This is the kind of condescending bullshit that does actually encourage us to agree with the idiots who think the covers are a problem because everyone else in America won't get them. The rightness of our position--that if people refuse to understand obvious satire because they don't trust anyone else to understand obvious satire then we might as well all pack it up and go home because there's no intelligent way to contribute to the National Conversation anymore, at all—is demonstrated by how different the blog posts and comments are on Gawker, as compared with Racialicious, Daily Kos, Jezebel and the Huffington Post, among others. No offense to those sites (well, no offense to Racialicious and Jezebel), but yes, we have a different position, which is that there is somewhere out there still a nation of adults. Adults who understand how irony, absurdity, and, yes, context work.
. . .
If the image is offensive, it's because the smears and whispers the image illustrates are offensive, and that is the point of illustrating all of them at one--both to call attention to these "dark imaginings," in Remnick's nice little phrase, and, by exaggerating them, to defang them, slightly. And the commentariat's outright refusal to get it is disingenuous and utterly unsurprising.
Pareene is correct.
We're a nation of coddled turds.