Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tasteless AND Offensive

I've been looking at this cover of "The New Yorker" all flamin' day. It's typical political porn: this is the kind of stuff that campaigns dream will come their way so they have someone to demonize and take the heat off whatever legitimate criticisms may be coming their way. While McCain tries to point out Obama's obvious lack of terrorism smarts (huge) and distance himself from Obama's position on immigration reform (not do-able, I'm afraid), this kind of pointed political satire just feeds an already frenzied bottom-dwelling class of voter. Reaction from the left, particularly Obama's campaign, is swift:
"The New Yorker may think, as one of their staff explained to us, that their cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Senator Obama's right-wing critics have tried to create," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said.

"But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree," he said in a statement.
Well, yes and no. Do I find it "tasteless and offensive?" Sure. It's an obvious hit piece; designed to evoke an emotional response from both sides of the political spectrum. Do I think it reflects badly on Obama?

Nope. Not even close.

Look, if tasteless and offensive were ever considered true political barometers, Clinton the First would never have made it to the Oval Office in the first place. We knew he was a womanizing shark before he ever took office. Tasteless and offensive in a single package. What a deal!

Also, if tasteless and offensive were truly worthy of contempt, then people like Ted Rall would have been arrested and waterboarded years ago.

It doesn't really help that McCain's campaign jumped on the bandwagon, either:
"We completely agree with the Obama campaign that it is tasteless and offensive," spokesman Tucker Bounds said.
Oh, for heaven's sake. Is that as original as the campaign machine gets? If this is really that important, let's go after "The New Yorker" and take them down. (Rhetorically, of course. The press, for reasons that are still unclear, appear to be even more sacred than a black politician trying to reach the highest political office in the nation.)

But of course they won't. Enough, I guess, to state that it was "tasteless and offensive" and then hope to heaven the furor dies down before the MSM hits their stride.

As a conservative — no, scratch that... — as a right-wing conservative, what I find truly offensive about the artwork is that it's supposed to be an over-the-top representation of how we right-wingers truly feel about Obama and his missus.


Yes, of course there are those pond-scum in the Republican camp who froth at the mouth over Obama's alleged Muslim allegiances (unproven), his America-hating wife (slight overreaction), and his political naivete (dead on).

So if this cover is meant to portray them, fine. I'm on board with that. But to project this attitude on the rest of us who try to take a far more reasonable assessment of this upstart is truly insulting.

I will state here that there are remarkable aspects of Obama's campaign from a historical perspective. He is black, and is considered the first such candidate to have more than a decent chance of winning the election in November. Historically this is proof that we as a nation have risen above our blood-soaked past and catapulted a man who would have been a slave 160 years ago into the national spotlight. It might be said that this is a true vindication of Lincoln's proclamation.

He is also evidence of the American dream. His story is one of success from many different angles, even if one doesn't completely agree with what constitutes "success."

But there my admiration for the man ends. Politically he still represents positions that I find completely untenable as a would-be President of the United States. His desire to broadcast to our enemies that if they hunker down for just a few more months they will be left to their own devices is truly alarming. His naivete with respect to international politics is also a hugely negative point to consider. And, just because he's a dyed-in-the-wool (LATE NIGHT POSTING ALERT: "dyed" in the wool, NOT "died" in the wool. I'm not trying to send any subliminal messages here!) liberal, his positions on such things as same-sex marriage and the judicial are anaethma. (I can't really complain as much about his immigration policies simply because McCain isn't all that different. I sigh a lot when I think about this one.)

Thus I find it to be a slap in my face that this "New Yorker" cover is meant to represent me. I don't accept that perception. As a satirical piece I think it bombed completely. No one (except, perhaps, the Kos sycophants) seems to be laughing, if indeed they were really meant to.

Speaking of laughing, Drudge also points to this piece which wonders why no one is allowed to laugh at Obama. Because this is such a "historical" candidacy, I suppose, folks are handling Obama with the proverbial kid gloves:
When [Jon] Stewart on "The Daily Show" recently tried to joke about Obama changing his position on campaign financing, for instance, he met with such obvious resistance from the audience, he said, "You know, you're allowed to laugh at him." Stewart said in a telephone interview on Monday, "People have a tendency to react as far as their ideology allows them."
The man is black, which means, apparently, hands off. I'm guessing this is the bottom line, even though the article doesn't come right out and say that. So we have to check our senses of humor at the door whenever Obama enters the room. McCain, being white and old, is fair game.

Well, I, too, am white and (getting) old. So come and get me, "New Yorker." I'll have my lawyer look into age discrimination as hate speech. Why not try a cover about that?

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