The progressive e-telligentsia, cable news pundits and Beltway politcos are in a feeding frenzy over the latest zeitgeist in the politics of outrage. Barry Blitt's provocative new cover of the New Yorker debuted this morning and depicts Sen. Barack Obama in a turban, fist-bumping his gun-slinging wife as the American flag burns in the fireplace. The editors say the cover art "satirizes the use of scare tactics and misinformation in the Presidential election to derail Barack Obama’s campaign." The Obama campaign calls the caricatures "tasteless and offensive."
The cover art struck a nerve with many people—or, we wouldn't be discussing it—but the outrage seems much ado about nothing. There is nothing racist here, just political satire, and, frankly, not the very best. Surely no one can credibly suggest the iconic, liberal, pro-Obama New Yorker is legitimizing right-wing smears, or, introducing imagery that hasn't already been well established. Or does someone seriously believe right-wing talk radio hosts and bloggers eagerly subscribe to the New Yorker to glean their latest conservative talking points? Now that would be satire.
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