The delusion of hatred immunity
2) absolves itself of hatred: by creating and printing an image, that the New Yorker would immediately abhor if printed by a right-wing blog, the McCain campaign or poor old E.D. Hill, the New Yorker is saying that it’s above the censure that it lays on others; it’s immune to being hateful.
3) classist: an opinion that was hateful when articulated by folks in poor, rural areas, is clever when articulated by someone who reads high-brow art reviews, and can differentiate between camembert and brie.
According to my favourite website Dictionary.com, central to satire is the act of exposing or unmasking hatred that simmers beneath the surface of “polite society.” What is it then, that the New Yorker is unmasking? The fact that many people are suspicious of the Obamas? The fact that some people think Obama is secretly Muslim? I hate to break it to you New Yorker, but pointing out “Osama” and “Obama” rhyme is not exactly this season’s hottest exposé.
The cover fails as satire because it fails to unveil anything new about race in America, or the perception of Barack and Michelle. Satire without the element of exposure is just replication. The New Yorker cover simply reinforces hateful ideas. It helps propagate some pretty serious misinformation not just about the Obamas, but about black folks and Muslims.
For more on the subject, see Stereotype of the Month Contest.
Below: An image from South Park's episode on Indians. Not an accurate depiction of casino-owning Indians, and not an effective satire either. Rather, a stereotypical and racist depiction of Indians.