...

This is my first time to this blog, so your piece might itself be satire... how would I know? If not, then your line: "exaggerated beyond all reason" is exactly The New Yorker's point about the accusations leveled at the Obama's.

Carl said...

Mic,

"Jon Swift" should be the clue.

In other words, he's totally sincere.

Dr X said...

That was the first New Yorker cartoon I ever "got." I don't want it explained to me. I'm just so damned happy that I laughed at a New Yorker cartoon instead of staring at it and thinking wtf...

Anonymous said...

It's unfortunate that discourse is generally so low that feathers really do get ruffled about this sort of thing. That said let's keep count of how many times the cartoon is played on Fox News and what sort of context is provided. Cable TV talking heads have proven time and time again that there is no bar too low.

Micgar said...

I think that Jon is so right....we should have warnings on all satire. "Warning: This is pure satire" would be effective. Then we could all laugh. Without that warning, we won't laugh.

Stella said...

It's official. Jonathan Swift was reincarnated as Jon Swift.

CTK said...

Holy F*uck! I did so many spit takes over this one that I read it all without taking a bathroom break or even texting my last one-night-stand to angrily let him know he left his panties under my bed.

I actually cut-n-pasted a few of my fave yarns into a word doc so I could highlight them and repost into your comment section (thereby acting as if I AM THE ONLY ONE WHO REALLY KNOWS WHAT IS FUNNY by pointing out the individually selected words of thought that amuse ME, me, me...which sneakily turns your own masterpiece into something that I HAD TO DO WITH...yeah baby...spell my name right as CoAuthor when this shizz goes Pulitzer!)

"...satire, a decadent form of humor invented by the Romans shortly before their civilization was overrun by barbarians."

"...any humor in this blog is purely unintentional and deeply regretted."

"...the Benny Hill of the blogosphere, but pithier..."

"Subtlety has no place in satire because it could easily be taken at face value."

"...one of our greatest African-American clowns, Spike Lee"

"Just thinking about it makes me laugh as I type this."

"...a look at Interiors, one of Woody Allen's earlier, funnier films. The entire film is like a thought balloon coming out of Ingmar Bergman's head."

**I nearly conniption-fitted myself into a guffawing death of Chuckle-Mirth over that ONE!!!!**

EXCELLENT stuff JSwifty...really good as always. Aw man, what a hoot! Oh and by the way, that illustration is a bit of a snooze, however the actual article (although NoDoz worthy as well in spots)
is the real money shot OF COURSE. I love how that Bamboozlin'-Obama turned it all into just a "COVER" instead of a cover story. They are so good at de-pantsing the messenger. WEAR SUSPENDERS Jon!

Mobisop said...

hahaha. the picture is so funny

Hipple, Rev. Paul T. said...

The Good Lord created us and put us on this planet for two good reasons: To accomplish His Plan, and to serve as an effective deterrent to the growing dinosaur menace.

He didn't intend for us to spend a great deal of time joking around about it.

Billigflug said...

Yes, hehe^^ you´re 1. right 2. funny. The most simple way would be to ask the artist about his intentions, wouldn´t it?

Dr X said...

Where have you gone, Jon Swift? Have you been silenced by your liberal overlords?

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The Fiat patent fraud. About the Fiat hybrids: the technology double clutch with electric motor between has been stolen by a patent that Fiat Company has never wanted to purchase, but only shamelessly to copy. This hybrid solution will be the basic technology with Chrysler's electric and hybrid car program. Please give a look in my blog where the "vitality" and boldness of the Fiat planners it appears in all of evidence: http://dualsymbioticelectromechanicalengine.blogspot.com/
If the industries can afford unpunished to copy the ideas and defending it need very expensive trial, to which target need the patents? How to defend the rights of private inventors? How our young people can find intellectual courage if the economic potentates crush the rights of the single ones? Whoever is about to ask for a patent or wants to propose a proper patent to a big firm I suggest to give a look to my experience with the Fiat, to get able to operate with better adroitness. Thanks and good time to everybody. Ulisse Di Bartolomei (Not spam! Please don’t stop this comment)

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