News of the Grotesque

But of course, their readership are not especially noted for their keen grasp of ironic satire.

The best thing I can say about the cover of the New Yorker is that at least they portrayed him as a human being and not some kind of monkey. It’s not that I don’t get it. I absolutely understand the point of the joke; it’s just that I think it’s stupid to think that anyone would like such an ugly image. Lord knows I have produced my share of ugly images, some of them even intentionally, but even I understand that image would be an instant FAIL.  

I’ve been meaning to mention this tidbit before it is entirely buried by the accumulation of daily outrages that pile upon us. That FOX News is so insecure they feel they have to attack reporters who point out facts like FOX slipping in the ratings is no surprise. That they would manipulate the photos of these men to make them look hideous should be even more outrageous than an ill-conceived cartoon. Photomanipulation of this sort by an alleged new organization is Orwellian, no matter what fit of pique prompted it. 

The Roma continue to be persecuted in Europe. Catholics go berzerk over wafers. I’m pretty certain Jesus wouldn’t want anyone making death threats over his Body. This makes me wonder where all those Florida Pro-Lifers who made such a fuss over Terry Schiavo are. Sometimes the news just isn’t pretty.

3 Responses to “News of the Grotesque”

  1. The Prof Says:


    Re: the Obamas NY’er cover–oy. You are correct in pointing out that they did not, at least, do a racially-charged caricature, and for that they get just a little break from me. But only a little one. Is it the worst thing imaginable? No. That’d be the Obama monkey-puppet that the Minnesotan couple plan to sell at the Republican convention–and won’t that go over well. But it’s tasteless. Damn tasteless. I, as do you, get it. But considering the indignities people of color have had to suffer in such forms throughout this country’s history, the folks over at the New Yorker probably ought to re-evaluate their perception of their own cleverness. (I must also hand it to the McCain campaign for immediately denouncing it–even if I won’t be voting for him, even if he’s sacrificed every principle to be President, I still respect that.)

    Re: FOX ‘n Friends’ manipulation of the image–this one’s just as sinister. If you look closely, those images have been manipulated to make those two reporters look like Jewish caricatures. In case you hadn’t heard, they’ve also been making up stuff about Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews, of all people–the latter has never attacked anyone over at FOX.

    And as for the Florida boy…I’m actually going to forward this story to a couple of mobilized Christian groups down there, maybe VCY America. Maybe if they know about it, they’ll actually do something. It’s worth a try, anyway.

  2. The Prof Says:

    As it turns out, those religious-right groups seem to have no concern about such things. They’re too busy turning on each other:

    Apparently right now their primary concern is to bury any form of interspirituality.

    Then again, I’ve listened to their radio broadcasts–best way to learn the psyche of the enemy, really. And what I heard scares the crap out of me. They don’t want to promote religion in the public sphere–they want religion (a very narrow interpretation of Scripture) to rule it. And they don’t bother to use coded language, either.

    I’m going to try “Countdown” next–these doctors would be a great addition to “Worst Persons In The World.”

  3. Yeah, that letter just oozes love and brotherhood, doesn’t it? Christian Fundamentalists are in a very weird place right now; I’m doing the same sort of observation as you and I have a very bad feeling about this. I’ve mentioned the Phineas Priesthood here before and I’m not the only one who has noticed them:
    When the guys at ‘Rapture Ready’ are worried about the Domionists, it is time to pay attention. This is not some liberal athiest with a chip on their shoulder using hyperbole to get some attention to their blog. This is a guy who believes the Rapture is immenent saying these Dominionists are dangerous. The election of a black president could be exactly the thing that puts them over the edge. None of this changes my vote for Obama-if anything it makes my resolve stronger. But it is something to keep an eye on, surely.

    I listened to Art Spiegelman today on NPR eloquently defend the current New Yorker cover, and I have to admit that as big of a fan of his as I am, he came off as defensive and condescending. Of course, Paul Moody was on before him and actually did a very poor job of articulating an argument for why the cover was offensive to him and ignored the question of whether Obama was fair game for satire. But I don’t think that’s the relevant question. The reason I think Spiegelman was fundamentally wrong is that if you want to counteract propaganda you don’t create an image that not only incorporates all of the messages of the propaganda you want to counter, but then does it in a more visually arresting image than anything your enemy has been able to come up with on their own. It’s like handing a gun to a mugger who only has a knife.

    It’s all about timing. If that had been their cover for Inauguration Day, I would have found it hilarious. We’re not there yet.

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