Clear Satire?: Obama New Yorker cover
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    Clear Satire?: Obama New Yorker cover

    There's been some flack directed towards the New Yorker for their recent cover illustration showing Obama and his wife in the white house with all the negative issues that have been dogging them throughout the campaign. The complaints against it, other than missinterpreting the intent of the satire, is that it's just not properly making it's point clearly and perpetuating the negativitity.

    What got me thinking about posting this here was to spark a discussion about how is the best way to illustrate satire in an illustration clearly, using this as an example, or should you even try - meaning, do you tell someone you're about to say a joke, or just say it, hoping they get it? The difficulty with print, unlike vocal commentary, is that it's a one-sided conversation until they print a retraction or defense. Then again, even bad publicity is good publicity. Could the point of this cover be made more clearly without lessening it's impact? Coffee talk, discuss...

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    It wasn’t clear satire. Yes, in some cases, if it is important that your joke be understood, then you need to make it clear that you are telling a joke before you tell it. If the same example were, say, shown on the Colbert Report, then by the context it would have obviously been satire and there would have been no problem with it.

    The New Yorker seems to enjoy a brand of sarcasm specifically designed to be so subtle that many people don’t understand the joke. It’s part of their snob appeal, so they will likely defend their decision to publish the image.

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    It's really just bad taste IMO. I have no doubt that they intended it to be satire, but I also have a hard time believing they were surprised they got this kind of reaction. In reality, they did it because they knew they'd get this kind of reaction. You'd have to be pretty thick not to see this one coming a million miles away.

    Well, to their credit it'll probably sell a bunch of copies.

    It's just a little despicable.

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    I thought it does a good job parodying the people who keep yelling "Barack HUSSEIN Obama" as if his middle name suddenly matters. The only problem is that the satire will go way above the heads of most people.

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    Yeah it wasn't successful to me either. It looks more like someone who believes that stuff drew it as a critique.

    That and it's ugly.

    *edit* Ok it took a little thought but I realized why I thought this was poorly done: the fact that it's on the New Yorker... When they have a charicature of Bush it makes sense as satire because you know it's coming from a publication that's against him. When they make a caricature of the candidate you expect them to support it doesn't make sense as a satire. I mean satire is inherently an insult and here it's not clear that the insult is aimed at the people who believe these things and not at the candidate himself.

    Last edited by nonie; July 17th, 2008 at 12:10 AM.
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    kev ferrara is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    I thought it was hilarious, innovative and really well done. However the joke seems to have backfired. Instead of making fun of the pockets of rabid loons out there who actually believe Barack is Muslim (and some kind of Manchurian Candidate and his wife is an Angela Davis type militant black power marxist revolutionary gal and they both want to destroy America), it has demonstrated just how overly sensitive and humorless the wide eyed acolyte-waifs of The Obamessiah really are. I mean, really, even Ghandi wasn't Ghandi. Barack should not be treated like a god, he's just a politician, and politicians have always been the butt of ridicule, and quite often out and out viciousness. People should just relax.

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    When satire depicts something that is often said with a straight face, well then it runs the risk of been taken as something other than satire.

    Has less to do with a deification of Obama and more to do with the fact that morons say exactly what the cover portrays day in and day out. I could see how someone might see that image in the wrong context.

    Edit:

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoat View Post
    I believe the "right wing morons" you're looking for were working for the Hillary Clinton campaign.
    Were they? My bad, thanks for the correction. I knew they were morons of some sort... there's enough around that it's hard to keep track who is from where.

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    I believe the "right wing morons" you're looking for were working for the Hillary Clinton campaign.

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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    I'm with Nonie in saying that it's ugly. I'm way more offended that something so badly made appeared on the cover of New Yorker (and was prolly paid a Prince's ransom) than I am of the content. I'm not american but the sarcasm was not lost on me. Maybe if the image had been crafted properly, the message would have come across better.

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    I gotta agree with Kev here a little bit. There really are people out there who believe that the premise on the cover is totally true.

    I talked to a guy recently who asked me who I would vote for in the election. I said I don't really know yet and his response was "Well, all I know is Obama's the anti-christ".

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    That is a horribly drawn cartoon, look at mrs.obamas legs...what are they doing?

