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

February 2015

The War of the World

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Sharp Edge of Life

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Great Republican Land Heist

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Captive Market

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Day of the Sea

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
The Great Republican Land Heist·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The wholesale transfer of public lands to state control may never be achieved. But the goal might be more subtle: to attack the value of public lands.”
Photograph by Chad Ress
Article
The Sharp Edge of Life·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The struggle of the novelist has been to establish a measure, a view of human nature, and usually, though not always, as large a view as belief and imagination can wring from observable facts.”
Photo by Eddie Adams/Associated Press
Article
Captive Market·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"Fear of random violence lives on, but the reality is that violent-crime rates have dropped to levels not seen since the early Seventies."
Photograph by Richard Ross
Article
The Day of the Sea·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Fifteen judges will then sit together in a wood-paneled room, in a city thousands of miles from the Andes, and decide whether the ocean Bolivia claims as its right will at last be returned to it.”
Photo by Fabio Cuttica/Contrasto/Redux
Post
Introducing the February Issue·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Ruin of the West
Christopher Ketcham investigates Cliven Bundy’s years-long battle with the BLM, Annie Murphy reflects on Bolivia’s lost coast, and more
Painting by Richard Prince, whose work was on view in October at Gagosian Gallery in New York City © The artist. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery

Percentage increase in the annual number of polio cases in Pakistan since 2005:

857

A bowl of 4,000-year-old noodles was found in northwestern China; and a spokesman for the Chinese Academy of Sciences said that “this is the earliest empirical evidence of noodles ever found.”

A federal judge sentenced the journalist Barrett Brown to 63 months in prison for sharing a link to information stolen from the private-intelligence firm Stratfor by a hacker in 2011. “Good news!” Brown said in a statement. “They’re now going to send me to investigate the prison-industrial complex.”

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