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New Yorker goes overboard on Obama satire?

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In case you missed it, yesterday news broke of the intended cover of the upcoming New Yorker’s July 21st 2008 edition. [CNN]

New Yorker CoverHighlights of the cartoon:
1. Shows Barack Obama dressed in traditional Muslim garbs complete with turban
Background: Barack wore a turban and traditional Kenyan attire in 2006 when he visited that nation. [UD]
2. Show Michelle Obama sporting an afro while in real life she does not [Photo]
3. Michelle Obama is carrying an AK-47 and a belt of bullets in the mold of a Taliban fighter
4. Barack and Michelle bumping fists, which they often do in public appearances
5. Picture of someone resembling Osama bin Laden on the wall of what appears to be the Oval Office in the White House
6. And above all, an American flag burning in the fireplace.

Did I miss anything?

The Obama campaign immediately termed the cover as “tasteless and offensive” as did the McCain campaign. [CBS]

The Obama campaign quickly condemned the rendering. Spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement:
The New Yorker may think, as one of their staff explained to us, that their cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Sen. Obama’s right-wing critics have tried to create. But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree.”
McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds quickly e-mailed: “We completely agree with the Obama campaign, it’s tasteless and offensive.”

The editor of the New Yorker released a statement terming the cover as a “satire” of Obama critics and slanders urging everyone else to do the same. [NPR]

“The intention is to satirize not Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, but, in fact, to hold a pretty harsh light up to the rumors, innuendos, lies about the Obamas that have come up — that they are somehow insufficiently patriotic or soft on terrorism,”
“Satire doesn’t run with subtitles. A satirical cartoon would not be any good if it came with a set of instructions.”

Being a humor and satire based blogger, I semi-agree with that last statement on satire. However, I find it hard not believing that this was nothing but a cheap trick to generate publicity for the New Yorker’s July 21st edition, using a tried and tested stunt.

Reading various blogs and message boards, I came across various points of view:
- If George Bush can be the victim of satire, why not Obama? [BushOrChimp.com]
- Barack, welcome to Hillary Clinton’s world. [NOW]
-Extremely offended to the point of calling for a boycott of the New Yorker [LA Times]
-Found it to be “not a big deal” [Huffington Post]

Huffington also raises an interesting point: Magazines and late night comics (largely white media catering to a majority white audience) are finding it hard to run comic material about Obama largely because of his race. [NY Times]

So? :-)

Thoughts? Opinions? “Tasteless and offensive”? “Funny”? “Not cool but not a big deal”? What say ye?

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