The Politics of FEAR – Barack and Michelle Portrayed As Militants

The New Yorker Magazine raised a few eyebrows when their latest cover showed a picture of barack Obama in a white turban (a la Osama Bin laden) and Michelle Obama toting an automatic rifle.

The purpose of the cover was to talk about how fear has injected itself into the political arena.

Huffington Post:

Who knows if they’ll get this in Dubuque, but they sure aren’t going to like it in Chicago: This week’s New Yorker cover features an image of Michelle and Barack Obama that combines every smeary right-wing stereotype imaginable: an image of Obama in a turban and robes fist-bumping his be-afro’d wife, dressed in the military fatiques of a revolutionary and packing a machine gun and some serious ammo. Oh yes, this quaint little scene is also in the Oval Office, under a picture of Osama bin Laden above a roaring fireplace, in which burns an American flag. All that’s missing is a token sprig of argula.

The illustration, by Barry Blitt,is called “The Politics of Fear” and, according to the NYer press release, “satirizes the use of scare tactics and misinformation in the Presidential election to derail Barack Obama’s campaign.” Uh-huh. What’s that they say about repeating a rumor?

Presumably the New Yorker readership is sophisticated enough to get the joke, but still: this is going to upset a lot of people, probably for the same reason it’s going to delight a lot of other people, namely those on the right: Because it’s got all the scare tactics and misinformation that has so far been used to derail Barack Obama’s campaign — all in one handy illustration. Anyone who’s tried to paint Obama as a Muslim, anyone who’s tried to portray Michelle as angry or a secret revolutionary out to get Whitey, anyone who has questioned their patriotism&mdah; well, here’s your image.

The companion article by Ryan Lizza, who has written extensively about the campaign, is very long (18 pages!) and probably won’t thrill a lot of Democratic party faithful, either, since it advances the image of Obama as a skilled and calculating politician who advanced by becoming a master of the game:

“[P]erhaps the greatest misconception about Barack Obama is that he is some sort of anti-establishment revolutionary. Rather, every stage of his political career has been marked by an eagerness to accommodate himself to existing institutions rather than tear them down or replace them….he has always played politics by the rules as they exist, not as he would like them to exist. He runs as an outsider, but he has succeeded by mastering the inside game.”

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~ by kstreet67 on July 13, 2008.

3 Responses to “The Politics of FEAR – Barack and Michelle Portrayed As Militants”

  1. With Barrack and his followers and benefactors hate campaigning on America, and the industrialized world in general, with their agenda of terrorism and deceit, why is anyone not surprised by all of this? He is the enemy, and all of America is his intended target, and all of America knows it. We don’t want to be anyone’s target, Obama. You’ve done enough damage to America, and the world, already.

  2. […] Politics of FEAR – Barack and Michelle Portrayed As Militants « E Pluribus Unum The Politics of FEAR takes as its starting point the satirical cover of the latest New Yorker. The post goes on to cite […]

  3. The reaction to the New Yorker cover has been absurd.

    If there is still someone out there who a) has never heard the rumor that the Obamas are America-hating Black separatist Muslim terrorists, but b) would believe as much if he heard it–is it really very likely that the cover of The New Yorker will provide his first exposure to those ideas?

    The idea that it is racist is nonsense: the Afro and fist-bump are not generalized racial caricatures, but rather direct allusions to specific accusations leveled at the Obamas. The right’s coöption of each concept is fair game for satire, and it’s not clear how artist Barry Blitt could have depicted them in a non-racially specific way.

    I have much more to say on these subjects here.

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