Tuesday, July 22, 2008

#33 Obama and THE NEW YORKER Cover

Four days late, I got the notorious issue yesterday (Monday), though "getting" The New Yorker even when you've got it, is another matter ALtogether. I'm reminded of a Seinfeld episode (when aren't we?--there's one to cover every aspect of human existence) where Elaine is up for a possible job at the very magazine in question. In her interview SHE questions the editor about a cartoon she didn't understand (she had submitted one of her own that subsequently turned out to have been unconsciously plagiarized from I think Howard Huge...very unsophisticated): "I just don't get it; Why does the cat ask the dog this question about [so-and-so]?"..."Well, it speaks to our current post-modern existential angst [or some such]."..."You don't know what it means either, do you."... "Not a clue."..."Then why did you put it in your magazine?"..."I love cats."

I'm sure that you Myriad Readers subscribe to the TNY for the same reasons I do: to keep abreast of Broadway openings and new restaurants about town. So this is why I was disturbed that the Obama number was not in my mailbox on Wednesday as usual. Maybe it was hijacked and sold on the black market just for the cover? Burned in effigy by a secret Nazi clavern in the PO? Vandalized/destroyed by Obamaphile mailpeople who just couldn't "get" the joke? Well, the joke was on them, and not too subtly. One need only turn to page 2 to get the title, "The Politics of Fear." Nonetheless, Barry Blitt was called on to explain himself and his cartoon by the end of a week of puzzled outrage--but only on the part of the non-cognoscenti. Face it, TNY is for the intellectual elite, or wannabes thereof. If you miss only one or two of the cartoons per issue...you qualify. But the satire on the cover is indeed SO hyperbolic that I believe the artist was a little "paranoid" himself about people NOT getting it. All of the unfounded fears of the Great Unwashed about Barrack and Michelle are duly depicted and ferociously caricatured. (Please bring it up online if you don't have a copy--spare me a description.)

Now here's the problem for the Obama camp. They all "got it"--no question. But he's already been accused of being an elitist (the "clinging to guns and God" comment), even by Hillary (!) once upon a time. Now to admit that he's in on the joke that a multitude of his supporters sadly don't understand...would support the charge. So of course his team had to give out that they were "offended" by the cartoon, but, wisely, without much further comment. I would be surprised,too, if Barry Blitt WEREN'T an avid Obama fan, so fervently it seems did (he think) he was advancing the cause. What afterthoughts must weigh upon him now, poor guy. The cartoon is great. Will it help or hurt Obama? I don't know.

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