When satire fails…

15 July, 2008

When I saw this image, I immediately figured out the point it was trying to make. But that’s because I know The New Yorker and the kind of views its writers have. But typical of the magazine that they make no effort to clue non-readers into the joke. No, that would be too philistine of them.

Satire doesn’t work unless the object of scorn is crystal clear. In Monty Python’s Life of Brian, there is no doubt that they’re not making fun of Jesus Christ but of his over-zealous followers who deserve to be made fun of. That’s why it’s possibly the greatest piece of satire ever filmed. I get the joke of this cover, and I even agree with it, but the use of images like a burning flag and a portrait of Bin Laden is far too extreme and inflammatory. It further blurs the viewer’s vision, is this making fun of right-wing nut jobs or is this just the work of right-wing nut jobs?

This is just laziness. And another example of why the worst kind of snobs write for The New Yorker.



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