Tuesday, July 15, 2008
THE NEW YORKER OBAMAS COVER "CONTROVERSY"
I was waiting to get my copy in the mail so I could scan the cover (and may well do that when it arrives and add it). [done]
But several friends have emailed me asking what I think, so I thought I'd just go ahead and post this without the cover.
In case you haven't heard, the cover depicts, in a cartoony (New Yorker cartoony) way, the Obamas—Barack and Michelle—fist bumping but dressed in terrorist gear.
Obviously it's a satiric comment on Fox News starting the mini-"controversy" over Barack and his wife doing a fist bump in celebration of his winning enough delegates to be the presumptive nominee for the Democratic candidate for president.
The actual fist bump, at an enromous rally that Barack had just addressed, was almost sheepish, since these two are basically very attractive but very intellectual and relatively reserved folks. It made for a really cute picture.
But the right-wing managed to turn it into something else and the mass media went along, as always, like marionettes on strings being manipulated by them.
The New Yorker cover makes fun of this stupidty, the way I see it. But, like clockwork, the right-wing picked it up as "elitist" New Yorker blah blah blah and not just the mass media, but the left fell for it, as so many on the left have been doing in the past several years and in this campaign.
It's a joke. And if there are people out there who actually might view this cover and believe it translates into the Obamas are terrosists, they weren't going to vote for Barack in the first place, and if they were, they shouldn't.
I want him to win, very much so, but I also want to see his campaign and the media initiate their own stories and subject matter and stop reacting to everyone else's.
The mass media thrives, obviously, on controversy, be it celebrity behavior or political "wars" etc. They're always using that term "war" as if McCain and Obama were about to line their troops up and begin shooting real bullets at each other.
Obama has to get control of his campaign in a transparent and concrete and precise and compltete way, so that he doesn't fall prey to the syndrone I predicted the right would try and trap him into back when he first began running, the Adlai Stevenson one.
He lost to Eisenhower by allowing the right to depict him as an aloof intellectual far removed from the common man, an egghead who might even be a secret sympathizer with communists! While Ike was just a regular guy who regular folks could identify with, and who also happened to have won the bloodiest war of the 20th century.
McCain is doing his best Ike imitation, especially today with his "I know how to win a war" pronouncements. Which war was that he won? Viet Nam? Of course not (even though that's the only one he fought in). He means Iraq. As though we've won something.
But the Obama campaign's response to this is more studied and nuanced intellectual reasons why we haven't won in Iraq and why we need to win in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Unfortunately, not one great sound bite in Obama's speech.
I don't know if it's the people from Hilary's campaign that his has taken on who are getting in the way, or if his strategy of counting heads in electoral districts and counting on grass roots and local oragnizing to win for him, or if it's just a belief that he can convince the electorate with speeches. But it ain't working. he should be leading McCain by tweny points after what the Republicans have done to this country in the past seven yerars, let alone the world.
The New Yorker cover is just a diversion. An amusing one if you like that kind of satire. I laughed. But the only threat is in diverting our attention from the real issues.
Obama is dealing with a world used to not just sound bites but computer bytes. He needs to get his message out much more directly and boldly as he is obviously capable of doing, but has backed off from, for reasons that may be noble and/or well intentioned, but aren't working.