Dear New Yorker Editor:
July 18, 2008
Re: A letter in response to Barry Blitt’s cartoon “The Politics of Fear” (July 21st, 2008)
The controversy over The New Yorker’s cover depicting an anti-American Barack Obama in the Oval Office is unquestionably rooted in the darkest ideologies of scare tactics and fear mongering.
Your magazine thinks that the caricature is a satirical lampoon of the mudslinging the right-wing uses to smear Obama. The American people are not that dumb. This nation has waded through enough garbage that the media-machine has fed us during this election and seen the illustration not as harmless, biting satire, but for what it truly is: a tasteless, offensive and libelous attack.
Inevitably, the cartoon will reignite the fiery misconceptions about Obama that he has worked so hard to put out this election, centered on his possible Islamic faith, lack of patriotism and sympathy to terrorism, while fooling the American people into derailing his White House dream.
Oh wise, intelligent magazine, what will you tell the hopeful, young Americans who walk by a newsstand only to lose their fragile grasp on reality after seeing their herald of change worshipping Osama bin Laden, engaging his militant wife in an erotic terrorist fist tap and burning the American flag?
Maybe you can explain that your printing and subsequent defense of the cover show a colossal failure in editorial judgment. Shame on your journalistic enterprise for publishing something without any consideration to how a political campaign may feel about it.
If The New Yorker did not attempt to engage the public with a dry, witty commentary based on ridiculous fears, but instead abided by ethical standards used in the media today and pleased the political campaigns, these vicious rumors may have never been brought to light.
Obama, McCain and the rest of the universe give you get an F for successful satire. Unlike right-wing TV host Stephen Colbert who uses his wit and our universal hate of bears and terrorism to educate first with a splash of entertainment second, The New Yorker chooses to poke “subtle” fun at something that not everyone immediately understands. NEWSFLASH, if not everyone’s laughing, it’s not satire.
What your cover does is insult the intelligence of the American people. We aren’t ignorant masses who will latch onto a “satirical” cover and chuckle at your political “commentary.” Instead we’ll decipher your true, cruel intentions.
You try to bring “issues” to the open and hold a mirror up to society’s absurd fears, but The New Yorker underestimates how the true meaning of a picture speaks loud and clear. We will not waver, nor will we be intimidated into reading anything a 14,500-word article may have to say.
The New Yorker can clink its wine glasses and pat itself on the back all it wants, but the American people are not as dumb as you think we are.
For your next cover you should draw a picture of America on the toilet wiping its butt with your controversial cover. For clarity, in big letters the caption can read: THIS S#!T IS SATIRE.
Sujay is a senior in biochemistry who wonders why now it’s cool to like Batman, when last week it was geeky.