A “Mirror to the Absurd”, or Just a Mirror?

 

“The doctor should be opaque to his patients and, like a mirror, should show them nothing but what is shown to him.”

 

—Sigmund Freud

 

From The New York Daily News on the New Yorker Obamas cover (above) kerfluffle:

 

“The New Yorker may think, as one of their staff explained to us, that their cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Sen. Obama’s right-wing critics have tried to create. But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree,” Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton said

 

The McCain campaign joined in piling on The New Yorker. “We completely agree with the Obama campaign that it’s tasteless and offensive,” said campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds.

 

New Yorker editor David Remnick seemed shocked by the backlash.

“Our cover … combines a number of fantastical images about the Obamas and shows them for the obvious distortions they are,” he said in a statement.

“The burning flag, the nationalist-radical and Islamic outfits, the fist-bump, the portrait on the wall – all of them echo one attack or another. Satire is part of what we do, and it is meant to bring things out into the open, to hold up a mirror to the absurd. And that’s the spirit of this cover,” Remnick said.

 

 

Contra the protests of both the Obama and McCain campaigns, and New Yorker editor Remnick’s explanation, Sigmund Freud observed, appositely, the role (in this case likely unintended, or at least subliminal) of the cartoonist “doctor” Barry Blitt:

 

The doctor should be opaque to his patients and, like a mirror, should show them nothing but what is shown to him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew G. Bostom is the author of The Legacy of Jihad (Prometheus, 2005) and The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism ” (Prometheus, November, 2008)

You can contact Dr. Bostom at @andrewbostom.org

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