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« Snapshot in time vs. repurposing for the future | Main | The South End needs to dance! »

July 15, 2008



I might have appreciated the satire if it was clear who they were lampooning. We all get the overarching theme that they were making fun of the racist and xenophobic smear campaign against the Obamas, but coming from whom? Not clearly lampooning the culprit is where they missed the mark. We can assume it's Fox News and the far right, but that's too easy a tart. It would be great if the so-called liberal media would lampoon its own. I would like to see the spotlight being put on the MSM who is just as guilty of helping further the racist smears as the usual suspects. From the MSM's obsession with Reverend Wrigh to CNN asking is Obama "sufficiently patriotic?" to Chris Matthews saying "how do we know Michelle Obama isn't a black militant?" or asking on an almost daily basis, "is Obama one of us?" One of whom? Rich, middle-aged, white media elite? The MSM is just as guilty as Fox News of fostering fear and suspicion of Senator Obama. A cover that clearly conveyed this would have been satire.


The only reason that this Mr. & Mrs. Obama satire DOES have impact — and may very likely spread — is because like all good satire, or good humor for that matter, there’s more than a germ of truth in it. Otherwise, the satire would utterly roll off the Obamoids’ backs, having no impact.


Nope. Still don't feel sorry for the multi-millionaire and his very well compensated wife. I would gladly endure all the "casual racism" in the world for the opportunity to go to an ivy league school or be elected senator or have a wife who easily makes six figures. Poor, poor Obama's.

Sportin' Life

Dude, give me a break. Both of the Obamas come from families who raised them right--and they're lucky for that reason--but they have made their own success in life. They both come from, at best, economically modest backgrounds. Michelle grew up in Chicago's South Side--the daughter of a man who worked at the city water plant.

So many people in politics have accomplished nothing with themselves other than inheriting fortunes and then moving into the family business of giving orders to people. (Think of the current presidential imposter.) It would be a great change to have two real people who have lived in the real world in the White House.

thomas dengler

Bull! This is a shot across the bow against Obama. For the New Yorker America ends at the Hudson River. New York is a red state. They will all vote for McCain/Lieberman.


Ryan thanks for your opinions on the NYer cover. I completely agree with you. A while ago, I was led to a youtube site that displayed a clutch of cartoons that have now been banned. Can't remember which studio produced them. But they were laughably stereotypical depictions of African Americans -- fat, big lipped Mammy-types, big eyed Steppin Fetchit whiners and the like. If these things were shown today, they would reveal the profound disrespect and casual contempt of Black people held by the media a few years back and shown to children -- many of whom had not even come into contact with Black people and many others of whom knew that their parents, relatives and friends bore absolutely no resemblance to these insulting caricatures. It's not just that this NYer cover isn't as cartoonish at those old cartoons, what strikes me as interesting about this Obama-Michelle cover is that it puts everything into light (just about) that the "scare" mongers have whispered over the past couple of months. Unlike those old cartoons, this cover exposes what has been lurking around for a while but which bears absolutely no resemblance to the candidate and his wife we’ve been exposed to during the long democratic primary. Few people can say they haven’t been exposed to the Obamas.

So if there's some fear that this cover is going to sway somebody to vote for McCain, my guess is that that vote wasn't ever going to Obama. [I heard one person say he wasn't voting for Obama because only one LETTER distinguishes him from Osama.] If there's some fear that this cover releases some reigned in racism and irrational fear of a Black couple gaining the White House, well then maybe this is when we really start talking about race in this country.

And here are a couple of my questions: What IS so scary about Black people? (I once heard a segregationist defend his position by saying that school integration would encourage interracial dating/marriage. He didn't want this country to be peopled by "coffee colored" people. But there's GOT to be more to it than that.) Why IS it so disturbing (to some) to contemplate the real possibility that this country might be led by a Black (albeit, interracial) man? I've always suspected that white unease with respect to Black people may come from a deep and unacknowledged recognition of what it has meant to be this kind of minority in this country and how furious they imagine (some) Black people have GOT to be – maybe, they figure, Michelle and Obama. Is that it, or a part of it?



I completely, 100%, irrevocably agree with Ryan. I also think it's abundantly clear who The New Yorker is lampooning. You need to see this cover on a newstand, next to other rags littered with headlines (pollutants) conjecturing about Obama's patriotism, or lack thereof, and all those other pundi(dio)t sound bites. The image is a visual representation of the "I'm with stupid " slogan.

My intolerance for ingorance, racism, and bigotry (and scientology) is matched only by a total antipathy for people still hungry for that 90's politican correctness kool aid, one of the worst movements in American history. We've been pussyfooting in a cultural mindfield of things we can't say, so most of us simply haven't said anything. This cover to me is profound, and serves to expose the legions of people with pitchforks ready to suppress my freedom of speech and take us back to the 90's unrenessaince. People of different creeds, colors, the minorities and majorities, need to spend more time talking, and less time thinking up creative ways not to offend. If segregation still exists it's because we're afraid to TALK to eachother, not becaue we're actually afraid of eachother.

If you don't get the joke, take a brave step in front of that awesome "I'm with stupid" arrow Barry Blitt so expertly crafted. I wouldn't be proud to admit I have absolutely no sense of humor.


first off, nice blog. very informative and well written. of course i'm here, via THE FIELD NEGRO.

i thought the magazine cover was done in poor taste. i too understood what the magazine attempted to convey, but i just think the overall appearance of how they 'framed' barack and michelle was very senseless, unnecessary, and somewhat created to feed the fears of many umm right wingers.

Hugh O'Donnell

You pretty well summed up what The New Yorker editors hoped we would see. But I can hardly believe that they didn't anticipate that lots of folks wouldn't see it that way.

I also landed here via The Field Negro. Looking forward to reading more of your stuff.

Boston Knucklehead

I think it is great publicity for Obama. I bet he saw it and started laughing and in a strange way thanked the New Yorker for the good press. People who believe in Obama won't look at him that way no matter what any art work shows.

new york hotel

nice post. really cute pictures of an incredibly colourful and beautiful selcetion of goodies.where can i find it?thanks for the information.i booked a flight already maybe i come!all the best

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