Their Reality has Lapped our Satire, THREE

Some of you old-timers might remember my first Their Reality has Lapped Our Satire diary, and perhaps even the second one, Their Reality has Lapped Our Satire, Again.  Those diaries really came home to me this week with the New Yorker cover.


Was it satire?  Absolutely.  Was it rather ham-handed?  Yes.  But why was it so controversial?  It was so controversial because the right's version of "reality" has gone so far beyond the absurd that it just can not be satirized.  The New Yorker cover stands as proof that, yes, their reality has lapped our satire.

First, a review.  

Two years ago I wrote:

How could you cartoon the religious right's confidence that this is a Christian country, and that anybody else is here at their sufferance? Let's diagram the issue, and see what comes from it. First, what is the greatest symbol in America of welcome? What is the most obvious national monument to open arms, the availability of the American dream to one and all? You got it- the Statue of Liberty. There is really no second choice. Okay, good. Now, how to use the Statue of Liberty to caricature the religious nuts? Well, maybe we could replace the torch, the beacon lighting the way for one and all, into an exclusive symbol, marking the way for only Christians. Got it? Right, replace the lamp with a cross. But wait, we need a little more. What to do with her other hand? She's holding a tablet, remember? It has July 4, 1776, on it, the day we declared our independence. But hey, it's a tablet. You know what to do. Replace that silly date with some commandments. But there's one more problem- that pesky poem welcoming non-Christians. That has to go. Let's replace it with the commandments again. After all, "shalt nots" are a lot more fitting with the whole theme that language of welcome. Okay, we're ready to draw a cartoon, one that will really skewer the right, really cut to the heart of their hatred, their bigotry, their hypcrisy. But before we do, let's do a quick check of the internet, just to make sure we're not doing something that's already been done. What do we find?

This is real. A church in Tennessee spent a quarter of a million dollars on this thing. Jesus says feed the poor, the Commandments they worry so about say something pretty clearly about "graven images," and they build this?! Seriously, their reality has truly lapped our satire. When a church spends a quarter of a million dollars building the very thing, and being serious about it, that you would draw as a cartoon, then pen is simply dry. There is nothing left to do but crawl into a corner and whimper.

Their reality has lapped our satire.

That was an interesting diary for me.  It was one of my first truly successful ones, getting so many recommendations you have to scroll down the page to see them all. The phrase even worked its way into the vernacular.  If you google it, you will find it in other places, other people using it. That was kind of cool.

Then came the second diary.  Again, it was about what passes today for religion on the right.

Okay, every day we see electricians vans, yellow pages, billboards, advertising companies and products as "Christian," like that means the plumber won't overcharge us because he goes to the right church on Sundays. As a cartoonist, if I were to try to make fun of this kind of marketing, what might I come up with? If I sat down to draw a cartoon and TRIED, I mean really TRIED, to figure out how to satirize the marketing of Jesus, the ideas I would come up with would probably be candy bars or perfume.

Candy bars- don't just save it for Sundays, eat the Lord whenever you need a little pick-me-up.

Perfume (and this is really the ultimate irony)- nothing attracts a man like the provocative scent of Jesus. A dab between each ear, and maybe a bit between the breasts and down "there," and you'll be born again, and again, and again. They don't call it "The Second Coming" for nothing.

That did not work out either:

And now, today (well, yesterday if you must pick nits), the New Yorker hit us with its infamous Obama cartoon.  It picked up on the most absurd and paranoid fantasies of the extreme right.  If that were a tiny minority of crazy people dressing up in camo and running around in the woods of Idaho waiting for the rapture, it might have been hysterical. Unfortunately, the level of craziness that makes the satire collapse is the mainstream right wing these days.  Let me show you what I mean. Here are some of the pictures and bumper stickers to be found for sale, being mass marketed, on the internet today:

Do you remember the stories about Obama being educated in Indonesia?

and this kerfuffle (unfortunately pimped by Drudge and re-pimped relentlessly right here, blaming the Clinton camp, but that's another story)?

and of course, this?

Folks, there is a very large part of our population that really believes the Democratic nominee for President of the United States is an unpatriotic closet-Muslim. And, of course, "Muslim," by definition, means jihading anti-American al Qaeda terrorist.  Doesn't it?

