Day 5 – the (ir)responsible press

I took extreme offense to the cover of Vogue, which showed LeBron James alongside model Gisele Bundchen.  The picture, to me, immediately brought to mind King Kong and Fay Wray.  It brought to mind the very picture that America likes to portray when it comes to African-American males:  a monster of a being who endangers the lives of white women.  I considered it an insult.  Most of the brothers who chimed in on the discussion at the time, also saw it as offensive, and the same image came to mind.  Only one or two sisters agreed, but, for the most part, they seemed to think there was no discriminatory undertones about it.  That debate raged on for quite a while, and, as with a lot of debates in cyberspace, ended with “agreeing to disagree”.  I was pleased enough that one female was persuaded to change her views after having heard the reasons that the brothers gave. Along comes the July 21st issue of THE NEW YORKER.  It’s entitled “The Politics Of Fear”, and is said to be a simple lampooning of today’s political scene and Obama’s right-wing critics.  The cover (shown here) is about as tasteless as one can get.  It’s one thing to attempt a bit of humor and satire,  but, I believe that this goes overboard.

There is a segment of the population in America that is deathly afraid of Black Americana.  Now that one of us is up for the presidency, hate-mongering imagery is the last thing we need in the struggle to not only gain the votes of those who have not made a decision, but to keep the votes that are already promised.  If there is doubt still in the minds of some of white America, this cover may help see to it that they make up their minds quickly – and run with wing-ed feet to the McCain camp.

Obama spokesperson Bill Burton was given the following explanation by a New Yorker staffer: “The cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Sen. Obama’s left-wing critics have tried to create”.  If there was previously any failure of the left-wingers to create that image, then, The New Yorker’s cover will see to it that just such an image will get out to the American public.  Of that population who fears Black Americana, there are those who truly believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim.  After all, the press said so.  There are those say that His wife, Michelle, is unpatriotic.  Note the flag burning in the fireplace.  Note the picture of Osama Bin Laden hanging on the wall.  The media is gospel.  If the media alleges that Sen. Obama and wife are anti-American, then it must be so.  If the media implies that they are both a threat to the American way of life, then, by all means, it must be so.  This is irresponsible “journalism” at its very best, and as you can see, I am hard-pressed to call it journalism.

At the time this post was being made, Sen. Obama had not issued a statement in either direction.  If you know me at all, you now that he has been my choice for president since the early days of his campaign.  That being so, it still irritates me that Mr. Obama always remains so cool, calm, and collected.  I am waiting for him to fly off the handle and give some one an old-fashioned cussin’ out.  In fact, I’m waiting for that day when Obama threatens to whoop some a$$.  Although that might be nice, we know he’s got way too much class for that.

The spin doctors from both sides of the fence will perform their magic and it will all blow over until the next derogatory item comes this way.  Obama will weather the storm as he always has.  THE NEW YORKER will sell more copies than the law allows.  Obama’s diehard followers will declare that it will not hurt him in the end.  I’m one of those diehard followers, but, I’m not so certain that it will do no damage.  I believe that there are people who truly believe that if the media prints it, films it, or records it, then . . . it must be so.

No one gets a pass in my house, not even THE NEW YORKER.  If this keeps up, there won’t be a decent enough rag left in America for me to read.  It pains me more that THE NEW YORKER knows just what it is capable of producing: irresponsible “journalism”.  freedom is out.

copyright  ©  2008  freedom

freerealm@gmail.com

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8 Responses to “Day 5 – the (ir)responsible press”

