Satirizing Ahmadinejad: The New Yorker Picks Up Where SNL Left Off

The satirists are get­ting a lot mileage out of Mah­moud Ahmadine­jad’s dec­la­ra­tion that Iran is gay-free. Last week, Sat­ur­day Night Live spoofed Ahmadine­jad, as we not­ed. Then, The New York­er par­o­died Ahmadine­jad on the mag­a­zine’s cov­er with one of its famed car­toons. (The image includ­ed a not-so-oblique ref­er­ence to Lar­ry Craig, the con­ser­v­a­tive US Sen­a­tor who recent­ly got caught up in some mens’ room high jinks. Unfa­mil­iar read­ers can get the scoop on Craig here.) Of all the inane com­ments Ahmadine­jad has made, and there are many, it’s inter­est­ing that the satirists have cho­sen to focus on this one. Deny­ing the exis­tence of gays in Iran is no more empir­i­cal­ly absurd than deny­ing the Holo­caust. So why the empha­sis on the sex­u­al­i­ty com­ment? Because Ahmadine­jad has been play­ing the anti-semi­tism card for some time, but the homo­pho­bia card is rel­a­tive­ly new, hence mak­ing it wor­thy of atten­tion? Or is it because sex­u­al­i­ty offers an always con­ve­nient way to take a polit­i­cal ene­my down a peg? Or since there’s no good way to sat­i­rize a geno­cide, per­haps sex­u­al­i­ty becomes a good default. Ok, I’m stumped. Note to self: think twice next time before over-ana­lyz­ing jokes. Speak­ing of jokes, make you check out the footage we post­ed of Woody Allen doing standup in 1965.


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