Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Defending the New Yorker

I think the current flap over the cover of the New Yorker represents a terrible over-reaction to what is clearly a piece of satire. The cartoon represents a caricature of the constant internet rumors that have been circulating about Sen. Obama's religion, showing just how implausible their import is.

Some bloggers will no doubt take issue with this interpretation. For instance, Swan McSwannessy at the Swan's Politics Blog compares the cartoon to a racist t-shirt. The only problem with this analogy is that it was not on a racist t-stirt. It was on the over of the New Yorker, a magazine that often has satirical covers.

Think about this for a second. To believe this was a racist attack, one would have to believe that the editors of the New Yorker had suddenly become rabid down-home bigots, whereas the magazine itself is historically liberal. Context matters, people! I would unfailingly oppose such a cartoon if it appeared on the cover of National Review or NewsMax, conservative publications with an interest in spreading smears against Sen. Obama.

It's time to abandon knee-jerk accusations of bigotry and try to recognize satire for what it really is. Long live free speech.

[Note: I do not own the image of the cartoon I have posted. If the cartoonist or the New Yorker have any objection to my using it, they can contact me, and it will be deleted.

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