Tuesday, July 15, 2008

obama and satire?

The latest issue of Harold Ross' venerable New Yorker has re-ignited the age old controversy of the value and appropriateness of magazine satire. Supporters of the cartoon plead that it is fair game, appropriate and that its intention has been misunderstood. Detractors have a more jaded view and feel personally affronted.


The purpose of this blog is not to advance the opinions of the author but to use history as an example to form opinions. Hence, lets take a lesson from the past.

Since the earlist issues of John Peter Zenger's New York Weekly Journal in 1733, the freedom of the press has been a matter of great debate and contention. The first "humor" magazine was the satirical Bee, published by Anthony Armbruster under the pseudonym William Honeycomb in 1765. It was banned for its criticism of the government.


Political cartoons were important in acheiving independence. None other that Paul Revere engraved this one for Royal American Magazine in 1774.

Even another Illinois politician was not immune to scathing satire in 1864.

Other presidents and candidates not been spared either. In the past, magazines have been closely allied with political parties.


Even Ross himself was parodied by his own staff in this extremely rare satire published for him shortly after the magazine came into existence.

and, finally, lets go to the original prospectus to see what Mr. ross had in mind and get some insight into what he might have thought about the recent events.
Now you have some more facts to form your own opinion!

1 comment:

Malloy said...

The only reason that this Mr. & Mrs. Obama satire DOES have impact — and may very likely spread — is because like all good satire, or good humor for that matter, there’s more than a germ of truth in it. Otherwise, the satire would utterly roll off the Obamoids’ backs, having no impact.