Like moths to a flame, the political world is suddenly obsessed with a piece of provocative political iconography courtesy of Barry Blitt and the New Yorker. David Remnick says the cover holds "up a mirror to the prejudice and dark imaginings" of Obama's past. The Obama campaign calls it "tasteless" and inappropriate. I wonder what the argument is really about; if the cover art didn't hit home, we wouldn't be talking about it, and in that sense, it has already served its artistic purpose. Can provocative imagery reconfirm or relegitimize prejudice? Maybe -- but only in the right context, and it's hard to imagine readers of the New Yorker or consumers of political television having their biases check-marked by a New Yorker cover.
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