Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Revisiting the New Yorker cover:
First, Tom Toles's cartoon:
Second, Dick Polman's essay on the topic, The New Yorker's misfire
It is just like using the N-word.
Who says it makes all the difference.
Doesn't change the word, but it does radically change the context.
You can't possibly believe the New Yorker has the same intent as if Fox News or Rush Limbaugh created that graphic.
I honestly cannot believe the fervor this is creating among people who should know better, especially given what the New Yorker has bravely printed for the past several years.
What this does is take away time we should be spending focusing on real issues.
Even if you believe the New Yorker has made a grave mistake, what's done is done. There isn't any reason to dwell on the issue unless you believe the New Yorker is truly an insidious publication.
The "Toles" of irony bear heavily on The New Yorker.
I consult in factories in rural IL, IA, IN, MO etc. All of these smears are repeated and agreed to at coffee breaks. I usually ask what was Obama doing in Wright's Christian church when he is a Muslim. Of course that is part of the conspiracy. Trust me, this no context cover is smart, but not helpful.
Anonymous wrote, You can't possibly believe the New Yorker has the same intent as if Fox News or Rush Limbaugh created that graphic.
That completely misses the point. The point is that anyone with an ounce of sense would have realized that the cartoon would harm the Obama campaign by stirring up unhelpful and often incorrect commentary on these faux issues.
There isn't any reason to dwell on the issue unless you believe the New Yorker is truly an insidious publication.
Yes, there is---this kind of wanton stupidity should be published. John McCain is a serious threat to the United States, and the New Yorker stupidly put ammunition in the hands of his supporters.
I hear what critics are saying, and I am inclined to agree. I don't think this was a good move by the New Yorker by any means, but given that the right will go into hysterics over anything, I don't see what makes this cover so interesting.
If anything, we should focus on how silly the illustration is and take ownership of the topic instead of getting upset about it.
Bush reached his popularity in large part because he took ownership of his very obvious flaws and made light of them.
But beyond that, it's a damn cartoon! Look at it. I half expect Looney Toons to pop into frame. Unless you think moderate undecideds are on par with Dutch-hating muslim extremists, I think the direction of the discussion about the cover will have far more impact than the cover itself.
Let us at least take the discussion into constructive directions, like emphasizing all the fallacies that are depicted. If we feel the need to spread the word, spread that.
When I wrote, "Yes, there is---this kind of wanton stupidity should be published." I meant
"Yes, there is---this kind of wanton stupidity should be punished."