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Obama the Muslim, Michelle the revolutionary and bin Laden in the White House *

by Brad A. Greenberg

July 14, 2008 | 1:01 pm

Doesn’t the New Yorker, that bastion of conservatism, know that politicians are delicate flowers?

If you’ve seen this week’s cover, you know it’s a satirical piece—they often are when concerning politics—and it has the Barack Obama campaign team ticked. Pictured at left, it “depicts Obama in one-piece Muslim garb and headdress fist-bumping his booted, Afro-wearing wife Michelle in camo clothes with an AK-47 and ammo-belt slung over her shoulder beneath a portrait of Osama bin-Laden while the American flag burns in the fireplace—in the presidential Oval Office. It’s got everything incendiary except a vest bomb. Which is what should telegraph to most people that it’s way over-the-top and, therefore, satire.”

But, as the Top of the Ticket blog goes on to note, “politicians don’t like satire because it’s subject to differing interpretations.”

The cover quickly became fodder for political pundits and media talking heads. I think the cover is funny and its subject fair game, not to mention positively portrayed inside the magazine.

The joke says more about an American absurdity than Barack Obama. And the people most bothered by this joke probably don’t work for him, but are typical Muslim Americans.

(For those wondering why Obama is so sensitive about being portrayed as Muslim, here is a primer.)

*Updated: Opinion L.A. has a round-up of what some notable bloggers and New Yorker editor David Remnick are saying.

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