Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Friday, October 03, 2003  

There's a caricature of the President in the New Yorker's "Talk of the Town" section this week in which it appears he's being attacked by a bat. For weeks now, the lead story in the section has addressed the President, and each has been accompanied by a caricature. This week's piece, by Elizabeth Kolbert, discusses the bizarre speech the President delivered at the UN recently. It features the usual New Yorker prose--pointed but genteel. Kolbert notes a contrast with Chirac's speech, barely needing to mention the obvious point that France was right about the situation, Bush "le cowboy," as she calls him later, wrong. Nothing approaching invective, certainly.

The caricatures from the early pieces were fanciful, and of the President's exaggerated features were a pointy nose and eyes of childlike wonder surmounted by a furry line of eyebrow. About six months ago, the space was taken often by David Remnick, the editor, who argued gingerly for an invasion. I believe his rationale was of the Tom Friedman variety, but the articles were written with a kind of defensiveness that seemed to indicate Remnick was tired of being grilled at cocktail parties about being soft on George.

That defensiveness has not been, of course, ameliorated by subsequent events. Now Remnick and the New Yorker are on the hook for supporting an unpopular war, but at the same time have become appalled by the craven political advantage the Bushies have attempted to seize and, now, their incompetence in dealing with it. Yet nowhere has the prose deviate from the genteel.

Bush's eyebrows, though, went on the move. First they grew. Then they migrated. As the weeks have gone on, they resemble eyebrows less and less. It's as if the cartoonist can barely keep his pen from scratching deep, black lines across the President's face. In this week's edition, they don't even grow above the eyes, but slide down his nose in the mother of all deviant scowls. If things don't improve for the Iraqi people--and soon--Bush will soon be sporting a full-grown Osama bin Laden beard.

(I doubt seriously that the prose will change.)

posted by Jeff | 11:28 AM |
Blogroll and Links