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15 July 2008


Sure, click, couldn't get worse.

What's it been, 2 days since Agence-Vleeptron Presse filched some New Yorker covers about the New York City skyline?

Well, Heart Attack City -- The New Yorker just published a cover that's front-page and lede story all over America and leaking out to the world.

It is truly a shocking image.

If you stopped reading books and serious magazines when you were 15, you've never seen anything like it.

If you did a little college and read a few books, it's a pretty funny image. And it's authentically gutsy. All this stuff -- the famous "terrorist fist jab" of the dumbfuck Fox News commentatrix, the accusations (evidence: he wasn't always wearing the obligatory American flag lapel pin) that he's unpatriotic, and of course the widespread belief that he's secretly a Muslim -- has been around like the head lice of American politics throughout the campaign.

But it was The Political Turd That Dare Not Speak Its Name. Serious "brand label" news outlets simply wouldn't discuss how Large these whispering web accusations are, how big a deceptive and fraudulent shadow they cast on voters' choice-making.

The New Yorker stepped up to the plate and, for the benefit of everybody who passed sophomore literature class and understands that Swift wasn't REALLY recommending that Irish people eat their babies, just painted a picture of Campaign Toilet 2008 where everybody could see it in broad daylight.


Of course the most shocking thing about it is that The New Yorker hasn't published anything that would make copies really fly off the shelf in decades. This cover -- well, it's ALMOST as if they really wanted people to buy their magazine!

What's not shocking at all is how shocked the mainstream media (it was Story No. 2 on ABC News Monday night) was about it.

And what's really dismal is how unwilling anybody is to admit that he/she knows what satire is, and how uncomfortable everybody seems to be about confronting and talking about the Secret Conspiracy Turd Whispers that shadow Barack Hussein Obama's powerful and successful campaign.

Everybody wishes The New Yorker hadn't done this -- so the crazy Internet whisper campaigns could stay unacknowledged and hidden beneath the carpet, so everyone with political and journalism credentials could pretend they don't matter and will have no influence on the November election.

Oh, did I mention that Obama's black?

But even the Internet whisperers can't accuse him of being black as if there's something fatally wrong with a black trying to become president. The Turd Whisperers need a Gray Area a few inches above outright Racism.

Being a Muslim -- that's so new and novel and unfamiliar, the American people are so unused to that bigot-based smear, so that gets excremental traction.

Being Not Patriotic Enough -- or (Reverend Wright: Goddam America!) being Anti-American, this gets traction among the illiterate, the fuzzy, the C- and D+ and dropout and GED crowd.

The New Yorker just had the cojones to turn a 1000-watt halogen spotlight on it and blast it in your face.

I've already seen the lapidary and inevitable high-level official response a few times:

"There's nothing funny about it ..."

Yes there is.
I think it's a riot -- the superbly Responsible use of Irresponsibility, the superbly Mature use of Immaturity. We are in some Deep Shit here, and to a miserable and pathetic degree, the professional journalists' deathlock grip on Responsibility and Maturity is the cause of a lot of how we ended up in this Deep Shit.

From now on, everyone who runs an anti-Obama Whisper Website has to wear a t-shirt that says:

I'm A Liar,
I'm An Anonymous Coward,
I'm A Racist,
I'm A Bigot,
I'm A Total Nobody,
I'm A Jerk.

To tell you the fucking truth, Agence-Vleeptron Presse wishes to advocate for the tiny minority of American voters who've read six novels and nine history books (books, not movies), A-VP wants to sing the praises of Americans who can bumble through first-semester French or Spanish.

Agence-Vleeptron Presse wants to reward and applaud every American adult who knows the difference between his ass and his elbow and who knows the difference between Shit (tm) and Shinola (tm).

If you know the difference between your ass and your elbow, and you can smell the difference between Shinola (tm) and Shit (tm) -- well gosh, maybe you're about ready to take a wild dare and pay $4.50 for an issue of The New Yorker magazine now and then. If you look hard, maybe try 3 or 4 places that sell magazines, you'll probably find a lonely, neglected, unloved copy.

The New Yorker: The national weekly magazine for people who know all 26 letters of the alphabet.

The New Yorker: The national weekly magazine that doesn't think Bush is really doing the best job he can, and that these problems aren't really his fault.

If you liked their cover, wow, you should open the thing and read some of the text. You should read what they say about the war in Afghanistan and the War in Iraq. You should read what they say about the presidential campaign. You should read what they say about the tanking economy.

Or you can read it for free at the public library. And they have a website and post some of their stuff on it.

Okay, before you open the magazine, prepare yourself for The New Yorker's very heavy, pervasive message:

You're not good enough
and you're not smart and educated enough,
and you're certainly not tasteful enough,
to read The New Yorker.

