Friday, 05 June 2009

Photo reference at the National Review Liberals think the cover of the new National Review is racist, but as Rich Lowry explains, they’re simply oversensitive and humorless: You gotta move fast when you’re competing with your fellow hair-trigger PC cops on the left! I take it the theory is that we don’t think Latinas can be wise so we had to make her look somewhat Asian. Or something like that. What these people don’t understand is the entire concept of caricature (or of a joke). Caricature always involves exaggerating someone’s distinctive features, which is all that our artist Roman Genn did with Sotomayor. He even includes what is, presumably, one of the reference photos Genn used. When someone else points out that it’s odd that they depicted her as Asian, Lowry shot back: An outraged Huffington Post says we “perplexingly” depict Sotomayor in an Asian manner—apparently not entirely getting the Buddha reference, or Buddha’s association with wisdom. Can they really be this clueless? The painting in the Google link is, I think we can say with certainty, the one Genn referenced for his cover. (Compare everything from the neck down.) In visual terms, then, Lowry’s argument is thus: Keeping in mind that “[c]aricature always involves exaggerating someone’s distinctive features, which is all that our artist Roman Genn did with Sotomayor,” I think it’s obvious that the National Review didn’t insult Sotomayor. They merely exaggerated her distinctively slanted eyes—wait, can we compare the photo references for the cover again, only this time zoomed in on the eyes? As I suspected, the “someone” whose features are being “exaggerated” on the cover is neither Sotomayor nor Buddha, but the man so grand they named a peril after him: Wait—can I get another one of those closeups? That’s not an exaggeration of the racist depiction of Asians like Yellow Claw, that’s a racist depiction of Asians. The logic—such that it is—of the National Review editorial board seems to be that since everyone knows Asians are better than Latinos, no one can call them racist if they compare Sotomayor to an Asian. That argument—such that it is—could’ve made more forcefully if they made it without validating the charge against them. (“They think we hate the wetbacks! How can we prove otherwise?” “Compare them to the chinks!” “Brilliant!”) (x-posted.)

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