[T]he ‘content’ of a medium is like the juicy piece of meat carried by the burglar to distract the watchdog of the mind.
Notwithstanding that people who suffer damage to the right parahippocampal gyrus are incapable of registering sarcasm (sometimes equated with satire, an arguable difference being the use of irony by the former to merely demean versus the latter’s attempt to make a higher moral point), the justification for the New Yorker‘s cover is naive, at best.
I expect to see cognitive scientist George Lakoff weigh in on this controversy soon, if he hasn’t already, so I will leave the bulk of that argument to him.
My reading of his new book The Political Mind: Why You Can’t Understand 21st Century Politics With An 18th Century Brain, leads me to conclude that for all the supposed sophistication of The New Yorker’s writers, when it comes to understanding that the medium is the message, as applied to the frightened, unthinking lizard brain of today’s average American voter, they don’t know squat.
Americans are being subjected to the latest installment in what Naomi Klein calls The Shock Doctrine, the prior application of which was the successful assault on the 4th Amendment in the wake of 9/11. (See The Patriot Act and the newly revised FISA Bill.)
The current application of the Shock Doctrines’ disaster capitalism involves the ruinous rise in the cost of everything from energy to food, the obvious goal being the fulfillment of the oil companies biggest wet dream– unrestricted off-shore drilling, the opening of ANWR, and an all-out assault on the oil shale deposits of Colorado and other western states.
In the present environment, the supposed intent of The New Yorker’s “elitist” editors to educate the great unwashed masses will likely produce the opposite result.
Though I value The New Yorker’s often excellent investigative reporting and writing, in this case they are the Rethuglican’s useful idiot.