This video addresses the controversy over a New Yorker magazine cover intended as a satire of the rumors spread about presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama and his wife.
The cartoon shows the Obamas in the Oval Office with an American flag burning in the fireplace and a picture of Osama bin Laden hanging on the mantel. Obama is dressed in traditional Muslim garb, and his wife is carrying a rifle.
Both the Obama and McCain campaigns released statements opposing the cover. The magazine insists the drawing was meant to lampoon the outlandish accusations Obama is faced with.
"If people don't get the joke or misinterpret it that wildly, then you've got a problem. It doesn't mean, though, that that's the role of the artist or the journalist to try to pull back or not take risks." -Eric Bates, Rolling Stone Magazine
"It shouldn't be a shame that anybody is considered to be Muslim to begin with...and now he's got to say he's not really a Muslim, when, in fact, that's horrible to even have to say he's not." -Michael Eric Dyson, Georgetown University
"I went to see Chris Rock on Saturday night here in Atlanta, and he made a statement in his comedy. He said, look, when you're the big person, when you're the rich person, poor people can say stuff about you, but it's downright wrong and brutal for rich people to beat up on poor people. He said people who are larger can lampoon people who are skinnier, but not the opposite." -Michael Eric Dyson, Georgetown University
1. What is satire? What are some examples of satire that you either watch or read?
2. What makes a joke, especially a political joke, effective or funny to you?
3. Was there a time you've seen a satire, on a television show or in a cartoon, that was offensive to you?
1. What is your initial response to the cover? Did the cartoonist go too far? Why or why not? Do you "get" the joke or find it offensive?
2. What are some of the potential unintended consequences of a satirical cartoon like the one in the New Yorker?
3. Should artists or journalists be sensitive to the different ways the audience might interpret their work? Why or why not?