Just swallow the insult -- who knows, maybe it's true, who else ever insulted you with such superb spelling and grammar and punctuation? -- and then move on and try to read the arrogant rag.

If you really hang in there, you'll find a little more authentically funny stuff in most issues. Not much, but there's funny stuff in there.

You can skip the poetry and the fiction. That saves a lot of time.

You'll love the ads. There is crap out there you never even imagined people wanted to sell you, at prices that never heard a hint about the recession, the housing collapse, and the price of gasoline. Do they have a pair of sea marsh island wading boots and birder binoculars for you.

They deserve an award. (They'll get a few, too, when the rest of what's supposed to be professional journalism awakens from its profound seven-year factual and ethical coma.)

They made up their mind a long time ago that the Iraq War and George Bush and his Team Torture sucked. The New Yorker never hedged its bets about that, they say very little nice or flattering about George, or Dick, or Karl, or Scooter, or Alberto.

But they do say a lot about them that you never knew before, and you won't read or see almost anywhere else (occasionally on PBS Frontline, and often in The Rolling Stone, sandwiched between the gossip about summer rock concert tours).

If the US careens into a war with Iran and you're screaming "Where the fuck did all this come from???" -- well, you COULD have been reading the details of the Bush buildup to the Iran War in The New Yorker for the past year, regularly. I'm sorry if you weren't getting it in People or Newsweek or Time or any of the magazines in your dentist's waiting room.

So anyway, here it is, a painting of President Barack Hussein Obama and the new First Lady in the White House, fist-jabbing with terrorist glee, because they won the election and now they can use their power to destroy America and force everyone to become a Muslim.

It's what 15 percent of the voters think about Obama anyway. The New Yorker just drew its picture.

Everybody else just whispered or pretended none of this existed.


The Associated Press (US newswire)
Monday 14 July 2008

Magazine's 'satirical'
Obama cover stirs outrage

by Sara Kugler

NEW YORK (AP) — A satirical New Yorker magazine cover cartoon depicting Barack Obama and his wife as flag-burning, fist-bumping radicals drew outrage from the Democratic presidential candidate's campaign as it appeared on newsstands Monday.

The illustration, titled "The Politics of Fear" and drawn by Barry Blitt, depicts Obama wearing traditional Muslim clothing — sandals, robe and turban — while his wife, Michelle, has an assault rifle slung over one shoulder and is dressed in camouflage and combat boots with her hair in an Afro.

A [USA] flag burns in a fireplace behind them as they exchange a fist bump, the affectionate greeting they used onstage the night Obama clinched the Democratic nomination.

A Fox News anchor later referred to it as a possible "terrorist fist jab." A portrait of Osama bin Laden hangs above the fireplace.

The cartoon, which Obama's campaign said was "tasteless and offensive," is not explained inside the magazine. The issue, dated July 21, also contains a 15,000-word story about Obama's political education and early years in Chicago.

The cartoonist's previous covers include a drawing of President Bush and his inner circle floating up to their elbows in water inside the Oval Office, for an issue published just after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans.

In a statement, the magazine said the cover combines "fantastical images about the Obamas and shows them for the obvious distortions they are."

"The burning flag, the nationalist-radical and Islamic outfits, the fist-bump, the portrait on the wall? All of them echo one attack or another," it said.

Obama, who is Christian, has long fought rumors that he is secretly a Muslim. His wife has endured her own attacks, including ones that claimed there was videotape of her criticizing "whitey" from a church pulpit. The Obama campaign says there is no such tape because she never spoke at a church.

The magazine said satire is part of what it does "to hold up a mirror to prejudice, the hateful, and the absurd. And that's the spirit of this cover."

New Yorker editor David Remnick told the Huffington Post Web site that the cover was chosen because it had something to say.

"I can't speak for anyone else's interpretations, all I can say is that it combines a number of images that have been propagated, not by everyone on the right but by some, about Obama's supposed 'lack of patriotism' or his being 'soft on terrorism' or the idiotic notion that somehow Michelle Obama is the second coming of the Weathermen or most violent Black Panthers. That somehow all this is going to come to the oval office," Remnick said.

Asked about the cover on Sunday, Obama said "I have no response to that."

His spokesman, Bill Burton, said: "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," Burton said. "But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree."

Obama's opponent, Republican John McCain, concurred that the cover was out of bounds, calling it "totally inappropriate, and frankly I understand if Senator Obama and his supporters would find it offensive."

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent who has supported Obama's fight to debunk the rumors, said even humorists need to be careful.

"We all have to watch very carefully what we say — our attempts at humor, our attempts at informing people — because some of what we say can be misinterpreted and do real damage," he said.

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