Thursday, July 24, 2008

He's Not A Muslim, By The Way

I didn't think that the concept of "satire" in humor (or as humor) was all that difficult of a concept. But apparently it is. And it's not just difficult for regular people to get, it's difficult for people who publish magazines to get. Well, people who publish magazines like Vanity Fair. They definitely have a hard time with the "satire" concept. The people who publish magazines like The New Yorker? Oh, they get it.

I need to back up here. A lot of people seem to be confused about who Barack Obama is as a person, how he grew up, what his heritage is and what he believes in. According to a Pew Research Center poll whose results were published on July 15, 2008, 12% of people polled believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim (that 12% also includes people who thought he was Islamic, so they're the same for this purpose. They're kind of the same for a lot of other purposes, though. I'm just saying.). That 12% is actually up 2% from a poll done by USA Today who published their poll results on April 1, 2008 which said that 1 in 10 (or 10% for those of you not willing to do the math) believed that Barack Obama was a Muslim. For God sakes, people. Where DO you get that kind of info? (He's not a Muslim, by the way.)

Well, there are several places they get that kind of information. (He's NOT a Muslim, by the way.) Part of it stems from his name. It is extremely unfortunate to have the name Barack Hussein Obama these days. I mean, come on, if you hear "Hussein" you think "Saddam", do you not? Well, sure you do. But that doesn't mean you have to think that he IS Saddam Hussein or that he has anything to do with Saddam Hussein. And then there's the Obama part. I listened to one ignorant redneck being interviewed on some nightly newscast in the south who, when asked what religion Barack Obama was, replied, 'His name sounds like Osama, so I think he might be Islamic. If you just change one letter in each one, you have the same name. Take the "B" and make it an "S" and you have Osama." And even when a guy standing nearby asked him, "Well, my name is Andy. So are you saying that I hold the same beliefs as someone named Randy? Because they're just one letter off." The redneck replied with, "I don't think you get what I'm saying at all." (Well, that's probably the only thing Cleetus got right all day because I don't get what the hell kind of logic that is at all.) And when the reporter asking the question said to him, "You know, however, that he's actually NOT a Muslim, right?" the guy replied, "No." Nice. Someone should point out the the moron that not only is his last name just one letter away from "Osama", his first name RHYMES with IRAQ! Eh?! What does that tell you?! Huh?? Not much, unless you're Dr. Seuss.("I do not like that man, Barack. Because I think he's from Iraq.") (He's not a Muslim, by the way.)

So having a name that reminds people of Saddam Hussein AND Osama bin Laden does NOT help matters for Barack. I mean, the Osama/Obama pronunciation similarity has caused even the most seasoned newscasters to misspeak and say "Osama" when they meant to say "Obama". The only way it could be worse is if the guy's name was Adolf Hickler.

Those are just some basics. Sorry that I had to spell them out like that, but it's relevant to explaining the lack of understanding the concept of satire that seems to be way more prevalent than I would have thought. (But I don't know why I wouldn't have thought that. After all, it is MY tagline at the top of this blog that reads "Never underestimate America's capacity to ignore the blatantly obvious.")

The thing about satire that makes it funny is that it's so ridiculous. Thus, you take something that is "ridiculous" and you "ridicule" it. (Hence the term. Clever, eh?) So The New Yorker, in an attempt to show just how ridiculous the "Barack's a Muslim & Michelle isn't proud of her country" rumors are, had the cover of the July 21, 2008 issue illustrate all of these rumors. And if you see the cover and you think about it, it's really funny. But if you see the cover and you don't think about it, you won't think it's very funny at all. If you're an idiot, you'll be more convinced now than ever before that Barack IS a Muslim. (He's not a Muslim by the way.) Here's the cover:

OK, come on, THAT is funny! Do you REALLY think that's who Barack and Michelle really are? (Are we to believe that if WAS a Muslim and he had spent his entire life/career covering it up and then he suddenly slipped and let it get out just as he was trying to be elected President of the United States? I don't think so. I think if you've been that good at keeping something covered up your entire life, you're going to do a pretty good job of continuing to cover it up as you're running for freaking President. In fact, I'm sure of it.) Yes, that's exactly how the White House will be if he were to be elected. Michelle would suddenly start sporting the Angela Davis 'fro and carrying her AK-47 around the Oval Office wearing camouflage pants and combat boots! And she will greet her husband Barack, (who will be swaddled in an Islamic robe and will be wearing a Taliban style turban) with a terrorist fist jab as they warm their cold, cold souls in front of a fire which is fueled by the US flag burning bright beneath a full framed image of Osama bin Laden. These are all of the things that people are afraid of and when you put the all together and illustrate them in full color, you get a sense of how ridiculous all of it really is. Or do you? (It's a rhetorical question. Because while WE get it, THEY do not.)

