- It's not funny.
- It's not supposed to be funny. New Yorker covers rarely are. They can be wry; they can be satirical; they can be pretty. Sometimes they are subtle enough to require study before they are understood; sometimes they are blunt instruments. Occasionally, yes, they may elicit a subdued chuckle. But funny? Not so much.
- It's racist.
- No, it isn't. It's anti-racist.
- The New Yorker thinks that the Obamas are gun-toting, flag-burning, America-hating Islamic terrorists.
- No, it doesn't. It thinks that the Obamas are none of these. The cover isn't characterizing the Obamas; it's ridiculing the smears that are being used against them.
- I'm going to boycott The New Yorker
- OK. Conservatives already do, so you must be a liberal. Let's think this through. Better yet, let's look at some stuff that's appeared in The New Yorker:
- Hendrick Hertzberg questions the need for a war in Iraq--in August, 2002. (Quick, go make a list of everyone else who was doing that before the war started.)
- Seymour Hersh exposes torture at Abu Ghraib.
- Hersh debunks the cherry-picked intelligence used to justify the war.
- Steven Coll notes that "The suppression of professional military dissent helped to create the disaster in Iraq; now it is depriving American voters of an election-year debate about the defense issues that matter most."
- Jane Mayer writes on Dick Cheney's ties to Halliburton.
- Nicholas Lemann takes on Bill O'Reilly.
This is a tiny sample, believe me. This is the magazine you want to boycott?
- They shouldn't have used it because [insert your favorite demographic here] won't understand it.
- Sorry, but that is not The New Yorker's problem. The magazine is written for its readers. Most magazines are. It seems a little off the mark to say that a magazine should tailor its content for people who don't read it.
- They put this on the cover to sell magazines.
Update: Jon Stewart excoriates The New Yorker for printing satire that some people might not get. Daily Show correspondents reveal that this kind of horrible stuff permeates the magazine: in addition to believing that Obama is an Islamic extremist, it supports baby-killing.