July
24th 2008
Limp “satire” begets more limpness

Posted under: American history, art

Sorry, Vanity Fair–some people have a way with satire, and others, well, not have way.  (See a larger image here–h/t Talk Left.)

The bad New Yorker “satire”of Michelle and Barack Obama took lies about the Obamas and created images of them as if they were true, in the service of making fun of the lies.  (Are you with me?  Good.)  This image at left, however, takes truths about the McCains, and creates images of Cindy and John McCain showing those truths, without even exaggerating (much, anyway).  Cindy had a pill problem–that’s true.  John is old and has had skin cancer–that’s true, although perhaps the walker is a slight exaggeration since McCain doesn’t use one (publicly, anyway).  John McCain’s campaign is all about continuing George W. Bush’s policies, so its not an exaggeration to show his portrait above the mantle.  For many people, these facts are neither disqualifying nor damning.  The only image that McCain might complain about is the U.S. Constitution alight in the fireplace–that’s a debateable political point, but hardly more incendiary (sorry!) than the image of the U.S. flag in the fireplace in the New Yorker cover.

This either proves that Vanity Fair believes that the truth about the McCains is so damning that it’s irrelevant or pointless to exaggerate those truths or make up lies.  (Think about it–I don’t know of any insinuating lies in the 2008 campaign about McCain designed to shake people’s confidence in him, his patroitism, or his wife’s patriotism.  Karl Rove’s smear on McCain’s sanity because of his Vietnam experiences in 2000 is a notable exception, but please note:  it was pushed by Republicans, not Democrats.  And, please–who would you rather be:  Michelle O. or Cindy M.?)  Or it proves that people will say absolutely anything about Democratic candidates for the presidency (and their wives), and it will get covered by the craven corporate media as though those lies are things the candidate needs to respond to or worry about.  (Or, maybe both?  I now realize they’re not mutually exclusive possibilities.)  Think about it, in descending order of election years:  John Kerry lied about his wounds from his service in Vietnam, Al Gore invented the internet and discovered Love Canal, Hillary and Bill Clinton trafficked cocaine out of the Little Rock aiport and killed Vince Foster.  And, by the way, Bill’s a serial rapist and Hillary’s a dyke who also was having an affair with Vince Foster before she killed him.

What does this say about the corporate media’s strong interest in circulating and talking about lies about Democratic presidential candidates, and its attempts at “satirizing” the truth about Republican presidential candidates?  ”Oh, we’re so edgy and daring to write about the facts about McCains, sometimes anyway, when we get back from summering with Jack Welch up in Nantucket!”  

5 Comments »

5 Responses to “Limp “satire” begets more limpness”

  1. Rad readr on 24 Jul 2008 at 12:11 pm #

    This reminds me of when people say racism against whites is the same as racism against blacks. In this case, as you point out, historiann, all satires are not equal. The pills are a cheap shot, but it’s a rather tame portrayal compared to the New Yorker in terms of the images and symbols. The implication here is that the two covers are commensurate…I want to see if Obama denounces it — as Mc did the NYorker — or perhaps the story is too local now that O is negotiating in Old Europe.

  2. Historiann on 25 Jul 2008 at 9:40 am #

    Yeah–I just don’t understand the New Yorker or Vanity Fair. I don’t think the pills are a cheap shot at all–Cindy McCain been very public about her problem, and there is a history after all of First Ladies and drug and alcohol abuse (Betty Ford).

  3. america adrift » Visual Blackout in Iraq on 26 Jul 2008 at 8:20 am #

    [...] And Historiann slams it out of the park with, Limp “satire” begets more limpness. [...]

  4. prof bw on 28 Jul 2008 at 1:39 pm #

    actually, what I see here is Vanity Fair coming to the defense of The New Yorker. By putting together an image that is largely based on “truths” as you say and contains no actual offenses towards marginalized groups (one could argue that old age is a marginalized identity however, older white males with money have never been in that group) and then recreating enough of the color scheme and the fist tap to reference the original they are saying what many people say: people are too sensitive about Obama. B/c he is black we cannot say anything about him or we’re suddenly racist. See, when its white people, no one goes up in arms.

    But then, what do you expect from the same people who recreated the infamous King Kong poster using a basketball star (told to grimace for the shot) and a blonde super model?

  5. Historiann on 28 Jul 2008 at 5:00 pm #

    Good point, Prof. bw. What we have here is upper middle-class white people making in-jokes to themselves, and seemingly ignorant that these images might be read in any other way than the way they read them. Oy.

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