Pundits Cringe at 'Irony Deficiency' in Cartoon Flap

Cynicism has killed satire, perhaps even humor altogether, in post 9/11 age
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 15, 2008 1:28 PM CDT
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., greets supporters at the NAACP convention in Cincinnati, Monday, July 14, 2008.    (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
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(Newser) – Many writers are scratching their heads at the incensed reactions provoked by the New Yorker’s Obamas-as-terrorists cover. Here’s some rebuttal:

  • Liberals “have come to regard all images or texts that contain negative stereotypes as too politically dangerous to run,” Gary Kamiya writes in Salon. “Not a single work of satire could ever pass this paranoid test” in which merely acknowledging racism “is to be racist.”

  • Sure, “the candidates have professionalized the business of taking umbrage,” Jack Shafer says in Slate—and Barack Obama may get a fundraising bounce from this round of victimization—but the elite shows its prejudices when assuming “Joe Sixpack” won’t get the joke.
  • Writes James Rainey in the Los Angeles Times, “We've already scratched thrift, candor, and brevity off the list of virtues in this presidential cycle, so why not eliminate humor too?” He thinks Obama could have gone another way, deploying “his cool” with a statement like, “Hey, I thought Michelle looked pretty good in camouflage.”