The Newsweek cover works for me as satire, and I’ll explain in terms of syntax or form. By syntax, I mean a claim is equally valid in the active or passive voice. By form, I mean (for example) that jazz musicians call the chord changes to I Got Rhythm “rhythm changes” and (for example) most of the Charlie Parker tunes I know off the top of my head are launching pads to improvise over “rhythm changes” being a 32-bar AABA form.
All of us can instantly parse a single-frame editorial cartoon that shows a bad person behaving badly. My analogy here is to the active voice, to show (for example) a greedy narcissistic Wall Street person gaming the system for personal gain but a net loss to society. That syntax or form says, “This person is behaving badly.”
But there’s another syntax or form that some people have trouble parsing, like (for example) The New Yorker Obama fist bump cover (with the US flag burning in the fireplace). The object of the satire is the bullshit I heard on the radio and read online in Obama’s first Presidential election that Obama is a Muslim (delivered with the implicit understanding that Muslims are anti-American). In this syntax or form, the satire mocks anybody who would think the things shown in the cartoons. In a cartoon with this this syntax or form, really:
• The Obamas are NOT Islamist militants.
• Christiane Taubira is NOT a monkey.
• Boko Haram’s rape victims are NOT demanding welfare money.
• Women in Silicon Valley are NOT faceless.
I respect Anne @6/8 for italicizing a preference for cartoons to show the subject of satire directly, like a preference to use the active voice over passive voice. The Newsweek cover says, “Women are disrespected by Silicon Valley”, and someone could wish for the same claim in the active voice, “Silicon Valley disrespects women”. I respect Anne @6/8 for italicizing a preference that stops short of saying one syntax or form is invalid or unethical, which some commenters seem to say here.