Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Obama cartoon sparks controversy

A cartoon showing White House hopeful Barack Obama dressed as a Muslim and his wife as a terrorist has sparked outrage in the US.

Mr Obama's campaign team condemned the image on the cover of New Yorker magazine "tasteless and offensive". Even his Republican rival John McCain criticised the cartoon as 'inappropriate" and said he understood why it had caused so much offence. The illustration on the issue, titled The Politics Of Fear, depicts Mr Obama wearing sandals, robe and a turban, and his wife Michelle dressed in camouflage and combat boots, with an assault rifle strapped over her shoulder. The couple are in the White House's Oval Office doing a fist tap in front of a fireplace in which an American flag is burning. Over the fire hangs a portrait of Osama bin Laden.

In a statement, the magazine said the cover "combines a number of fantastical images about the Obamas and shows them for the obvious distortions they are". It continued: "The burning flag, the nationalist-radical and Islamic outfits, the fist-bump, the portrait on the wall? All of them echo one attack or another. "Satire is part of what we do, and it is meant to bring things out into the open, to hold up a mirror to prejudice, the hateful, and the absurd. And that's the spirit of this cover." Mr Obama was asked about the cover by a reporter during a campaign stop in San Diego. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee simply said he had no response to give.

Patrick Egan, an assistant professor of politics at New York University, said the cartoon's meaning would be obvious to the average New Yorker reader. "The fact that it's on a magazine where the readers are relatively informed about politics and also probably have already very strong beliefs about who they are going to vote for in November makes me think that this is less likely to have much of an impact on anyone's actual beliefs about the two candidates," said Mr Egan.

1 comment:

HLumiti said...

Ndugu Yangu,

A satirist ought to be using their wit to criticize some shortcoming. If this is satire that 'The New Yorker' is claiming to be doing, what shortcoming are they criticizing? Is it faulty to be a Muslim? Maybe a terrorist, but then where is the wit in suggesting that Michelle's fist bump is symbolic of one?

This is a hate campaign hiding behind some dubious literary license that "brings out the caricature created by right-wing critics". Plus when one has to go the extra step of defending or explain satire, one must surely admit to having failed.

And seek pardon, if they can. Otherwise I suspect the campaign will come a cropper as ...well…Jaluo will be in the House!