Washington Babylon — July 15, 2008, 10:12 am

That New Yorker Cover

Many readers disliked yesterday’s item “WhineOn.org,” about the hysteria over The New Yorker‘s cover illustration on Barack and Michelle Obama. Indeed, the item generated more negative mail than an earlier post that contained the link to the video of Hillary Clinton as Adolf Hitler in the film Downfall.

A few edited excerpts:

I have been a NYer subscriber for years. My immediate response was not mirth, it was sorrow and disappointment. What’s funny is that you blame us, with no regard for the capacity of the New Yorker to produce bad or tasteless satire. Liberals are solidly in Obama’s camp, and McCain’s stance in the polls has nothing to do with us purportedly “lacking a sense of humor.” –Timothy Sanders

I have to say that I slightly object to your characterization of Obama’s camp reaction to this New Yorker picture. The New Yorker is a fine magazine, just like Harper’s, and I subscribe to both. But I cringed at this picture because I think that the general American public, by default Republican/conservative, are far less tolerant of gaffes and/or humor coming from Democrats than they are when it comes from Republicans. I do not think I am elitist here, but aren’t these the same public who voted for Bush in 2004 because they thought he was a far more “authentic,” “salt-of-the-earth guy” and “someone they could have a beer with,” when all evidence, which was no secret, pointed to the contrary about Bush and his rather elite upbringing and connections? –Nitish Dass

How was that cover humorous? Where was the twist? It was merely a visual representation of every bit of slander that’s been heaved at Obama, none of which is true. Which part of the drawing even hinted at these allegations being flat-out lies? Perhaps it’s time for Ken Silverstein to put aside his blind hatred for Obama. Or perhaps Harper’s can change the name of its website to we_slander_obama.org and have done with it. –Len Cassamas

I don’t disagree with all the sentiments expressed here, but I think the satirical nature of the cartoon is obvious. It clearly is making fun of all of the stupid rumors about Obama, not endorsing them, and most people will see that. The ones who don’t are likely to vote for John McCain anyway.

I find Len Cassamas’s comment about my “blind hatred for Obama” laughable. From the outset of this election season, I’ve thought (and written) that Obama was, on balance, the most interesting and refreshing candidate running for the presidency. But that doesn’t mean I have to suspend all disbelief, as so many people seem willing and eager to do, and pretend that he is an unconventional outsider determined to challenge the status quo.

I also have found consistently annoying the egregious way in which the media (collectively and generally) failed to scrutinize Obama and so clearly sided with his candidacy and against Hillary Clinton’s during the Democratic primaries. And this video was unforgivable and could have driven otherwise sane people directly into the arms of Rudy Giuliani.

Share
Single Page

More from Ken Silverstein:

From the November 2013 issue

Dirty South

The foul legacy of Louisiana oil

Perspective October 23, 2013, 8:00 am

On Brining and Dining

How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy

Postcard October 16, 2013, 8:00 am

The Most Cajun Place on Earth

A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits 

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

August 2014

The End of Retirement

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Octopus and Its Grandchildren

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Francis and the Nuns

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Return of the Strongman

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
The End of Retirement·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“For those riding the economy’s outermost edge, adaptation may now mean giving up what full-time RV dwellers call ‘stick houses’ to hit the road and seek work.”
Photograph (detail) © Max Whittaker
Post
The Many Faces of Boko·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“People want education. Open a school and they will rush.”
Photograph © The author
Article
The Octopus and Its Grandchildren·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On Stanford University’s origins and vision
“The pervasive fantasy that Silicon Valley doesn’t need the government obscures the role of that government in funding much of the research that built it.”
Photograph © Sallie Dean Shatz
Post
God Lives on Lemon Street·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Bethel was Oz-like for me. I mean that with all the awe, utter hopefulness, and mythic fear with which Dorothy and her friends had approached that magical city.”
Photograph (detail) ©© Clemens v. Vogelson (Flickr)
Article
Francis and the Nuns·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“A year and a half into his papacy, Pope Francis is looking an awful lot like his predecessors.”
Photograph (detail) © Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

Estimated additional hours Americans would spend stoned annually if marijuana were legal in most states:

30,000,000,000

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University said that most alcohol-related airplane accidents happen at night and in bad weather.

A waitress in Chengdu ate a cockroach in response to a complaint by a customer who had discovered the bug in his salad. “You will always find cockroaches in the food,” she told him. “It is very normal.”

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

In Praise of Idleness

By

I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

Subscribe Today