Monday, July 21, 2008
Why didn't they dress him up as Muhammad, too, with a bomb instead of a turban? Well, for one, they're the New Yorker, not the New Amsterdamer.
And you are free to boo that joke, but if you got it, you're just as bad. Heck, you might even listen to They Might Be Giants. And the news two years ago.
The "Obam-Imam" New Yorker issue releases today, and I can't think of a better birthday present for Andy. Now, the senator's campaign came out against these vicious rumors and then called the magazine the equivalent of a lie-spewing cesspool, which the McCain campaign agreed with, then Sen. Obama himself came and said he's "seen worse." Which begs the question of why the media has not gotten ahold of this "worse" material he's seen and plastered it on the airwaves.
Now, why are we in such a tizzy? What's so offensive? Well, my argument is not that this magazine cover continues the stereotypes. Nope: human beings, even American ones, should never be played down to. Any comedian knows that. An audience is just as smart as the comedian, the rulebook says. Act like it. The rumors will not swirl around more than usual, really.
No, the insult is not that it's offensive to me and you, the audience of the New Yorker (if you dare call us such): it's that they defend it as "funny." When has the New Yorker been funny? The humor's dry as a desert, some say, maybe if you looked for it, you'd find it! Well, I'm pretty certain I understand the "desert"
Maybe that was a little much.
But there is a possible root to the problem: comedians aren't finding the funny about Obama, apparently. Or maybe it's the audience. Actually, it's probably those idealists in the crowd unable to cope with a shining beacon of light getting axed down. So comedians can't make fun of a well-read, beautiful speech-delivering, country-reunifying, gaunt, self-made man? Yeah, there's no precedent for this in history, most certainly. I mean, Lincoln's mole was all The Tonight Show was ever able to get the man on.
But the fact is, there will be humor about Obama. Better than the New Yorker's, easily. We'll blast him and rip him to shreds, even if he becomes president. Especially if he does. In fact, I'm hoping he does: I'm tired of telling John McCain jokes about "that one time he waved his hand." The audiences are getting brutal to me.