Politics Of Satire


The New Yorker‘s July 16th cover is under fire for its depiction of Senator Obama and his wife Michelle. Some right-wing Christian Republican militants have been saying that Senator Obama is a secret Muslim.

Art Spiegelman defends the cover of the New Yorker.

“The intention is to satirize not Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, but, in fact, to hold a pretty harsh light up to the rumors, innuendos, lies about the Obamas that have come up — that they are somehow insufficiently patriotic or soft on terrorism,” he says.

Those are the words of David Rennick, a New Yorker editor.

Spiegelman’s last cover for the New Yorker, published on the 24th of September 2004.

My initial thoughts upon seeing the cover were as follow: I didn’t know that the New Yorker was a Republican publication. Indeed, I thought it was more liberal. A few moments later, I understood the satire. And of course the New Yorker is liberal. But for a moment, I tried to make sense of this image.

One thing is for sure, people will want to talk about this. The Christian right will use it for their own purpose.

I think that the subtleties that Rennick and Blitt wanted to showcase are lost on most people.

Asked about the image, Obama shrugged his shoulders. But his (and McCain’s) spokespeople have made clear their disapproval, claiming most readers would judge the image “tasteless and offensive”.

More from Art Spiegelman, famed cartoonist and creator of Maus.

New Yorker, under fire?

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Relevant Links

Read more on Art Spiegelman’s Pullitzer prize winner graphic novel Maus.

Author: range

I'm mathematician/IT strategist/blogger from Canada living in Taipei.

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