Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Too Black, Too Strong

Okay, I'll admit it, I first heard about the Obama cartoon through the radio. I used to subscribe to the New Yorker. Every weekend I would carry my copy with me everywhere I went. I would hold my copy just high enough so that the title was clearly visible while not obscuring my face. There I sat in the Wal-Mart parking lot, waiting for the wife to finish her shopping.
It was that same wife who brought me to my senses one day. Her bladder was full and she needed some reading material to get the pipes flowing.
"I thought you didn't read the New Yorker." I said in a snide voice clearly illustrating to all in range that I was the better person for being a reader of said magazine.
"I don't" She replied, "but it's perfect for reading on the toilet."
that was when the damask fell from my eyes. The edifice I had built in my head crumbled to rubble, I became aware for the first time of the sycophantic celebrity billionaire profiles, the so far behind the bleeding edge music coverage and Talk of the Town? Why should I care what that town is talking about? I live in Rockford, Illinois and sometimes I shop at Wal-Mart. There, I said it. Oh God, I feel so much better now, like an elephant has just stepped off my testicles.
Don't get me wrong folks, I still read Anthony Lane's movie reviews, Peter Schjeldahl's art columns and how could I turn my back on a mag that has both Spiegelman and Crumb scribbling in the margins. It's just that now I know that I am the scruffy bum standing outside the window of the shiny restaurant while well dressed couples make well phrased comments at my expense.
Despite all that, I had to see this cartoon that has caused such an uproar. You can see it above. From a magazine whose staff and readership are almost entirely white and upper middle class this is a bold statement. I have read around five years of this mag's recent publishing and this is the first black guy or girl I have ever seen in a cartoon. They did do a cover featuring a Hassidic Jew and a brown skinned woman kissing back in the nineties but this obama cartoon reminds me of aanother magazine altogether, a magazine that was in the bathroom of many homes in America before it stopped being funny. It was a magazine that often satirized presidential candidates and, unlike the New Yorker, also celebrities. It's mascot, much like Aloysius P. Thunderbum or whatever the top hatted fop is called, is a puzzled slightly sub normal young man named Alfred E. Newman. How sad that the New Yorker, whose previous role was to represent the lifestyle of a cloistered elite should be the magazine which manages to record forever the view from a million trailer park windows. Sadder than that even is that if you leave the isle of Manhattan, past Brooklyn and New Jersey you will find an obese nation who happen to believe that Barack Obama is a "musselman" and you want to know the worst part? I live there too.

8 comments:

catatonickid said...

LOL To the elephant stepping off your testicles line. I think maybe Obama knows the feeling.

The line between political analysis and satire is oftentimes thin... too thin, perhaps, for some. All it takes to cross it, apparently, is a little political demonology following an unexpected turn in the tide.

Jet Fisher said...

I for one am an obama man and in 2000 i voted for nader, i don't even feel bad about it most of the time. All i know is that we need something to change up in this here country and a brotherman in the oval office might just do that. mr obama if you are reading this might i suggest this remix of that presidential classic for your own inauguration? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u06ej8cGiRU

jOolian said...

doood, yoo so rawwwk'it'hard me brudda ... perfectly poignant & yet, utterly sad of our own 'united'. We are truly in times of the most need of taking back our country, fer sure...

Jet Fisher said...

thats right joolian, and if the obama thing doesn't work out and it turns out to be biznez as usual up at 1600 pennsylvania avenue i am voting third party, whatever the party for the rest of my life.

Karen ^..^ said...

I'm hoping for a change as well. I am not optimistic, though, as this is the U.S. government we are talking about. They do what they want, damn the rest of us.

I'm still hoping, though.

Great post. The New Yorker used to be one of my favorite publications. I've fallen away in recent years, though.

Jet Fisher said...

yeah, the new yorker is one of those things that are hard to leave behind. they do have same great writers and artists but the part of America hey cover is so out of touch with the rest of us that they end up sounding like they are talking through their own arses.

jOolian said...

RockObama ...rock-on!
and i am at the full conclusion that 'we the people' are in need to take back our states... the growing (by numbers) rich to uber-riche and their global kontrol/kontrollers are decaying the grand souls which maintain our great land, but yet, luckily, there are still genuine and gracious folks trudging ahead without the use of brutal force...

the New Yorker should be ashamed as well as the artist, i do (wish) to believe they just didn't see that this type of satire is appalling and unjust, ...one must have true, deep, sense of all our people and respect ... especially for mass distribute high-end publishing, very sad.... very juvenile

Jet Fisher said...

i dunno joolian, the press seems to have moved on to obama's hitler's youth rally in berlin. i was kind of frightened when i heard the noise of the crowd there. the tchermans are a superstitious and impressionable lot and obama seems to have struck a chord not heard since 1939. have you ever seen leni riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will? scary stuff whoever is orating. but i digress. i'm all for the press being able to lampoon any candidate an way they please, i'm just surprised it's the new yorker doing the jabbing.