Monday, July 14

Well, That Was Easy


Jake Tapper, "Obama Camp Hammer New 'Ironic' New Yorker Cover Depicting Conspiracists' Nightmare of Real Obamas", July 13

OKAY, I realize you're not killing trees with it, but who wrote the headline? The "New" New Yorker cover? The one that's " 'Ironic' ", not "Ironic", or just Ironic? The one that depicts conspiracists' (wouldn't "Conspir-racists" be better?) nightmare of the real Obamas? Shouldn't it be "Nightmare Vision", or is there a fourteen-word limit?  I really wish you'd'a worked the Volume and Number in there, so I could be absolutely certain we're talking about the same thing. Y'know, before I even begin reading the piece, I mean.

It's the New Yorker written by "sophisticates", Tapper would like you to know. And he wants you to know it by word 2, not counting the headline, in which case it's word 247. Just in case, say, you've never heard of the New Yorker. He means it as an insult, though he's sophisticated enough not to put it in scare quotes.

Sophisticates--I think this could have been better explained--are people who will laugh at anything. Such as Patriotism. Or True Love. Or Jake Tapper's preferred presidential candidate.
Knowing the liberal politics of the magazine, I believe the magazine's staff when they say the illustration is meant ironically, as a parody of the caricature some conservatives (and some supporters of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.)...

Oh, that Hillary Clinton.  Wait, you couldn't figure that out for yourself?
are painting of the Obamas.


But it's still fairly incendiary, at least as these things go. I wonder what the reaction would be were it the Weekly Standard or the National Review putting such an illustration on their covers.

Different.

You're welcome.

I really thought that was all I had to say about the matter--hence the title, which may have held out the false hope of a rare and welcome short post, sorry. But by the time I'd actually typed out my Fair Use segment there--ABC has no Print button and thwarts cutting-and-pasting, at least for the idiot blogger who still doesn't know what the right mouse button is for--my head had begun to swim. And in a different way from last night.

ITEM: What th' hell are we to do with Jake Tapper? I remember him as semi-decent at Salon, not that I'm a regular or anything; not in Conaison or Greenwald's league, but who is? and veering towards Saletan or Kaplan territory on occasion, maybe, but who doesn't? (please; tell me), though not enough so that I wasn't surprised when I first found him on ABC and sounding like Jeff Greenfield's Eve Harrington. Except Greenfield was at least interesting for the first six months he was on teevee. Tapper sounded like he'd been doing Ted Koppel impressions in front of his bedroom mirror since junior high.

Now he's outraged by the Conspir-racists' (I like it; sue me) getting skewered on a New Yorker cover--a magazine which, by the way, I personally have always viewed as too sophisticated to be Liberal, and I mean that without irony, 'irony', or "irony"--when his own job is to re-gargle Charlie Gibson's mouthwash for him.  And write sentences like "But it's still fairly incendiary as these things go."  Your medium, Jake, bears the primary responsibility for the state of affairs that cover pillories.

Not to mention that "Dear me, if the Republicans tried anything like this the reaction would be overwhelming!" schtick, when we all know that your network wouldn't even cover it, except, perhaps, safely buried in some "public affairs" wallow. And even then it wouldn't be overwhelmingly criticized; it'd be treated as political commentary, the way this should be by anyone with a high school education worthy of the honor.

ITEM: This prompts me to consider what we might call the Chevy Chase Effect in American culture, by which I do not mean "How does someone with some degree of youthful/early career promise turn into a complete dork the minute real money starts getting waved around?" No, I mean "How to we begin to address the debilitating effect this has on our news coverage when two-thirds of our fellow citizens are Peter Principle chair-moisteners willing not just to shovel, but wallow in, any sort of shit, in exchange for the privilege of not being required to do anything really useful?" And who flock to anything that stars Will Ferrell, for that matter.

ITEM: I have no idea whether Obama is actually Tapper's preferred candidate or not; I'm sure at this minute there's two hundred bloggers typing out some latest variation of "The media is in the bag for Saint Honest John Maverick McCain", with ample scare quotes (See Bob Somerby from last Friday; scroll down to "Calumny Watch". And why isn't Somerby on teevee? Not enough political blatherfests to squeeze him in?  Why does our public discourse sound as though no one has ever heard of its most devastating critic, or his criticisms?  Hmmmm?) But his forced humorlessness and easy offense--this is someone who's covered American politics for ten years--is suggestive of the Fellow Traveller, at least. My god. It may be defensible to confront every last slight your man suffers, but going to the trouble to imagine them first is a sign you need some fresh air. Reading some blogs these days is like a student-film version of Groundhog Day, except it's just one hour, and you are an NBC switchboard operator in the first minute after Sinead O'Connor tore up the Pope's headshot.

