This morning The New Yorker has come under fire for a cover encompassing every stereotype and rumor used against Barak Obama during the presidential campaign; depicting Obama in the oval office as a flag burning Osama Bin Laden supporter, fist bumping his machine gun toting Black radical wife.
The cartoon entitled "The Politics of Fear" is meant to be a satire of the caricature of Obama created by right-wing pundits, however both Obama and called it offensive and tasteless.
Satire is defined as the use of ridicule, sarcasm and irony to expose or denounce vice or folly. So by its very nature, satire is almost often offensive, and at the very least bordering on it. It's poking fun at something serious.
The public seems polarized with half outraged by what they consider a racist image and the other half of the people understanding the drawing as satire. One Newsvine columnist even called the cover one of the smartest examples of satire he'd ever seen.
"I couldn't imagine a more potent satirical argument against the plethora of radio hosts, TV personalities, bloggers and general assholes who have spent the past year painting exactly that picture with their words. You know it's true - Obama and his wife have been painted as dangerous foreign radicals with questionable loyalties and a complete disregard for the values of the United States. His name has been closely associated with that of Osama bin Laden and the furor raised over the couples' fist-pump was quite frankly embarrassing, but there it is."Which brings us to the real point of the cover art: to raise awareness and get people talking about the way Barak Obama and his wife have been portrayed during this election cycle. In an interview with Huffington Post, cartoonist Barry Blitt said that the image is not about Obama but about how the media has depicted him. People are so quick to be offended, they don't even realize that the drawing is holding a mirror to the rest of the media.
"I think the idea that the Obamas are branded as unpatriotic [let alone as terrorists] in certain sectors is preposterous. It seemed to me that depicting the concept would show it as the fear-mongering ridiculousness that it is."