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Did the New Yorker go too far?Posted Monday, July 14, 2008, at 8:58 PM
So much for their INTENT. Needless to say, the whole idea has created a firestorm of controversy, has been called "tasteless and offensive" by the Obama camp, and even John McCain has called it offensive, as well.
David Remnick, editor-in-chief of the New Yorker, explained the magazine's rationale:
"The intent of the cover is to satirize the vicious and racist attacks and rumors and misconceptions about the Obamas that have been floating around in the blogosphere and are reflected in public opinion polls," Remnick says. "What we set out to do was to throw all these images together, which are all over the top and to shine a kind of harsh light on them, to satirize them. That's part of what we do."
However, satire is a tricky device. Many, many people take satire literally. About one out of 10 Americans continue to believe that Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, is a Muslim, after all. For them, and for many other observers, there is no "satire" involved in this issue; they look at the cover and simply say, "So, we knew it all along!"
It's not as if Remnick was unaware of what might happen with this magazine cover:
"Satire always comes with some risk and the chance of people misunderstanding it, but if you're going to satirize things only that there's a 100% census on, there's no satire," he said. "There's maybe a certain percentage of the public that thinks there was no moon landing, should we not satirize that?"
Polls in some states show that a fifth of white Democrats will not vote for Obama simply on the basis of color. It would appear that the New Yorker may have inadvertantly added fuel to the fire.
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 573-722-5322.
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