Sunday, July 20, 2008

Why the New Yorker missed its true target

Once you get through all the perfunctory prose, Lee Siegel smartly explains why the New Yorker's "satirical" cover of the Obamas fell flat.

My attention was drawn particularly to this passage: "The New Yorker represented the right-wing caricature of the Obamas while making the fatal error of not also caricaturing the right wing."


The butt of the joke wound up being the Obamas - not the people who ridiculously believe them to be radical, terrorist-backing subversives. The right-wing operatives who keep those nefarious rumors going on the Internet and in backyard sheds across the country are the ones who deserve to be lampooned.

Again, to me, the cover wasn't offensive. It merely was off-target.

A few notes about this piece:

1. I went looking for a copy of the infamous magazine this weekend at Barnes & Noble and couldn't find it. I've got to say I was very disappointed.

2. I had been sort of hype to buy Siegel's most-recent release, "Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob.” But after reading this essay, I'm not so sure I could manage to get through it. Siegel is a very smart dude but I needed a machete to get through this piece in the Times.

3. As a general rule, I tend to shy away from sharing links to the New York Times. Not because of any grudge but because millions of people read the Times' print edition and Web site on a daily basis. I don't usually feel like I'm contributing much to any conversation by circulating something so widely read already. But this was a good find, courtesy of my lovely copy editor.

No comments: