“Satire, like the razor keen, is best when scarcely felt or seen.”
—Terry Kruger, after unknown
IF YOU LOOKED CAREFULLY, you could probably spot the first satirical drawing by a human being in one of the rooms at Lascaux; no doubt some paleolithic wise-ass making fun of another knuckle-dragger’s rendering of a bison or a horse. But in all the time since, Homo sapiens still scars up his cortical overlay when he tries to wrap it around the ungentlemanly art of satire.
Take the tit-for-tat (read: “tasteless and offensive”) parody of the New Yorker cover, above. The inference that McCain is a Manchurian Candidate has been leveled by websites critical of McCain for years, some of them written by Vietnam veterans who dispute his public and private record of his time as a Prisoner Of War. The “smear” is not as obviously rooted in Rovian bullshit as the Obama-is-a-Muslim smear, because McCain supposedly spent several months unaccounted for by the POW system while in the custody of the North Vietnamese, who are said to have turned McCain over to the Russians for some quality head-shrinking time.
The portrait of Ho Chi Min over the fireplace shares a devilish glance with Cindy, who, brainwashed too, wields an AK-47 with all the aplomb of a younger, wealthier, and more confused Patty Hearst. “John Sidney McCain, reporting for duty!” His Nastian eyes and Doctor Evil pajamas with matching flip flops gives him a devil-may-care traitorousness; but no, this isn’t going to be a third Bush term; it’s going to be a ride to hell via a communist-controlled brain-bucket of betrayal and destruction; Manchurian McCain is going to sell us all down the river faster than you can say “POW Songbird.”
What a load of shit, aye? And far too many Americans can no more tell the difference between a Rovian lie and the truth than they can an urban legend and its exposition at Snopes. We are suffering the harmful consequences of an illiterate electorate, a huge swath of Americans with suffrage and the functional IQ of puerile fifth graders.
There are blogs out there with sixty pages of comments following articles about Barry Blitt‘s cover, many of them beside themselves with rage over the “racism” depicted by the New Yorker cover; whose courageous editors foolishly thought they could raise the intellectual bar for Teh Stoopid, because they equated their cover with the savvy of Stephen Colbert‘s satire. Really.
But no matter. However it shakes out in November, one thing is certain. Whoever said “A picture is worth a thousand words” was a numbskull. A picture is worth only the awareness of truth it reveals in the mind that may then be expressed in words, and actually lived. Modern respect for wisdom and truth is a recent ascent to the higher levels of thinking and reasoning; but it wasn’t handed out with your birth certificate. There are still plenty of knuckle-draggers who don’t know their own ass from a drawing on a wall.