More on the New Yorker Cover
In an era of instant, mass communication, the image will be, indeed already has been, circulated widely and will gradually lose whatever “ironic” edge it once had. That the image derived from a New Yorker cover and was intended for an audience of high-information, predominantly left-leaning voters who already support Obama will be irrelevant or will add to the “credibility” of what the image conveys. Then the word will go forth in forwarded emails everywhere: “Even The New Yorker thinks Obama is a secret Muslim, etc…”
In an update, Larison again makes another good point:
Update: Sullivan says that “the notion that most Americans are incapable of seeing that [it is satire] strikes me as excessively paranoid and a little condescending,” but it is not so much a question of capability as it is one of willingness. Some people will see it as a confirmation of what they already believe or suspect, others will “get” it but still find it outrageous, and still others may understand that the intent was satire but will still come away with the impression that there could be some element of truth to the stereotyping. The fairly small number who just laugh at it and think that it skewers smear artists will not begin to offset the number of people who will either take offense or take the image all together too seriously.
Update: As usual, leave it to Atrios to drive the point all the way home:
The New Yorker cover could have worked if had made more clear who it was satirizing (Fox news, the Republican party, Rush Limbaugh, whatever), or by being clever enough to provide the actual funny. As it is it’s just a reflection of the Right’s view of Obama, but there’s nothing clever or funny about it. The cartoon could run as is on the cover of the National Review, also meaning to be “funny” but with a different target.
All of this doesn’t make the New Yorker public enemy #1, just makes them idiots of the week.
“What I find interesting about the New Yorker cover is that it’s almost exactly the sort of cover you could expect to find on the front of National Review“.