Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Megan McArdle over at The Atlantic explains why David Horsey's cartoon about McCain is not equivalent to the New Yorker cover of the Obamas, and it is as good an introduction to the subject as I have found. The humorlessness of the Obama supporters is on full display.

Megan is dead on here with the explanation. The New Yorker's entire tone for decades has been irony, mostly directed at the actions of the rest of America, but with a salting of self-mockery as well. It has not done splashy political cartoons, but ironic takes on the political process in general, though from a generally liberal POV.

I didn't think that the original cover worked that well, but I saw the point. The delicious irony for me is how much this rips the mask off the distant, amused, ironic attitude of New Yorker readers. When that same archness is directed back at them, some have become as rabidly tribal, with humor just as coarse and unsubtle, as those they have been ridiculing for years.

The two covers are not the same in tone - the first cartoonist is clearly making fun of the criticism of Obama, not Obama himself. If you can't see that, then you might be careful about being condescending to others in the future, dig?

If Obama is smart he will laugh loudest, but I don't think he's got in in him. Perhaps he's a jolly guy when you get to know him, but he comes off as humorless. I have noted before that the ability to laugh at yourself is an excellent quick measure of emotional balance.

A commenter named Passerby in Megan's next post fights back against the completely un-American attempt by Obama and his supporters to forbid humor about him. He provides the beginning of the collection of the campaign-approved jokes that are allowed about Obama.

Knock Knock!

Who's there?

Barack Obama

Barack Obama who?

Barack Obama who wants to see that Hope is restored to America through Change, Change in our country's politics; Change in our Great Nation's Ability to Lead through Peace, and Change in the Eating Habits of Children, so that together we can face this Century with Hope. Hope brought through Change.


a boy, a girl, and Barack Obama walk into McDonald's. The boy says to the cashier "Thanks to the dietary advice from Senator Obama, I'd like a healthy salad and a water for lunch!" The girl says "I'd like the same and I'd also like to talk to the manager about how I can access employment opportunities."


Barack Obama is standing on stage at the Ivesco Center, he adjusts his tie and says to the audience "Take my wife, please ... She's an example of how America offers promise but fails to make that promise available to all. For too long people like my wife, Michelle, have had to work too hard to achieve for reasons that are historical, but that can change. Together, we can make a difference."


Barack Obama took his wife and children to see a talent show agent. The agent asked Senator Obama what the family act was.

Senator Obama explained that his family represented the opportunity for change, the ability of people to improve their lives through hardwork, that children can reach their potential even at the cost of ten to fifteen thousand dollars per year in music lessons and summer camps, that families can struggle to eat healthy foods, such as fresh fruit and leafy greens, and, that all this can happen despite being limited to speaking in one language.

The agent sat back, decided he would never smoke again, order healthier foods that contained zero transfats, begin saving a percentage of his income, donate to charity, and invest in that RosettaStone package he'd seen advertised on television, and asked Senator Obama what the name of his act was.

"The Aristocrats"


How many Barack Obamas does it take to change a lightbulb?

None. Barack simply hopes and the light bulb changes itself.


Why did the chicken cross the road?

Hope. And a desire for Change.


Barack Obama, Maureen Dowd, and Bob Novak are standing at the Pearly Gates. Barack says to Maureen Dowd - "So, why should I let you in?"

I think I'm going to have a go at this myself. Watch for updates


jlbussey said...

Ooo, I loved the light bulb joke! I'm going to have to try that one out at work!

Dubbahdee said...

I skipped over the body of the joke. My eyes when directly to the punchline...The aristocrats. Oh my!
I just about fell over. I didn't even need to read the joke -- I knew it all in an instant.

Ahhhh yes. Poor Obama. His candidacy hinges on the importance of being earnest.

OBloodyHell said...


As I've noted elsewhere, people are all missing the obvious one:

Why are you looking here when the joke is in your campaign?"