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JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY CLIVE CROOK IN THE FINANCIAL TIMES

I think you’ve got it quite wrong here, Clive Crook.

The New Yorker is famous for its humor, and it is a humor not to everyone’s taste.

It is stylish and sophisticated, sometimes bordering on a bit vague, almost ethereal.

But this cartoon does not fit that pattern at all.

It is, if anything, a bit like a political version of what one might expect from Mad Magazine, over the top, poking you right in the eye, and rather teenagerish in tone.

The fact that it does not fit the pattern should tell us something.

The New Yorker cover is definitely making a statement, thinly disguised as humor.

And I believe Obama’s campaign is right to object. The cartoon is very much on the level of 1860’s newspaper cartoons in America portraying Lincoln as an obscene ape. It throws into one document every cheap shot taken at Obama during the primaries, including Romney’s unpleasant trick of repeatedly referring to Obama as Osama.

I know some very intelligent people work for The New Yorker, so awkward things like this do not happen by mistake.

Just imagine a cartoon of Bush in a Nazi uniform.

A cartoon of that nature would actually have far more historical basis – both in regard to Bush’s own actions at home and abroad and to the behavior of his rotten grandfather who traded with the Nazis – but I think it fair to say that there would be a firestorm over it.

The problem with this cartoon is that it superficially represents a satire on Obama’s name-callers, but it really is exploiting the opportunity for other purposes, a version of the old adage about having your cake and eating it too.

I suspect, but of course do not know, that the New Yorker is appealing to the prejudices of a sizeable segment of its large Jewish readership in New York.

It is a pity, but there is definitely a prejudice running through that community concerning Obama and Israel. And, of course, something of which British readers will not be aware, there is an old and traditional enmity between large parts of the black and Jewish communities in the U.S., quite nasty at times.

Those concerned about Obama in this regard would likely rather have candidates who shout about incinerating a nation.

I do believe Hillary’s near insane remark during the primaries about incinerating Iran was aimed at this community and its financial backing when her campaign was running on empty. There really is no other explanation for her bizarre outburst.

This is all dangerous and nasty stuff.

I also find it objectionable to drag the candidate’s wife into scorn the way this cartoon does. As one lamentable commentator, Oliver Kamm, wrote, “…where [Michelle Obama} stands politically [is a] matter of public interest…”

This uninformed statement was justified on the basis of the vicious assaults made on Mrs. Clinton during her husband’s presidency. The brutal stupidity of that speaks for itself.

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