Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Blaspheming The Prophet Obama Is No Joke!

Liberals are squawking about how "offensive" the cover of the recent New Yorker is. Since when were liberals concerned about about whether or not an image is offensive? They don't think they're free unless they are "edgy" and "pushing the envelope" and generally drawing gasps from decent folk.

Jack Shafer at Slate is a better liberal on this point. "Only weak thinkers fear strong images. The publication that convenes itself as a polite dinner party, serving only polenta and pureed peas, need not invite me to sup." ("The New Yorker Draws Fire") He quotes Boss Tweed of Tammany Hall, who actually had a good point that pertains to this flap. The great 19th century cartoonist Thomas Nast would skewer him with caricatures in the newspapers, inciting Tweed at one point to exclaim, "I don't care so much what the papers say about me. My constituents can't read. But, damn it, they can see pictures!"

Ronald Reagan had an opposite response to a journalist who did a report quite critical of him. When he saw it soon after it ran, he congratulated her on it, explaining to the confused journalist (I think it was Andrea Mitchell) that while no one would remember what she said, the images she used were quite complimentary. (No doubt the Gipper was smiling, and there was likely a flag.)

To get The New Yorker's joke, you have to think about who they are and what they intended to ay with the cover. But the image itself reinforces or sows impressions that are unhelpful to the Obama campaign. But the liberals are in no position to complain about "offensive" cartoons. Again, look at Michelle Malkin's sampling of what liberals tolerate in political imagery.

Liberals seem to view any humorous treatment of Barack Obama the way Muslims view jokes about the Prophet Mohammed. Now admittedly, they're not murdering over it. We know that there are some things you just don't joke about. The holocaust and the rape of Nanking, for example. Apparently Barack Obama and the enlightenment of the human race that he is sure to bring us is another such topic. Maureen Dowd is motheringly concerned about Obama's "chilly earnestness" in her column today ("May We Mock, Barack?").

If you need to lighten up, take at look at this Jib Jab video lampooning the election thus far.

3 p.m. update - I just walked around midtown Manhattan looking for this infamous issue of The New Yorker and it is sold out everywhere. I have no doubt that the artist Barry Blitt and the magazine's editors meant to jab the right, not the left, but whatever they did has certainly paid off, judging from street level. We'll see what happens to subscriptions. Supposedly "shocking" covers like the June 17 1996 Barry Blitt cover depicting one sailor kissing another in a homosexual allusion to the 1945 Alfred Eisenstaedt picture on the cover of LIFE magazine certainly don't ruffle any feathers among The New Yorker's established readership, even though they are "offensive" to others. Perhaps we'll see this magazine testing the liberality of liberals more frequently. Nah.

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