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June 22, 2009

Your Turn: Hanging Chad

6:29:09 NewYorker cover.jpg

I’m interested in your take on the New Yorker cover. (Florida 2000, no?)

(illustration: Barry Blitt)

  • Stuart Noble

    Absolutely. One of the iconic images from the 2000 contest. I’d like to think the redeployment here says as much about US as them.

  • Michael Shaw (The BAG)

    My main question here has to do with America and America media making this so much about us (US) … unless that is part of the parody (and I don’t think it is).
    In graduate school, I had a professor define the narcissistic this way: The healthy person looks at the friend or even his/her child and sees the friend or the child. The narcissistic looks at the friend or the child and sees him/herself. Maybe I’m just being cranky, but it really bothers me that Blitt makes an analogy that likens the Iranian election so much to Bush-Gore and “how America got robbed” that it diminishes, but also keeps at a safe distance, everything about the foreign/alien/complex Iranian political system and culture that we don’t understand.
    I am also intrigued with the way this cover resonates with the death of Neda, and also how it strengthens/reinforces the role/symbolism of the young Iranian woman in the Iranian election crisis.

  • [email protected]

    Your comments are on the money.
    My comment on the cover: Dumb! and oh yes, narcissistic too. That illustrator should get a prize for speed thinking – fast but not deep.

  • Gasho

    You guys are being too tough. The New Yorker covers seem designed to bring up a few ideas, then let you ponder them. This ties the Iranian election (obviously stolen) to our 2000 election (obviously stolen) and allows us to ponder the differences between the two. They took to the streets; we rode it out on the couch. We don’t know yet how it will turn out for them, but it was an 8 year tragedy for us. If anything this cover is self-deprecating as opposed to narcissistic.
    The fact that a woman is shown here examining the vote is interesting, given the large role that women are playing in Iran’s uprising – despite the reputation we’ve given muslim women as powerless and subservient.
    This also adds one more piece of evidence that elections and voting are NOT TRUSTWORTHY. In my High School civics class the vote was our hallowed duty and there was no question that our system was free, fair and honest. It was the backbone of our democracy. The right to vote in democracies all over the world was our assurance of justice and accountability. Where the hell are we now??

  • thomas

    I like your comment, Michael.
    My first thought was shallow and slow; I mean, this thing has already exploded into massive violence and an international credibility problem for the Iranian leadership. The “Florida 2000″ comparison was only cute in the first couple of hours. After which the pattern obviously didn’t hold.

  • mcc

    I guess the main thing that strikes me about this cover is how much it underscores it that there aren’t any images like this coming out of Iran– the questions of fraud never came along with any visible examinations of the ballots. We never even got to see the ballots. We’ve yet to get any evidence there ever were any. The very nature of the fraud precludes anything like this image– the Average Iranian the woman must be meant to signify wasn’t invited into the room where the “recount” would happen, she’s locked outside, in the streets holding signs, unable to inspect or question the ballots and instead forced to inspect or question the entire process.
    It seems like unless the goal here was actually to highlight the contrast between how these things work in the U.S. vs Iran, this cartoon was kind of a misfire that if anything obscures understanding of the situation in Iran. Someone above said the New Yorker covers are meant to “raise some ideas” and make you think. I tend to think the goal is more to be cutesy and eye-catching and whether the image given makes any darn sense is far down the list of priorities…

  • thomas

    Just so. And, additionally, the cutesy affect runs the risk of looking flippant and glib when the current iconic image of the struggle is actually a young woman shot dead in the street. Surely this isn’t Neda inspecting a ballot? Either way, the decision makers at The New Yorker are either too slow-moving or too arch by far to capture the current of current events in Iran.

  • Rima

    I agree with Gasho’s take. When the 200 election was stolen, did we protest? Demonstrate? Riot? No, we let the Supreme Revolutionary Council – I mean, the Supreme Court – anoint a ‘winner.’ Iran is taking democracy more seriously than we have. That’s the contrast embedded in the Iranian woman examining the punch-card.

  • Rima

    That is, the “2000 election.” Sorry.

  • Esoth

    Narcissistic and simplistic. Its a cute parallel, if you overlook the violent repression and the bloodshed.

  • Bill Brock – Chicago

    I would assume that the artist completed the cover before Saturday’s events.

  • Kevin

    I don’t like it; it trivialises what has happened. Bill Brock makes a good point that perhaps the cover was done before Saturday’s events. But even that wouldn’t change my impression. 2000 was a tough, terrible time. But it doesn’t come close to what is happening in Iran. It may feel like it does, but really…it doesn’t.

