Monday, July 28, 2008

The Science of Satire

The Science of Satire is an excellent article from the Chronicle of Higher Education blog. In it, Mahzarin R. Banaji dissects the Obama cover from the The New Yorker and the lame explanation for it.

I post a lot of satire here, so to me this is important reading.

Key quote:
David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, in total disbelief about the reaction the cover received, said that "it's a satire about the distortions and misconceptions and prejudices about Obama." As it happens, I know something about distortions, misconceptions, and prejudices. Especially the type that make their way to us via images we are exposed to, such as that cover, by the sheer fact of living in an open society. That is why I find the Blitt-Remnick response, even more than the image itself, to be so unfortunate. Unfortunate because it shows that artists and their managers, by remaining in the isolated world of art or publishing, cut off from the basic facts of human nature and experience, of conscious and unconscious social perception, learning and memory, have no choice but to be startled by the mismatch between their lofty intentions to do the public some good through satire and the results of their clumsy actions.
Read the whole article.

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