    I'm offended that someone allowed that thing on the cover, not for the satire....but for quality control

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    kev ferrara is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    Have you guys ever seen other New Yorker covers? The guy who did that cover is one of the top artists in the industry, Barry Blitt, who does stuff for all the majors (Atlantic, Mother Jones, Time, Wired, etc.) So, to critique it as "badly drawn" is ludicrous. Its a great cartoon by one of the best. And yeah, it may piss people off. And bully for that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    Have you guys ever seen other New Yorker covers? The guy who did that cover is one of the top artists in the industry, Barry Blitt, who does stuff for all the majors (Atlantic, Mother Jones, Time, Wired, etc.) So, to critique it as "badly drawn" is ludicrous. Its a cartoon by one of the best. The shape of Michelle's legs ain't the point.
    Just because someone is popular or has done a bunch of artwork, doesn't mean we can't critique it. They aren't gods and they aren't perfect. He's got A TON of room for improvement. Looks like pure laziness struck in this particular illustration.


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    On one end of the spectrum there are those who can’t ever take a joke. On the other end of the spectrum there are those who are instantly dismissive of those who can’t take a joke. Both should be locked in a glass room together and tickets should be sold to the public.

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    That and it's ugly.
    hahaha, I have to agree. Sorry Kev, just because he's a prolific and highly successful illustrator doesn't mean that everyone has to like his work. I understand that editorial illustration has different aesthetics from the sort that we generally practice here, and there's a reason that I'm not doing editorial work. Not to say I think it's all bad by any stretch, but alot of the really big dogs in that industry leave me scratching my head in confusion. I was at the last SOI editorial opening and there were some pieces in there from a very big name that, to me, looked like student quality work.

    Hey, what can you do, it's all just personal taste.

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    The New Yorker wins because they can once again pretend to relevancy that they haven't had for thirty years...
    Obama wins because he can denounce it and remind people of the dirty trick used against him...
    McCain wins because he can denounce it and remind people how shocked, shocked he is at the dirty tricks used against Obama...
    The media wins because they can fill up a news cycle with talking heads and not have to do any actual reporting...
    People who "get it" win because they can complain about people who don't "get it"...
    People who don't "get it" win because they can complain about people who think they "get it"...

    And I lose, because I sound more like Kev than Kev does.


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    Hahaha! Elwell, you sound like yourself. Brilliant as usual.

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    damn that cover looks like shit, new yorker really has some low standards. But we are dealing with the retard media here so.

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    Angry

    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    Have you guys ever seen other New Yorker covers? The guy who did that cover is one of the top artists in the industry, Barry Blitt, who does stuff for all the majors (Atlantic, Mother Jones, Time, Wired, etc.) So, to critique it as "badly drawn" is ludicrous. Its a great cartoon by one of the best. And yeah, it may piss people off. And bully for that.
    Just because they have a name makes them untouchable? An artist is an artist, I don't care how much of a name you have...doesn't mean SHIT.
    It is badly drawn it is badly drawn and if you can't see that you are being letting fan boy fog cloud your brain.

    If that piece was posted in the FF section it would be moved to critiques in a minute.

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    Obvious point 1: Cartoons are allowed to be ugly. I happen to love "ugly" cartoonists (Wolverton, Crumb, Brodner, Blitt, Steadman, Gahan Wilson, etc.)

    Obvious point 2: Good drawing does not always mean "beautiful" drawing.

    And I wasn't saying, "Hey, no critting, he's a pro. Therefore you must like his work." I was saying, "He is great at what he does, and to crit him for what he does best, which is to make funny pikturz, is kinda missing the point." (Of course, missing the point and then decrying the mis-assumed yet non-existent thought crime in public is what this whole thread is about, ain't it So, hat tip to all y'all! )

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    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    Cartoons are allowed to be ugly. . .

    {sig} . . .In the future, only quality will be shocking.

    Does anyone else find humor in this pairing?

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    Somebody's feisty today.

    Obvious Point 3: Quality isn't only measured by memitic fidelity. But also by integrity of expression. Blitt, Steadman, Crumb, et al, have great integrity of expression (IMHO).

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    Interesting...

    I can't claim to have "gotten it right away" since I only first saw the cover as it was being talked about on the news, explaining the intent, but I can assume I would have quickly figured out what the point was, especially once I stated to read the "politics as fear" articles that appear to be included.

