Monday, July 6, 2009

the boomerang of satire

Last October a Republican women's group in California distributed a newsletter that featured an illustration of then-Senator Barack Obama on a food stamp; the presidential candidate was surrounded by a watermelon, ribs, a bucket of KFC, and the Kool-Aid Man. When Diane Fedele, the group's president, was asked by the Riverside Press-Enterprise about the stereotype-laden imagery, she replied, "It was just food to me. It didn't mean anything else."

Of course it didn't.

Fedele resigned shortly thereafter, but the humdinger is that the illustration was created five months earlier by an anti-right-wing blogger. "This article was complete satire and I wanted to let anyone reading this know that this was not a slight on Obama at all," he wrote in an update to his original May 26 entry. "It was a satirical look at some of the Fox News watching right-wingers out there that are afraid of a government that sponsors welfare type programs. It was intended to poke fun at the unrealistic fears and agenda of racism that a fringe element of Republicans strongly embrace."

If you don't get the joke, the joke's on you. But if you don't carefully construct the joke you're creating in the first place, the joke's on you as well.

All I know is that I really like watermelon. And it's summer now, so I win.

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