Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Satire or Simply Offensive?

In an effort to counteract rumors and myths about presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, the New Yorker has published an article in its July 21st issue entitled "The Politics of Fear". But the article is not what has people talking. Just talked a glance at the cover shows you what all the fuss is about.

The cover illustration depicts the presumptive democratic nominee in the oval office wearing a turbin while his wife brandishes a gun and the American flag burns in the fireplace. The author responded to critics by saying that the image is intended to demonstrate how false information is being used in this campaign to hinder the efforts of Obama and his supporters.

Particularly in the age of the Internet, this image may find itself being used against what it was originally intended to do. It may quickly begin to float around to the farthest depths of the World Wide Web and pretty soon, it will have lost its satirical edge and those who those who were scarded by the accusations shown in the image will continue to have reservations about Sen. Obama. At the moment, he has chosen to remain silent on this issue, though some in his campaign have spoken out, saying that the cover is offensive.

I agree with the author; measures such as these should be taken to demonstrate that accusations contribute nothing nothing to either campaign. However, I also think that one must be careful when trying to do this, considering that when someone does not understand the satire, they miss the message and may begin to think that some aspect of reality, rather than a form of commentary, is being illustrated.
Click here to view the "New Yorker" cover.


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