Barack Me Obamadeus

Satire: Ur Doing It Wrong. Barry Blitt’s New Yorker Cover Is As Subtle As A Falling Anvil

07.15.08 by Sarah | 5 Comments | Digg This

The rejected first draft

I’m sure we’ve all seen the cover of this week’s New Yorker by now. Artist Barry Blitt defends it against predictable librul outrage by saying he’s “depicting the concept [of the Obamas as sekrit America-hating terrorists] would show it as the ridiculous fear-mongering it is”.

But if that was what he intended, shouldn’t there be some depiction of the people who believe such things (and there are more than a few of them), showing how stupid they are for believing it? This is just a more offensive depiction of what a certain percentage of particularly dense conservatives actually believe, and that doesn’t constitute satire. He’s just echoing what they think, and not making fun of them for thinking it. No one really thought that Irish peasants should sell their children as food to the English elite. Or, to quote Jesse’s example at Pandagon:
…it’s like holding a satirized Klan rally by holding a Klan rally…with a laser show that makes a three-story image of a burning cross. A bigger, badder, better version of the thing you’re attempting to mock doesn’t constitute mockery, it just constitutes a gaudier version of the thing you’re addressing.
Look, there’s a very simple test for whether humor succeeds or not: If you have to keep explaining it to people, it fails. This is just crude and gimicky, not funny. And the whole thing smacks of trying too hard, which, as we all know, is profoundly uncool.


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