Press Release from I Watch So You Don't Have To
July 28, 2008
Satire or Hate Speech?
Rather than shy away from the pressure placed on it by the controversy resulting from last week's cover portraying Barack and Michelle Obama as Muslim extremists and violent black activists, The New Yorker this week went to press with a cover that is sure to cause an equal stir among the pundits and elected officials.
While many suspected the magazine, known for its liberal leanings and, some say, East Coast elitism, would send out the July 28, 2008 issue with a cover that could elicit little to no controversy, it has done quite the opposite.
The latest cover shows four white thirty-somethings on a porch--in the Hamptons, it has been suggested--enjoying glasses of red wine and a good laugh, while lobsters perform a classic "jail break" scene from the kitchen window, as a pot of boiling water steams in the background. The lobsters have tied together the bibs that would have surely been used to wipe away remnants of those exact lobsters as the "happy-go-lucky" foursome on the porch gorged themselves.
In what comes as no surprise PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), the largest animal rights organization in the world with over 2 million members, has issued a statement:
"The New Yorker has shown its true colors by covering their content in these latest covers. Last week they outed themselves as racists and terrorist sympathizers. With this week's cover they have gone one step further and shown themselves to be enemies to all living creatures.
To make light of such a topic--animal cruelty--a topic that needs to be at the center of all of our lives, does this country, the readers of The New Yorker, and indeed all of the world's citizens a great disservice. When will the editors of this magazine stop spewing hateful cartoons into this world?
PETA is officially calling for a ban of The New Yorker by all two million of our members until the July 28, 2008 issue is recalled and the editorial staff has issued a heart-felt apology, accepting the fact that people will not stand for this blatant disrespect for the dignity of humans and animals."
As animal-rights activists around the globe protest the magazine, the editors are, surprisingly, standing behind the recent covers. David Remnick, Editor-in-Chief:
"While we at The New Yorker understand the current debate on our most recent covers, we feel that due to the serious nature of the subjects being addressed, as serious discussion is called for. The New Yorker always strives to produce thought-provoking articles, fiction, poetry, and, possibly more than any of these, cartoons. We stand behind all of our cartoons and the artists who produce them. We welcome comments and assure you that your opinions on these cartoons are appreciated."
Letters can, in fact, be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, and as proof of Mr. Remnick's statement The New Yorker published five opinionated letters on the Obama cover in this week's issue. Readers called that cover "inartful," "creative," and "in poor taste," among other things. Look for next week's issue of The New Yorker to be full of similar opinionated letters. Though, according to many experts, given the sensitivities surrounding animal cruelty--sensitivities that most agree far outweigh those surrounding race and religious intolerance--no one should expect the readers of The New Yorker to be as forgiving on the magazine this time around.
Brought to you by I Watch So You Don't Have To, a media watch dog, hounding the mainstream media to get it Right since 2002.