  • Tena

    Well it’s good question whether or not the way we responded means our system works. It was 8 years of utter hell, but the constitution is idiot-proof – Bush proved that. We didn’t have blood in the streets – we dealt with a bad government. It was not anything like Iran’s government – I mean really. Yeah he stole it, but then the SCOTUS legitimated it – and we reacted just like Americans do.
    And I’m not so sure that it’s such a bad damn thing to ride out something like Bush as opposed to killing each other in the streets – ya know? Their cause is noble, but this is a bloody revolt.

  • DennisQ

    >>This ties the Iranian election (obviously stolen) to our 2000 election (obviously stolen)
    I don’t see what was obviously stolen about the Iranian election. Mousavi was expected to lose, and he did lose.
    I’m waiting for the evidence of fraud. So far there hasn’t been any, beyond the fact of the riots.

  • takeshortview


  • yg

    this is so insulting. to casually compare the two makes a mockery of people dying in the streets. one of the main memes media treated the florida 2000 story was to place the blame on voter “incompetence” while giving short shrift to exposing the tactic of purging qualified, valid voters off the rolls.
    new yorker adds insult to injury by painting a quizzical look on the woman’s face, as if to suggest women lack the facility to be competent voters. way to go, new yorker, mock women being beat up and mowed down in the street for demanding democracy.
    why is it so hard for western media to depict iranians with the dignity and nobility they deserve? time magazine being the only exception i’ve seen so far.

  • Rhodo Zeb

    Two hours to count 40 million votes.
    No evidence, huh?

  • Rhodo Zeb

    Ah, the infamous 200 elections.
    I still haven’t forgiven Zog for those outrageous cave paintings attacking his opponent…
    Its a tough call. Obviously fighting in the streets is generally not a good thing.
    But all in all I disagree with you. We should have done more.

  • FraDon

    Exactly. • And the extremely inflated margin stuck me as a deliberate ’shoe to the face’ of the people – and deliberate incitement to riot. It’s SO insulting, it begins to answer the age-old TyrantTagTeam’s question: “How do we rid ourselves of these thorns in our sides?” Suppression is necessary, but not sufficient; we want them GONE.

  • acm

    I think that in the 30-50 largest cities, turnout was 110%, which certainly makes the entire enterprise rather suspect…

  • acm

    Question: does the artist pick the title? is it possible that this was just supposed to reflect a “reexamination of the ballots” without any reference to American elections? without the title, I would never have thought of the US while looking at it…

  • yg

    another thing, the bald guy with the thick glasses, eyes bulging, during florida 2000, was mugging for the camera. he made a caricature of himself as a way to ridicule and demean the process of checking the ballots.

  • Apple

    Perhaps it is suggestive of US involvement in the Iranian election. Certainly Seymour Hersh has written quite a bit about US (Bush) funding of the Iranian opposition.

  • Gasho

    Tena – There may not have been blood in OUR streets, but that doesn’t mean that plenty of blood wasn’t spilled. War, torture, spying, corruption of the justice department, inept emergency response, environmental damage and on and on.. we didn’t get off scott-free.

  • DennisQ

    The number of cities with a significant overvote keeps growing with each re-telling of the story, as does the overvote itself. I am looking for evidence of fraud, not random speculation. Do you have a source?

  • Russ Nichols

    Actually, to expand on an earlier post about blood in the streets if Iran, our stolen 2000 election resulted in tens of thousands of Iraqis dead, and 5000 plus Americans dead. I tend to doubt if it had NOT been stolen that Al Gore would not have foolishly started the war in Iraq. So our fraudulent election actually did result in blood in the streets. Just not our streets.

  • Russ Nichols

    Correction, blood in the streets in Iran

  • jmac

    If the Supreme Court had given the contest to Gore instead of Bush . . . we might have had an Iranian-type protest.

  • yg

    from the outset, because of their history, demonstrations always carried with it the worry of violent crackdown from the regime.

  • yg

    did hersh mention how iranian NGOs turned down money bush tried to give them? they recognized accepting the money would only invite more problems for them, risking a backlash from the regime.

  • yg

    the right claims acorn stole the election for obama. i didn’t see them out in the street the day after to protest.
    the right has never been able to match the kind of numbers the left has raised to demonstrate for various causes.

  • Apple

    You may read Hersh’s article, Preparing the Battlefield, dated July 7, 2008 in The New Yorker. It is about much more than giving money to Iranian NGOs and that is why I wrote that the illustration above could suggest US involvement in Iran’s election. The CIA has a long history of meddling in other countries’ elections.

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