Maybe if they had added a unicorn or had that Lucky Charms leprechaun be Secretary of State it would have helped people understand that it's NOT true and that it's satire! The cover is making fun of the RUMORS! It's NOT making fun of Barack and his "Muslim beliefs"! (He's not a Muslim, by the way.) But even Vanity Fair didn't get it.

Vanity Fair, in what they call "A selfless act of solidarity with our downstairs neighbors here at the Condé Nast building" has created a cover, similar to The New Yorker's, of their own! There are a few differences, however. This time, the subject is John McCain and his wife, Cindy. It's also not a real "cover" that will be on actual magazines, but rather an illustration on the Internet. Another glaring difference is that, unlike the New Yorker's cover of the Obamas, Vanity Fair is not satire! It's just a cartoon!

The Vanity Fair cover shows John McCain looking very old and in need of using a walker. There is a large bandage on his head (I'm not sure if that is in reference to old people falling and bonking their heads a lot or to the two or three bouts of skin cancer that he's had). He is giving a terrorist fist jab to his clearly, much younger wife, Cindy, who is cradling an armful of what appear to be prescription pill bottles. The fire in the fireplace is fueled by the Constitution. And hanging over the fireplace is a framed portrait of who I think is supposed to be George W. Bush (portrayed as if he were part Vulcan). And it's unclear to me if the light blue blotches on the rug that McCain is standing on are supposed to be part of the rug or if they are supposed to indicate a problem with incontinence. You know, because he's old.

Do you see the difference? The majority of the McCain cover is TRUE! It's not satire! I mean, I hate to break it to the folks over there at Vanity Fair, but McCain really is old! He's 72. THAT'S OLD when you're running for President. (That's kind of old even when you're NOT running for President) His wife IS a lot younger than him. And she DID have an addiction to prescription pain medications! He did have skin cancer! (He may have bumped his head! I've bumped mine! Usually on purpose after seeing things like the Vanity Fair cover.) Those things are TRUE! I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that Michelle Obama has never had an addiction to AK-47s.

The walker thing would only be comparable to the "Obama is a Muslim" thing (He's not a Muslim, by the way) if it was rumored that he actually used a walker in private and tried to hide it from the public. But it isn't, so it's not the same! The pill bottle thing would only be comparable to the "Michelle has an AK-47" thing if it was rumored that Cindy McCain had an addiction to pills. But she really did, so it's not the same! Do you see where I'm going with this? Vanity Fair doesn't get it. That is correct.

Look, whileYes, that is Cindy McCain! Who knew? I see what the New Yorker's point was, it certainly didn't help anything, except for quite possibly, their sales. If their goal was to freak people out, they should have waited until after he won the election. That would have caused that 12% of the population who think he's a Muslim (He's not a Muslim, by the way.) to all have a heart attack. I can picture it now...."Oh, my God! Look who we've elected President! Aaahhh!! My chest!" But that wasn't their goal. Their goal was to show how ridiculous all of the rumors are. Unfortunately, the number of people who understood that were the people who already understood that the rumors were ridiculous to begin with.

Listen, if you don't want to vote for Barack Obama for whatever reason you have, that's fine. You're not obligated to tell anyone who you voted for or why you don't want to vote for someone. But since so many people feel like they DO need to justify WHY they're not voting for Obama, I'm going to offer a suggestion. (He's not a Muslim, by the way.) If you don't want to vote for Barack, don't vote for him because he has ideologies that really seem to be of a socialist nature. And he also seems to be in favor of many socialist-like programs. So if you need a reason not to vote for him, don't vote for him and say it's because he might be Muslim. (He's not a Muslim, by the way.) Don't vote for him and say it's because of his socialist-like platforms. At least then you won't sound like a moron.

And if you don't want to vote for John McCain because he's old, well, I don't know what to tell you. He is old. Is he old and incapable? I don't know. Is he old and capable? I don't know that either. But don't not vote for John McCain because you think he's a Muslim. (He's not a Muslim, by the way.) I just figured I'd throw that in. With all of the confusion that seems to be running rampant these days, it seemed necessary.

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