Jack’s take on The New Yorker’s Obama cover

Yeah. I know. It’s pretty much old news by now. But I always find Jack Lessenberry’s take on things interesting. And in the same column that he discusses Rep Bart Stupak taking on oil speculators, he discusses the Obama cover of The New Yorker.

Jack writes:

What I suspect strongly is this: The New Yorker staff is probably kinda like most of the people in my social circle in Ann Arbor. Nobody knows anybody who isn’t for Obama (although there are rumors that this one guy’s uncle is a Republican).

They thought the cover was clever satire, when in fact it almost certainly will be used by the slick haters who want to tap into our deep fears that maybe the first black nominee just can’t be trusted after all.

That may be so, but I hardly think it is a reason to not publish such a cover, not that Jack seems to be suggesting that. I do agreed with his suggestion for a sort of title for the cover, however:

What the New Yorker should have done was put a little scroll at the top, saying “The Politics of the Paranoid,” or words to that effect. Instead, they managed to leave a wrong impression and create an unnecessary fuss, which could easily have been avoided had editor David Remnick spent a few hours talking to white voters at some place like K-9 pet supply in Warren.

The last bit of this quote, about K-9 pet supply in Warren, may confuse some. Not me. I grew up in Warren and I get it.

Before reading this column I hadn’t realized that some other cartoonist had satirized the Obama New Yoker cover:

And I agree with Jack that it is better satire:

The cover was, however, brilliantly satirized by David Horsey, the cartoonist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. His version was a National Review cover with a drooling John McCain in a wheelchair, mumbling “bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb Iran.” His wife Cindy, wearing a glazed-over expression, is showering him with pills. “Here, John, take some of my meds to get you through the inaugural parade!” In this version, Dick Cheney’s portrait is over the mantel and the Constitution is burning in the fireplace.

“Know what the difference is?” an editor said to me. “This one is actually funny,” because it is easier to imagine it as being true.

Maybe The New Yorker cover was a blunder. But I am hanging onto my copy. If nothing else, it could be worth some cash some day. And, being an American, that’s really what’s it’s all about anyway.


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