So when the New Yorker publishes a cartoon that should have been screamingly obvious satire to everybody, it doesn't work.  It gets so close to the right-wing looking glass version of reality that we scream "UNFAIR!" and they howl "WE TOLD YOU SO!"

Their reality has lapped our satire.


Tags: Barack Obama, New Yorker, satire (all tags)



Re: Their Reality has Lapped our Satire, THREE

I drive by that statue frequently. It is only a few miles from my home. It disgusts me more each time I see it. Sadly, you are right about their reality being so far out that it becomes almost impossible to satirize.

by MS01 Indie 2008-07-15 08:49AM | 0 recs
A fitting memorial for such a statue

would be a golden yellow star graffitied on it.

... or have they truly forgotten that Emma Lazarus was Jewish?

by RisingTide 2008-07-15 10:07AM | 0 recs
They can't forget...

what they never bothered to know in the first place.  Heck, half of them probably don't realize that Jesus was a Jew either...I've gotten reamed out several times by hardliner Christians for telling them that.

by Elsinora 2008-07-15 11:43AM | 0 recs
The Obama pictures are obscene and sheer
nonsense. No words are enough to condemn the hatred and signature of Goebellism type of right wing disinformation.
by louisprandtl 2008-07-15 08:52AM | 0 recs
here's one from the Schiavo protests


by Geekesque 2008-07-15 09:06AM | 0 recs
Re: here's one from the Schiavo protests

* sad trombone *

by Jess81 2008-07-15 09:37AM | 0 recs
Very good

You are exactly correct.

by chrisblask 2008-07-15 09:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Their Reality has Lapped our Satire, THREE

Nicely done.

by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner 2008-07-15 09:09AM | 0 recs
Excellent analysis.

The bastards have even ruined satire for us!

by Radiowalla 2008-07-15 09:11AM | 0 recs
This is only the beginning of a huge,

looming iceberg of "rightwing reality" coming our way to lap our satire. Hopefully we have better rivets now.

by Rumarhazzit 2008-07-15 09:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Their Reality has Lapped our Satire, THREE

Also, the attempted satire is viewed by many as anti-Muslim as well. Yes, the diarist is correct that the right wing has become so absurd that they cannot be satired because any attempt at absurd satire can never out-absurd right wing propaganda.

by Zzyzzy 2008-07-15 09:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Their Reality has Lapped our Satire, THREE

To be fair, we have our own over-the-top versions of reality too.  My office mate has our office door plastered with anti-Bush memorabilia including the one doctored picture where he is supposed to look like a Mullah.  Not really my cup of tea.  But I suppose those sorts of fanatics have their place in any "ism".

by the mollusk 2008-07-15 09:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Their Reality has Lapped our Satire, THREE

Up have a potential hit here, dhonig, saying the right things. But when will you acknowledge that No words are enough to condemn the hatred and signature of Goebellism type of right wing disinformation.

The US, indeed, the West is tired of right wing disinformation about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well. And when will you acknowledge the double-standards by which these diaries are presented. You can't really have it both ways.

by shergald 2008-07-15 09:55AM | 0 recs
And along comes Shergald

to shit in the punchbowl.

No thanks. I'm not playing.

by dhonig 2008-07-15 12:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Good boy.

by shergald 2008-07-15 12:59PM | 0 recs

fuck you.

by dhonig 2008-07-15 05:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Their Reality has Lapped our Satire, THREE

In private I have joked with my close friends about Obama having a mosque built on the White House lawn, it's funny to us because it is entirely ridiculous and we are all Obama supporters anyway, but that kind of satire would go right over the heads of Republicans and feed into their supremely warped views.  We're literally facing people so completely deranged that they don't even know when we are mocking their idiocy.  And worse yet, we mistake fellow satirists for being rightwing tools.

We can't keep up with their twisted reality.

by Skaje 2008-07-15 11:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Their Reality has Lapped our Satire, THREE

So how does Wright fit into your jesting? Now THAT was funny. Perhaps his ranting is just too deep for the lowly idiots. They want to believe he hates America. He was telling the truth!. And Ayers is a patriot. And Chicago politics are as clean as Obama's hands. And he will do whatever he promises, because he is so truthful. And Obama hasn't changed his mind - we are just poor listeners and we couldn't hear WORM.

by Marjoriest 2008-07-15 07:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Their Reality has Lapped our Satire, THREE


by Skaje 2008-07-15 08:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Their Reality has Lapped our Satire, THREE

It is a bad cover because it cedes the ground of discussion to the Republican lies. Even if it is mocking these lies, it is giving them credence by acknowledging them in a very powerful medium.