ITEM: I may have said this before, but who th' fuck is running the Obama campaign? Their Quick Response Team shit manages to wrong-foot the candidate twice in one weekend, and on issues (Access Hollywood, a satirical magazine cover) that ought to be so far beneath them it took two staffers just to locate 'em.  You're running a candidate for Most Powerful Man In The World. Try doing so, instead of acting like he should have been swept into office in January, by acclamation.  You think things are going to go smoothly once if he's elected?

8 comments:

Grace Nearing said...

I love it when people's brains get rattled by this kind of stuff.

It reminds me of the time when I was a kid and John Lennon said the Beatles were more popular than Christ (who at the time at no gold singles or LPs) and the more indignant and energetic among American folks banded together and set fire to piles of Beatles records and assorted merchandising tie-ins and deeply inhaled carcinogenic fumes that no doubt have long since sprouted into surprising little gifts from God in their lungs.

Jaye Ramsey Sutter said...

Someone's comment in the New York Times said that the New Yorker had been informing him since childhood, the cover was funny and people should go to hell if they don't get it.

Once again it is about Obama and not the people. He is more important than the campaign and his "fans." "Supporters" just doesn't cover it.

Where the hell is anyone's sense of humor.

Jake Tapper has gone legit. He is part of the Fourth Estate not a writer or thinker anymore. He is part of the herd. And an Obama fan.

Also, there was a mortgage crisis and a bank failure this week. Which is surely more important than the Goddamn New Yorker cover. Or Obama's dismay at not being the New Christ.

R. Porrofatto said...

"How do we begin to address the debilitating effect this has on our news coverage when two-thirds of our fellow citizens are Peter Principle chair-moisteners willing not just to shovel, but wallow in, any sort of shit, in exchange for the privilege of not being required to do anything really useful?" And who flock to anything that stars Will Ferrell, for that matter.

Bless you.

pebird@pacbell.net said...

I am much more conspiracy minded. It has been a s l o w political news cycle last few weeks, what with that FISA thingy and Jerusalem undivided and all that.

So this cover is a pleasant summer diversion. And a gift for the O campaign - keeps him in the news at no risk.

PEB

Harry Cheddar said...

See, the problem with broadly disseminating rightist opinions under the guise of "'satire'" or "'irony'" is, well, the target won't take it that way. For instance, the resident wingnut at our office, she and her righty buds are getting posters of the NY’er cover. They see it as funny because it’s true. It reinforces their view. I suppose as a ""''sophisticated elitist''"" I can sit back and snicker because the joke's on them. But it's really cold comfort, innit?

And of course Anne Coulter didn't really mean someone should blow up the Times building. Get a sense of humor ya weak-kneed sob sister!

But maybe that’s too extreme an example. Instead, compare the "Al Gore invented the internet" biz from 2000. Some people actually believe he claimed that. Others repeated it with a knowing wink and a smile. But either way it had the effect of perpetuating the meme. I believe this is an example of what Somersby would call the intentional clowning of our political discourse.

Leah said...

Why aren't you being published? I mean besides on your own blog.

I haven't read anything this interesting, piercing and funny in the New Yorker for years, well, excepting the work of Jane Mayer and Sy Hersh, (minus the laughs), and maybe one or two others.

Anonymous said...

And of course Anne Coulter didn't really mean someone should blow up the Times building.

People - by which I mean Americans - need to learn the difference between irony and hyperbole. Jonathan Swift didn't really mean he wanted the English to eat Irish children; he just said that to make it clear that what the English were actually doing to Irish children was just as bad. And Ann Coulter didn't really mean she wanted Tim McVeigh to blow up the New York Times, but she does really hate the New York Times so she sorta 80% meant it.

Irony: conscious inversion of one's actual opinion for comic or rhetorical effect. Hyperbole: conscious exaggeration of one's actual etc etc.

'Course, the New Yorker cover is in fact neither ironic nor hyperbolic but parodic, which is a completely different matter of utter triviality.

R. Porrofatto said...

See, the problem with broadly disseminating rightist opinions under the guise of "'satire'" or "'irony'" is, well, the target won't take it that way.

But Harry, isn't that the point? Of course the target won't take it that way, they never do, and who cares? Your office wingnuts believe a candidate for president is a Marxist, flag-burning, terrorist-loving Muslim whose wife is a militant AK-47 wielding fist bumper. That is ludicrously insane, and if I could draw that sentence, it would look like the New Yorker cover. Your wingnuts are the subjects of a cartoon that they think reinforces their view. That they don't see this or themselves as ridiculous is the point. They never will, nothing can be done about it, and no magazine is ever going to have a say in the matter.