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Satirical Overkill?

Bill Radke

Suzie Lechtenberg

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Covering Controversy
(Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)
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1. The latest New Yorker portrayed Barack Obama as a Muslim, his wife as a militant. They're in the Oval Office. A painting of Osama bin Laden hangs over the fireplace where the American flag is burning. Both the Obama and John McCain campaigns have denounced this attempt at satire. In the big picture, is this Good News, Bad News or No News?

2. John McCain is also suffering from a joke, but it's his own. This week, a blogger repeated a 1986 story from a Tucson newspaper. McCain was speaking at a conference, and allegedly he asked the crowd if they'd heard the one about the woman who's been raped and beaten by a gorilla. She comes to in the hospital and asks her doctor, "Where is that marvelous ape?" Even McCain's allies are admitting he has a politically incorrect sense of humor. But is it Good News, Bad News or No News?

3. The city of Seattle spent $5 million on five public toilets. They were shiny, high tech, hands-free, self-washing, self-disinfecting. This week, the city put them all up for sale on eBay. They got so filthy and dominated by drug abusers and prostitutes that even people with nowhere else to go wouldn't step into them. Is this clearly Bad News, or could it be Good News, or even No News?

4. In Pennsylvania this week, a woman sued her orthopedic surgeon because after he fixed her herniated disc, while she was still unconscious, he rubbed a temporary rose tattoo onto her lower belly. The surgeon says he's done this for many patients, to cheer them up, and no one else has complained. Is her lawsuit Good News, Bad News or No News?

  • Music Bridge:
    Round the Way
    Artist: Nomo
    CD: Ghost Rock (Ubiquity)

Comments

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  • By Connie Grugel

    From Ashtabula, OH, 07/19/2008

    I was surprised to hear the cavalier attitude about the womens feeling in the following story:
    I was surprised to hear the cavalier attitude about the womens feeling when her surgeon placed a temporary tattoo on her belly. The discussion seemed to indicate that because the tattoo was temporary it was alright or that because it was below the panty line it was not acceptable. First of all no one has the right to take liberties with any part of someone else's body, especially when that person is incapacitated. Sure, this was not a rape, abuse, or torture, but it was disrespectful. Please note that the surgeon said he's done this for many patients not all, which leaves one to wonder what criteria he uses to decide who he does this to. I would hope that the woman tried to resolve this issue with the surgeon and the hospital administration directly, but I empathize with her outrage. To relate a similar experience, my husband suffered a stroke five years ago, one day when I walked into his room, he had a smiley face drawn on the bandage covering the opening in his throat where a tracheotomy had been performed. The nurse who changed the dressing and drew the smiley face thought is was “cheerful”. I thought it was disrespectful.

    By Michael Neary

    07/19/2008

    It'd be refreshing to hear some analysis of the cartoon, and even of satire in general, instead of the kind of tired, jaded "they're such stick-in-the-muds" chiding of people who didn't like the piece.

    The bizarre thing about this cartoon -- and there's a really good post about this in Slate -- is that it caricatured the victims of an injustice rather than the perpetrators. That's worth talking about: whether a satire can let the true object of its edge stay invisible and still be tough, funny and effective. The answer in this case seems to be 'no.' People are talking about Obama -- or liberals -- not being able to take a joke, while rumor-spreading bloggers and Fox anchors frolick safely beyond the drawing's boundaries.

    By Gale Shroufe

    From Union City, MI, 07/19/2008

    I listen most every weekend to your show and usually enjoy it. But this weekend I was actually offended by Patricia Marx's comment about liberals not being able to take a joke and being too ignorant to recognize irony about the New Yorker cover.
    Could she have sounded any more like an elitist New York Snob? I think not. How ironic!
    I hope next weeks guests have a little more sense of the world outside the sheltered lives they live in.
    They should get out and see the real world of the United States and see how us ignorant liberals actually live, you know the ones who have to actually go to work everyday and pay $4.50 for a gallon of gas to get there. We can take a joke, we've had one as a president for 8 years.

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