Plus, it is an image that sums up the lies succinctly, and the 1000s of words discussing the lies will hardly be read, though the image will persist. It is just harmful to Obama.

Everyone knows that it is satire, but some people will use their powers of doublethink to reinforce the lies that they want to believe.

by gert 2008-07-15 11:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Their Reality has Lapped our Satire, THREE

I think you need to get more clever with the titles to your sequels.  Such as: Their Reality has Lapped our Satire - The Revenge; or, Their Reality has Lapped our Satire - Electric Bugaloo; or even Their Reality has Lappped our Satire - First Blood Part Two.

by rfahey22 2008-07-15 12:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Their Reality has Lapped our Satire, THREE

I'm laughing.  Very good. Nicely done.  How about "Their Reality has Lapped Our Satire- A cartoonist's descent into irrelevance"?

by dhonig 2008-07-15 01:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Their Reality has Lapped our Satire, THREE


by rfahey22 2008-07-15 01:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Their Reality has Lapped our Satire, THREE

Brilliant diary

But I do blame the New Yorker. The cartoon is hurried: the caricatures are poor and the concept facile.

There's only one way to stop their reality lapping our satire.

Be quick, smart and hit the finishing mark.

This satire is slow, dumb, and lumbering into fourth place.

by duende 2008-07-15 02:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Their Reality has Lapped our Satire, THREE

Great diary!

This cover came up for discussion on another forum that had absolutely nothing to do with politics and elicited the following post from what is clearly a low info voter:

OHB should not be concerned.
He redefines teflon coated and this along with the MSM's not willing to criticise him in any way: merica/15humor.php

He is on a roll and will likely be our next POTUS.

He is locking in the Hispanic vote which should put him over the top.

He got this bloc by promising free medical care to 20 Million illegal aliens- mostly Hispanic Mexicans.

He has a one line solution for all his programs.
Tax the very rich and buy votes.
Hopefully, voters will listen to what he is saying instead of how he so eloquently says it.
There probably has not been a more charismatic and influential speaker capable of moving his crowd since Hitler.

Yes, people, OHB is about to convince us that there is such a thing as a free lunch.
Stay tuned for the fleecing

The link sends one to an International Herald Tribune article about how comedians (hardly MSM) are having a hard time doing jokes about Obama.  

by Susan from 29 2008-07-15 03:51PM | 0 recs
I read somewhere that the PUMA or was it the

Denver group people are using this as their facebook  recruiting poster.

by iamold 2008-07-15 05:43PM | 0 recs
Our reality is lapping their stupidity

Folks, there is a very large part of our population that really believes the Democratic nominee for President of the United States is an unpatriotic closet-Muslim.

And yet this fraction of the population isn't so very large that it keeps Barack Obama from leading John McCain in the race for president, according to the public opinion polls.

Of course satire can never catch up with the truly delusional. We have a guy in my town who year after year, day after day, rides around town on his bicycle which he's adorned with colorful pinwheels and a large banner that flies over his head which says things like "Vote Nader" or "Nader Lives" or "9/11 Lies" on it. He likes to dress colorfully and usually sports a tie-dyed shirt, although sometimes he wears a full-body clownish costume and one of those huge furry helmets like the guards at Buckingham Palace.  

Surely it's a fairly small percentage of Americans who would find it appropriate for their church to erect a Statue of Liberty holding the cross, or who would buy Virtue perfume, or a Bible Bar, or that poster of Obama dressed as bin Laden.  Our population is very large, so even a tiny percentage is a lot of people, but still...

Election Day 2006 really happened - it wasn't a figment of our imagination.

And just consider this: Gay people have, for some years now, been able to legally marry in Massachusetts.  And that right has now been achieved in our country's most populous state.  Just slowly roll that thought around in your head next time you're exasporated by the rightwingers.

You see, they have some reason to be exasporated, too.

Our reality has started to lap their stupidity.

by Rob in Vermont 2008-07-15 08:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Our reality is lapping their stupidity

Wish I could uprate this a million times.

by spacemanspiff 2008-07-15 10:55PM | 0 recs


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