    The quality of the drawing doesn't bother me. It's of a typical nature for this type of genre.

    I'm just wondering if Blitt could have made the point more clearly. Once you have to explain your work under any context, in my opinion, you've failed.

    There have already been news reports many people believe the these things about Obama that he has to keep denying. Now with this on the shelves, it just fuels the fire. I'm not saying that as though I feel sorry for him. All politicians are fare game.

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    kev ferrara is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbclemons View Post
    ...Once you have to explain your work under any context, in my opinion, you've failed.
    This would fail a LOT of art. What is a title of a painting but an explanation? For instance, Waterhouse's pictures can mean something very different once one researches the myths he is illustrating. Editorial art always is tied to text, which helps explain it.

    Quote Originally Posted by dbclemons View Post
    There have already been news reports many people believe the these things about Obama that he has to keep denying. Now with this on the shelves, it just fuels the fire.
    The people who believe Obama is Muslim don't read the New Yorker and if they did how would their prior belief that Obama is a Muslim be changed? If anybody at all is intrigued, they will open up the mag and read the cover story "Making It", which should clear things up. This article is available on the net too.

    This whole thing is a non-story ginned up by Elwell so that he can put the most Meta response on this thread and blame it on me.

    Last edited by kev ferrara; July 15th, 2008 at 06:34 PM.
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    I didn't get it when I saw it, I thought it was just bad taste. I'm pretty sure they're using it because they knew they'd get this reaction and a whole lot of attention. Sensationalist stuff sells, it's just as they wanted. Meh, honestly I don't care, but I think it could've been done a lot better if they did want satire, or even rendered better, it's a bit ugly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Frank View Post
    I gotta agree with Kev here a little bit. There really are people out there who believe that the premise on the cover is totally true.

    I talked to a guy recently who asked me who I would vote for in the election. I said I don't really know yet and his response was "Well, all I know is Obama's the anti-christ".
    Wow, of all the people that could be the anti-christ, it's him!? Not even Bush? LOL, what about me... I've been trying...

    Apathy, the new political party. "Just because it's bad doesn't mean it couldn't be worse.. so in reality we're doing great!"
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    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    This whole thing is a non-story ginned up by Elwell so that he can put the most Meta response on this thread and blame it on me.
    That's me, the Metalluminati.


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    The "metamucil..." what?

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    On point story worth reading all the way through: http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/07/...ca/15humor.php

    Last edited by kev ferrara; July 15th, 2008 at 04:27 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    This (explaining) would fail a LOT of art...
    You bet it would, and they should be sent to a corner of the school room wearing a dunce hat.

    I never concern myself too much with an artist's explanations. It's interesting, sometimes, but I'd rather see it not hear it. Turner's titles, for example, are practically novels. There are forms of "fine-art," such as Fluxus, that are all about explaining and without substance, for better or worse, but editorial artists who have to rely on feedback to explain themselves are just weak, and just show that they don't know what they're doing.

    There's also no humor here, not that there ever was with this magazine. Notice the burning flag in the corner? If that's not "inflamatory" (wink-wink) I don't know what is.

    I'm not really concerned about how some ignorant person would react, this isn't about them or "dumbing down" the message, but just clearly saying what was meant. Sure, Sensationalism sells, and I wouldn't put it past a commercial magazine to bump that up, but they're back-pedaling now and giving excuses, which is lame. If they had made their point more clearly somehow (and I'm not sure yet what to suggest) they might have avoided the heat... assuming they would have wanted that.

    What the cover says to me is the Obamas are everything their critics say they are, and (Oh No!) they made it to the White House! Mu-ah-haha! Plus it looks like the magazine endorses that, as there's nothing to suggest otherwise. The "Politics of Fear" phrase, by the way, is from the website. There's no text on the cover.

    Last edited by dbclemons; July 15th, 2008 at 05:54 PM.
    David B. Clemons
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    The New Yorker wins because they can once again pretend to relevancy that they haven't had for thirty years...
    Just the articles by Seymour Hersh are enough to make any publication relevant if you ask me.

    tensai


    check the Tensai Tokyo Sketch Thread (Sketchbook)

    check the Tensai Cityscapes Thread (Finally Finished)

    bLok


    Quote Originally Posted by strych9ine
    Fuck backgrounds, who needs em.
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