Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Yes, the New Yorker

Its Obama fist-bump cover has garnered all sorts of comment -- click the link for a roundup of press remarks.  Falling asleep last night, we heard somebody of NPR going on and on, quite loudly, about what a shameful, disgraceful, thing it was.  

Oh, please.  New Yorker covers are famously obtuse.  Many are just whimsical, like the endless iterations of Eustace Tilley.  Others are make-you-look-twice sight gags.  And the political ones, more common these days than they once were, are a mixed bag; sometimes you laugh, sometimes you don't.  (The black-Hasidic kiss?  More wistful than funny).  But the smartest covers, for our money, are those that mock the mag's own readership and its pieties:  Steinberg's "Map of the World," or Maira Kalman's "New Yorkistan."

The Obama cover strikes us as something in-between the political and the self-mocking.  It digs at the rightist dopes like Fox's E.D. Hill, she of the "terrorist fist-jab" teaser.  It digs, less forcefully, at the liberal dopes, the Obamaniacs if you will, by asking what they really do know about their shining knight.  But it really doesn't dig at Senator or Mrs. Obama, who provide the opportunity for the joke but not its object.

Is it funny?  Eye of the beholder, of course.  We at the Egg would give it a wry chuckle, which is better than a roll of the eyes but not as good as a "Honey, look at this."

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