When Common Sense Isn’t An Editor

Jossip ran this item in an attempt to put the whole New Yorker Mag fiasco into some perspective, arguing that both imagines should ring up as obvious exaggerations … although, the parody of the parody has the same problem.

As someone who doesn’t like John McCain, I don’t read seeing a perky Cindy McCain shoveling a fistful of pills into a comatose John as a bombastic satire turning stereotypes on their edge. I read this the same way I read illustrations of how “stupid” President Bush is supposed to be — as indictments of the man’s intelligence. As a “yup, this confirms my fears quite nicely, thank-you-very-much.”

It’s not about intelligence, it’s about perspective. The National Review isn’t so obtuse to not realize that concerns about McCain’s age or closeness to the president aren’t mere figments, but rather hard to remedy realities in the heads of many American voters. It’s not satire at this point. Remove the bit of context written and you’ve got instant propaganda for the opposition.

No one’s worried that New Yorker readers won’t get it. It’s about the people who take the cover, separate it from the New Yorker and shoot it all around the world in emails, blogs, social networking sites and chat rooms writing in whatever context they see fit.

That’s been the problem from minute one.

Gina McCauley, of Michelle Obama Watch and What About Our Daughters, cut right to the heart of this in an article from the San Fransisco Chronicle:

“What’s sophisticated about the images they’re using? A black woman with her hand on her hip? Why didn’t they just have them smoking blunts and drinking a 40 (-ounce beer)?” said McCauley, who has not publicly endorsed a candidate. “These tony elites on the East Coast think they know it all. And that’s what gets me. They’re acting so obtuse and they’re engaging in racism.”

Monday, in a comment on Michelle Obama Watch, I wrote:

This is where the much smaller number of minorities within positions of power in the media, regardless of their political/philosophical leanings, becomes such a detriment for all.

When operating out of that mono-racial, often solo-gendered newsroom things that simply look like enticing, cleverly disguised gray areas to some become highly concentrated, IEDs of regurgitated racial horrors for those who know better.

Unfortunately, “those who know better” don’t work there.

I’m sure the editors were just looking for new ways to push that envelop and expected some controversy (wanted it even) with this illustration, but they won’t get why this is such a BIG F-ING DEAL until around Wednesday or Thursday when this is still being talked about on TV and on-line and angry black people are giving them the “Gas Face” while picketing their NYC office. They will routinely explain over and over why it is kosher while a Pan-Hellenic Council Greek chorus shouts back to them why it is not until the editors finally realize their legacy of impeccable literary journalism, anamorphic cartoons of dogs n’ cats on therapist’s couches and Seymour Hersch award-winners will not provide the cover necessary to save them from the wrath of “Pookie n ’em.”

Some folks will call a spade a spade and that cover, sans context or with context looks awfully uncool to me.

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