Monday, July 14, 2008

There Will Be Racism

"Must those who control news policies endeavor to make every item of news serve a certain purpose” — Josef P. Goebbels

Okay, before I start this off: Racist and Prejudice Alert. If you’re easily offended, then beware and don’t bother reading the rest of this post. If you blast me, I’m going to blast your ass back and cut you off at the knees because you’ve been duly warned – now!

Frankly I don’t give much of a crap what people want to believe of me one way or another – and if it’s something I know is incorrect, doubly so. I’ve already been called a “racist cur” who chaired a “KKK coven,” and even had not-so-veiled physical threats, among other things in my life. So what? You don’t know me, if you did you’d know better – and if you want to remain rooted in ignorance, knock yourself out. BFD!

What initiated this rant:

The first thing I pulled up when I went to CNN this morning was a story referring to the image below, courtesy of the New Yorker Magazine:

Immediately I was livid. It was a caricature of Barack and Michelle Obama in what was probably the White House with an American flag in the fireplace burning, Michelle in Afro and 60’s revolutionary garb with an AK strapped to her back, giving a fist pump to Barack dressed up as Osama Bin Laden! And with a picture of Bin Laden on the wall!

Not knowing the New Yorker (other than it gives all appearances as being a magazine catering to the elite), I could not believe how freakin’ blatant these bastards could be with their racism! This looked to me as being the lowest of the low. I couldn’t imagine this kind of crap was happening in America in the 21st century!

Then I listened to the pundits in the progressive blogs – with both blasts and support for the New Yorker! They explained it away as the New Yorker being a liberal slanted magazine (I don’t know, but image-wise I have sincere doubts!). They reasoned that this was simply a humorous political cartoon and that those of us like myself were missing the message with our immediate eviscerations.

At first I thought “white bloggers, they don’t see it from black eyes.” Then I watched a video pundit response with two white reporters and Clarence Page (black). I don’t know if this was done purposefully, but the two white pundits were blasting the New Yorker, and Page was the one saying everyone was overreacting! Maybe I was doing a reverse, self-critical, righteous indignation for black America in some vicarious fashion. Perhaps…

But reverse indignation or not, the more I looked at that cartoon, the more pissed I got.

Yeah, they say it’s something the New Yorker does with everyone and both parties get lampooned on their unfounded stereotypes in similar fashion. Really? Then please show me a New Yorker cover where they show a petulant, spoiled-brattish George W. Bush flipping the bird after ripping up the Constitution and screaming that “It’s just a g*ddamn piece of paper!!!” Or maybe a cover with W sitting in a near stupor with a cocaine straw hanging from his nostril with his finger on the nuclear button while Laura stands in back of him in a “naughty teacher” outfit holding a wooden paddle?

If they can show me something similarly incendiary and how the Bush Admin and the RNC kept silent and simply chortled at the satire, I’ll believe it and apologize for my overreaction. Until then, that’s unadulterated bullshit.

Republicans scream like stuck pigs whenever anything even remotely besmirches their hyper-guarded, self-sanctified legacy. Think of their reaction to Gen. Wesley Clark’s comments about Sen. McCain’s running on his military record. They felt it was an outright swiftboating when all he said was that being prisoner of war doesn’t automatically equal leadership. RNC folk won’t just make a mountain out of a molehill, they strive to make the planet Jupiter from a grain of sand! Factually speaking, anything remotely close to their precious president being cartooned in similar fashion would’ve met with withering rebukes (and possibly demands for resignations).

They believe we’ll fall for this crap that “it happens to everyone, and is all in good fun” routine! Well, sorry … let me call bullshit on this. It’s an outright dual standard that’s too blatant to ignore.

When I first saw this, it immediately brought the image to mind of working Houston’s gay bar area in the Montrose on Saturday before our Texas primaries. In response to my pushcard campaigning, I got rejected with “Obama Bin Laden? No!” from a flitty prettyboi donning his HRC equal sign hat while strutting by on his boyfriend’s arm.

This presumption that we’ll sit with a pat answer that “no one’s really believing our cartoon rendering” completely ignores reality. There’s a significant number of LCD folks who do believe that crap on their cartoon, and this just helps them justify (and maybe export it) to other LCD types with no energy to research and discover truth.

Don’t believe me? A recent Newsweek poll showed that 12% of their respondents believe Obama was sworn in as a senator on the Quran, 26% believe he was raised as a Muslim and 39% believe he attended an Islamic school. Regardless of the reality that none of the above are true, the LCD’s still cling to it and pass it around as truth – National Enquirer style. My own mom believes these urban legends, saying she won’t vote for him because he “won’t put his hand over his heart or say the pledge of allegiance.” She refuses to let it go, and I’m pissed off. No matter how much it’s been debunked, still the lying rumor-mongers persist and rope in the clueless.

On CNN, even conservative talkshow host Joe Pagliarulo commented that, “I talk to people every day, like Laura [Flanders, liberal talkshow host] does. People really do believe ... that he's a Muslim. They believe he was sworn in on the Quran. They believe that his wife is unpatriotic and so is he." And now we have cartoon confirmation for the clueless, ready-made for redistribution across the urban legend highways.

All the while, the RNC and the McCain campaign will claim their hands are completely clean. They are. They just get supportive surrogates to be their hatchet-men vis a vis Bud Day and the Swift Boaters. There may never be a paper trail leading back to Rove or his acolyte Schmidt (now McCain’s campaign manager). But you can bet this is something they’ve been obsessively strategizing for some time – maybe even under the auspices of the granddaddy of propaganda and dirty pool: the Project for the New American Century. They must keep control by any means lest their agenda lose its rudder and drift inertly.

If you want me to believe this New Yorker cartoon was all “harmless fun,” then be prepared to allow the same level of controversial "fun" reversed on myopic, conservative xenophobes to be printed and distributed widely as well.

Until that happens, this is absolute elitist hypocrisy and I’m sick of putting up with it! Smear at your own risk … then brace yourself! It won’t be pretty.

"A man calumniated is doubly injured -- first by him who utters the calumny, and then by him who believes it." — Herodotus

1 comment:

chrisd said...


The cover doesn't depict what the magazine believes, nor was it supposed to be funny. Its purpose was to ridicule that campaign of lies being used against the Obamas by putting them all in one place and showing how ridiculous they really are.

Whether it succeeded or not is a subject for legitimate debate, but I don't think the intent is. The New Yorker, almost uniquely among mainstream publications, opposed the Iraq war before it started; it has tirelessly exposed the machinations of the Bush administration from the torture at Abu Ghraib to the cherry-picked intelligence used to justify the war to the goings-on at Guantanamo. Now it is taking on what the administration is up to in Iran.

The argument that it should not have used the cover because some people wouldn't "get it" doesn't hold up, in my opinion. I can tell you near certainty that any reader of The New Yorker, even the occasional reader, understood instantly what the cover was getting at. So if we say that it shouldn't have published the cover because some won't understand it, we are saying either (a) a magazine should tailor its content for people who don't read it, or (b) magazines should publish only material that can be understood by everyone, including the least informed and the least intelligent among us. Neither of these propositions makes any sense to me.

You asked, I think, for covers that George Bush might find unflattering. I think you might find interesting ones here,
here, and here. Rumsfeld might not like this one very much.