I am loathe to give credit to Tom Shales, because I think he’s gratuitously mean and often clueless (he doesn’t get Mad Men, and thinks Lorne Michaels is a genius and SNL is still cutting-edge funny), but I think he’s onto something here: Sarah Palin is not only not defying the caricatured version of herself Tina Fey and others have created, she’s deliberately embracing it.
Posts Tagged ‘cartoons’
We hear a lot about how this country is split down the middle between liberals and conservative, secularists and evangelicals, “blue state” and “red state” values. But the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced the real split is between nice people and bullies. And the bullies have been winning. Anyone who ever got a wedgie, or heard the phrase, “stop hitting yourself” between the ages of 5 and 14, recognized Dubya and Cheney for what they were as soon as they appeared on the scene, despite the Eddie Haskell act they put on for the press. An John “Nasty” McCain and Sarah “Barracuda” Palin are more of the same; except that now, instead of stealing your milk money, they want to steal your country.
It’s not that their followers don’t recognize them as bullies; they admire bullies.
The pages of The New Yorker have featured, over the years, a parade of America’s greatest literary humorists: Benchley, Thurber, E. B. White, Dorothy Parker, and Woody Allen, to name but a few. In recent years, they have featured some fine political reporting, including the invaluable essays of Hendrick Hertzberg. And of course, The New Yorker raised the magazine cartoon (though they’re still too snooty to call them that on the Contents page, where they are referred to as “drawings”) to an art form, with the work of Charles Addams, Saul Steinberg, Peter Arno, and others too numerous to mention.
So–art, politics, and humor they can do. But they can’t do political satire. And they should really stop trying, at least on their covers.