Monday, July 14, 2008

One True Thing

Now I know rumors and disinformation are a staple of politics, but I think The New Yorker Magazine reached a new low in their cover cartoon of Barack & Michelle Obama, which I'm sure we've all seen by now. Since there's been endless analysis of this all day, I'd only like to point out that a simple caption would've saved this liberal much angst .... something like "Are Americans Really Dumb Enough to Believe this Shit?" comes to mind.

So many false rumors about Obama are being widely circulated in America, I have to think the good old fear card is alive and well and being played endlessly in hopes that somewhere amongst all the crap being flung, each voter will find something that just absolutely convinces them to not vote for Obama, thus ensuring that John McCain ends up as our next president.

I guess nothing should surprise me anymore, but I do find it difficult to believe that many Americans could swallow that “Barack Obama, born in Africa, is a possibly gay muslim secret-zionist ultra-double-secret-terrorist racist who refuses to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and wants to raise your taxes so he can keep our troops in Iraq”? Can we really be that dumb?

Welcome to the Silly Season of Presidential Politics in America! This is the time when I generally tune out the He-Said-No-HE-Said and try to remember what each candidate actually said when they were speaking from the heart, back before the inevitable run-to-the-center-because-that-is-what-it-takes-to-get-elected BS. I like to remember that we are all products of our life experiences .... that the way we have dealt with challenges and eventually found our voices is part of our very core essences .... our one true thing.

I know the candidate biography specials will be starting soon. Honestly, I have seen McCain's bio featured quite a few times already. I would've thought an updated Obama biography would've surfaced on TV by now, but if it has, I haven't seen it. So below, I am posting the A&E Biography of Obama produced in 2007. YouTube has broken it up into 9 parts. Each part is about 5-minutes. I don't expect anyone to watch them all at once, but if they interest you, maybe you'll keep them in mind for whenever you have a spare 5-minutes.

Our Lives are Our History. This is Obama's Life, warts and all .... his one true thing ....

Part 1 of 9:

Part 2 of 9:

Part 3 of 9
Part 4 of 9
Part 5 of 9
Part 6 of 9
Part 7 of 9
Part 8 of 9
Part 9 of 9


Cart said...

One of the odd things I'm seeing is just how difficult it is to show a humerous approach on Obama.
For his real supporters the New Yorker type approach is pure gold. It seems like an attack and it galvanises many more people to his side.
I don't see any great problem with it, I actually see a lot of benefits. Those who want to hurt him with it actually do the opposite.

D.K. Raed said...

You are giving us waaay too much credit for brains! I am seeing it everywhere everyday now & it really is the kind of insidious stuff that sinks candidates. Instead of galvanizing people to Obama's side, it just throws one more little match into our fevered brains that maybe Obama really IS Osama. or somesuch crap.

You've probably been hearing about our latest demographic, the low information voter? well, they do vote & they only need one piece of unfounded BS to decide which candidate gets their fingertouch in the voting booth. We are a pathetic lot and I'm sorry to admit it, but we don't warrant your lofty opinions of our sense of humor.

DivaJood said...

Normally, the Low Information Voter would not have seen the New Yorker Cover. However, it has taken on a life of its own. While I "got" the joke, I did not think it was funny - the irony, to me, is that it turned into the very thing it was trying to comment on. The cover itself was commenting on those Low Information Voters, and it backfires. We are NOT a nation of intellect.

At best, the cover was in bad taste. In truth, it becomes fodder for the Right Wing - visual proof that Obama is some kind of evil whatever. It harkens back to the kind of cartoons used in Nazi Germany used to discredit people opposed to Nazi propoganda.

D.K. Raed said...

You have got it, putting your finger on the very thing that is most bothering me! I'm sure those old nazi "cartoons" depicting jews & gypsies & other "undesireables" as rats & dogs & untermenschen were taken humorously by the german people at first. We all know how well that propaganda worked out. While the high intellectuals were laughing their asses off about the gross caricatures (oh, how funny to see old jews having their beards pulled while haggling over the price of matzah), inroads were being forged in the lowbrow brains that would eventually allow the worst imagineable violence.

It's not an issue of art or free speech ... in this case The New Yorker was too clever by half. They added to the already existing problem of the non-questioning low-info voter ... sanctioning the demonization of "the other". I honestly don't think that was their intention, but that is the result.

eProf2 said...

Craig Crawford had an interesting comment on this totally inappropriate cover on the New Yorker. If they were trying to show how the right wing views the Obamas, they should have had Rush Limbaugh, ala Norman Rockwell, painting this cover on a canvas or something to that effect. It would have shown what the Republicans and the far right actually think of the Obamas instead of the possible mispercetion of what the New Yorker thinks of the Obamas. Some jokes never find the mark, and this one failed miserably!

Mauigirl said...

I agree that this cover was not the right thing to do and I totally see the connection with the Nazi caricatures. Unfortunately, knowing The New Yorker is not a right-wing magazine, it's too bad they did this because it will backfire.

