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Small-town America, Meet Eustace Tilly

by David Gura
Jul 15, 2008

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David Gura

Chances are that you have, or someone you know has, asked this question: "Have you seen The New Yorker this week?" Even if you don't subscribe to the magazine, or read it regularly, you've probably seen its most-recent cover, drawn by Barry Blitt.

If you've just emerged from the wilderness, this is what it looks like:

Some critics have suggested that the illustration will reinforce untrue rumors, circulating on the Internet. They've said that any humor, satire, or tongue-in-cheek-ness will go over the heads of Americans who don't live in the five boroughs. Others have said that it's stupid. That it isn't funny.

The editor of The New Yorker, David Remnick, released this statement:

Our cover "The Politics of Fear" combines a number of fantastical images about the Obamas and shows them for the obvious distortions they are. The burning flag, the nationalist-radical and Islamic outfits, the fist-bump, the portrait on the wall — all of them echo one attack or another. Satire is part of what we do, and it is meant to bring things out into the open, to hold up a mirror to prejudice, the hateful, and the absurd. And that's the spirit of this cover. The reader of the same issue will also see that inside there are two very serious articles on Barack Obama inside — Hendrik Hertzberg's Comment, "The Flip Flop Flap," and Ryan Lizza's 15,000-word reporting piece on the candidate's political education and rise in Chicago.

And yesterday, in an interview with Michele Norris, on NPR's All Things Considered, he said that "this notion, that only, you know, Upper Westside Manhattan elitists can get satire. I don't think that's the case at all."

What do you think of the cover? Is it funny? Should The New Yorker have run it? Do you think that it will hurt Obama's candidacy?

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