  1. I say the problem with mainstream media attempting to make a mockery of Obama greatly stems from our acceptance of making a mockery of ourselves. I’ve maintained that when you open the door, you have little to no control over what comes in. Although I find the magazine cover to be an atrocity meant to demean and disarm Obama’s great political stature, I am no more angry at the publisher of The New Yorker than I am at mainstream media as a whole. When we as Black people realize that the laughter we hear is mostly directed AT us and not WITH us maybe we’ll be able to make changes in our way of thinking and our manner of exhibiting “artistic” expression. One main problem that we face is of image and balance. We continually bombard ourselves and our children (hell, society as a whole) with the most gutter stereotypes imaginable and get upset when “others” do the same. The reason we are having such a hard time regulating what “others” say about us is because we say so much derogatory things about ourselves–in the name of making the all mighty dollar. Unless and until we face the facts that being black does not give you an automatic say what the hell you want card, we’re going to continually face unflattering, racially derogatory images, words, and actions.
    We have no balance. There is nothing in the media to counter the video vixens, or the mad black woman with 10 kids, a gold tooth, and no husband. There is no counter to the black man whose dream is only to be a athlete or rapper, whose hyper-sexual appetite has caused him to father as many children as he is old. This is what is shown every single day. Why should society think differently? The fact is, society does not know what to make of the average everyday black person so they categorize us all as having the same hood mentality and ghetto fabulous lifestyle.
    At a time when all the world is looking at Black America and we have the potential to show just how proud and beautiful we are, we continually show our A$$ by in-house fighting and bickering amongst one another.
    WE need to be better. WE need to be the change that we want to see in others. Having this confusing, convoluted guide of being able to say negative things IF you’re black is plain old tired and is just not working.

  2. I didn’t like the cover of Vogue.

    This New Yorker cover, the moment I saw it, stunned and shocked me. Don’t know why. Even a friend was like, “Are you really surprised, Sharon?” I guess not because, it is only the beginning. Closer to election I know the media will be filled with all types of offensive untruths. And when he is elected president well, we might as well get ready for all hell to break loose.
    I’m glad Obama takes the high road. Me on the other hand I would have told them to . . .

  3. freedom Says:

    Missy:

    You are so right. We get angry when the world demeans us, but, we demean ourselves everyday and that is what the world sees and it is how the world perceives us. If we don;t stop the negativity that we portray ourselves, then why ask the world to stop?

    I am trying my damnedest to bring out that point when I attack Kanye West from time to time. He has made such derogatory remarks at our people, yet we continue to support him. When an Imus or Richards insults our heritage, we hit the streets in protest. We need to “police” ourselves, as well. Thanks for your thoughts and commentary and please return. Peace.

  4. freedom Says:

    Sharon:

    Like you, inside I wish Obama would go off the handle, but, he is full of class and that really would be beneath him. This cover, like the LeBron cover, IMO, is outright agitation and an attempt to dissuade voters from casting their vote for Obama. Hopefully, they will use their intellect and be able to decipher what is truth and what is “spin”. Thanks your comments. Peace.

  5. Great post Freedom. But contrary to most of what I’ve read about this story, I don’t find myself as critical of the New Yorker as other folks for releasing this cover. I don’t think the cover has any racist intentions whatsoever. Instead, what bothers me most about the New Yorker’s choice of magazine cover (and other outlets used by white liberal types who claim some title of an elite intellectual) is how their “satire” will undoubtedly provide extra fodder for other people by playing into their racist fears. You put it best when you said “There is a segment of the population in America that is deathly afraid of Black Americana.” Folks feeding those fears using liberal satire can be just as guilt as those ignorantly succumbing to it.

  6. freedom Says:

    Andre-

    Don’t you think that “provide extra fodder for other people by playing into their racist fears” is just another “layer” that acts as a catalyst of racism, if not racism itself? I do see the satire, infinitesimal as it is, but, I see it more as racist propaganda in that, to me, it serves as more reason for those afraid of Black Americans to seek certainty that Obama doesn’t get elected (i.e. – votes for McCain). Thanks for stopping. Peace.

  7. I am one of the offended. I’m tired of looking the other way and being asked to grow a thicker skin. It’s wrong, it’s foul and it’ll happen again because not enough people got angry and told the editor of The New Yorker where to go. Would this slide by as easily if it were a Jewish candidate running? An Asian candidate? Only ‘we’ are supposed to turn the other cheek. Where’s the freedom in that?

  8. I’m real big on attacking the problem of racism and racial discrimination, and I believe that I will make a few posts regarding the topics of what we should be doing and how we should be responding. I’ve got a cheek to turn, but I’m sure that it’s not the one they’re expecting. I refuse to recognize racism and discrimination and just let it ride. Coming soon, absolutely nobody gets a pass . . . NOBODY! Freedom refuse to sit idly by.

    So glad to have you here and I trust that you will return. Freedom says peace.

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