We all know about this week’s Controversial Satire Attempt by that wicked, bad New Yorker magazine, which critics can now bash for being wicked instead of just elitist. (Boring!) That particular faux pas rocked the ever-intertwined worlds of politics and publishing and seemed to prove that poking fun at a certain presumptive presidential nominee can be a precarious enterprise, if not an absolute no-no.

However, one brave — or maybe foolhardy — scribe at The Los Angeles Times, Joel Stein, stuck his neck out on Friday with a column devoted to finding less offensive and more effective ways of ridiculing Barack Obama. Let’s see how he did.

Los Angeles Times:

He’s a nerd. Yes, he seems cool because he plays basketball and fist-bumps and knows about pop music. But that’s because we’re comparing him with other politicians, all of whom are older than our grandparents. Compare Obama with other 46-year-olds and he’s Urkel. He’s the kid at the Model United Nations conference who says, “Guys, guys, c’mon. Let’s not make fun of Eastern Europe.” And the brutal truth is, even if women faint at your rallies, you’ll never feel cool inside when you have Alfred E. Neuman’s ears.

He’s ridiculously earnest. Obama is the kind of guy who not only talked you into showing up for Hands Across America but afterward insisted that it was awesome. On “Saturday Night Live,” Fred Armisen plays up Obama’s weird pauses and brow furrows like he’s Yogi Bear getting bad news from a doctor. Comedian Marc Maron does a really smart bit about how Obama stares out into the distance while giving a speech. “The first time you see him you’re like, ‘What’s he looking at?’ But then you’re like, ‘I don’t know, but it’s good and full of hope. And he’s the only one who can see it. If we vote for him, maybe he’ll take us there.’ “

Read more

Wait, before you go…

If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface. We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.

Support Truthdig