Thanks for posting the videos - will watch them later at home - we do have to remember what Obama really stands for and trust that once in office, he will be true to that vision. I do believe he is a consensus-builder, however, so some far-left folks will not always be happy with him.

an average patriot said...

It is bullshit dismissing it as satire. It is Political manipulation and assassination. People backing it say it is no big deal because it won't sway anyone. BS, you know there are still idiots who fall for that crap.
There was nothing innocently satirical about that! With him dressed as a Muslim, his wife with an afro and a machine gun doing what was stupidly called a terrorist fist bump with an American flag burning. That was designed to be destructive to President Obama and it will be but the country better pray we get him in!
the country is to put it lightly in serious trouble and these scum continue to play these asinine games. They don't have a friggen clue as to our dire situation!

D.K. Raed said...

Yup, if they had been serious about showing stupid right-wing propaganda campaign, they would've done as you suggest. They did not, and therein lies the problem. Americans don't get subtlety.

Hey there, loved your dog post today! The far left will NEVER be happy with Obama, except as the anti-McCain, because he is NOT far left, never was, never claimed to be. Repubs enjoy painting him that way when it suits their purposes. The Bio is a bit of A&E pablum produced around the time Obama became US Senator & people knew he was heading toward higher office. But it did take the bad New Yorker taste out of my mouth & was much better than the dearth of background info we see on TV now. Obama has a compelling life story which, if it was shown at the same rate as McCain's, would easily disspell the rumors about his birthplace, his religion, etc, that so muddles middle mericas' minds.

Avg Patriot:
We are in serious trouble! That is why, while I might've been able to see the humor of the cartoon in another context, I can only see the damage right now. As you say, there are so many idiots who see the cartoon as a reinforcement of their misperceptions. The media humping it has negated the fact that these idiots would not normally even see a New Yorker mag cover. They are seeing it & it sticks in their lizard brains. Damage done, unintentional or accidental.

Fran said...

Bah! That cover is garbage- even if the accompanying article comes to his defense.

I think in terms of them having to have a conversation with their girls, to explain what mean spirited and hateful racism manifests itself as.

I posted on Diva's site, I halfway wish Michelle would pack an ak-47 unloaded, to keep the press at bay.

AS for this bio- it is interesting & fun to see young Obama & hear his life story.

But recent Obama votes & speech makes me wonder if he it trying to sabtage his own campaign.
Pro warrentless wiretapping & now 10,000 additional troops in Afghanistan????

Why did he not state this during the primaries?

I;m not buying the having to go centrist line of reasoning.

I;m sick of war & this country is bankrupt- both financially & morally.

Obama can't swing right of center & become a war monger & keep his progressive base.
I've been a solid Obaa backer, but this stuff can't be justified away.

DivaJood said...

I put up a long post, because the context is critical. If that cover had not been the cover, and rather the illustration accompanying the well-written article, we would not be as offended. It is as a stand-alone piece that it fails miserably. On its own, it is inflammatory. As an illustration, it becomes satirical - and here is a case in point where the image really requires the language. Successful image satire, however, must be able to stand alone. I know a lot of people won't agree with what I posted at my place, but context means something.

Cart said...

Sorry, this whole issue is as ephemeral as the media it appeared in. There are many more vital issues to be outraged about – like your Repub congressmen supporting the banking culture that is destroying your economy and hurting everyone else’s.
The saddest part of the US political dynamic is that it has destroyed any real sense of perspective in the country.
A magazine cover is not really indicative of much, but maybe it is just easier to get annoyed over a cartoon than to face the deeper and more complex issues. It seems to me Obama is focusing on very real issues and will be valued for that.

D.K. Raed said...

You make good points. I'll swing by your place later if I can think of anything to add. Right now, I'm a bit frustrated myself.

Agreed ... an illustration contained within an article makes a point ... as a cover, it is to sell magazines. I don't know why I should ever expect anything different from our capitalistic system, or why I might've expected better from The New Yorker. I'll be by your place later to see how you put it in "context".

You are right that Obama is focused on real issues. You are also right that the cartoon itself is an ephemeral issue. Where we might differ is in the power of an image to impregnate the minds of certain voters & prevent them from ever hearing or thinking seriously about any issues. To the extent I may have added to the perception that all we care about is superficial cartoons, I am sorry. Some of us care deeply about issues & I thank you for turning my mind away from the odious image & returning to more important topics, like our economic meltdown, which cannot be covered up by turbans or fist-bumps (although the burning flags may keep us warm when heat becomes unaffordable this winter).

Cart said...

I am, perhaps, a little harsh jumping on this one. Still, it is important that momentum is not sidetracked with negativity.
Lets face it, whether it will effect the vote or not there are still negatives like racism in play.
I realize you all remain aware of the real issues, you live them daily. It is vital the real messages are driven constantly.
Subtext "Don't make me come there..." :)

Ingrid said...

DK..I still need to pick up the award but my blog still needs fixin' looks unworthy so just wanted to let you know..
I'm in need for some serious time management and home office organization..lucky are those with nannies!! [g]

(nannies..which I have not btw)

DivaJood said...

I am now officially running for Prez. Come on over while cabinet positions are being auctioned off.