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Posted at 11:10 AM ET, 01/31/2010

READER PUZZLE: Why is a nude Obama ogling an iPad?

Perhaps it's because I don't speak Romanian. Or Aramaic. Or Sssnake.

Whatever the reason, I confess: I absolutely do not get this cartoon by
Romanian cartoonist Pavel Constantin. And I make a professional living out of "getting" cartoons -- even the wildly miscalculating ones.

The Constantin cartoon quite obviously combines two of the bigger news stories of last week -- in that, the artist had a wealth of journalistic company. Indeed, there was plenty of temptation to be found in the creatively fruitful merging of President Obama's State of the Union address and Apple commander-in-chief Steve Jobs's State of the iPad address. And setting the exploits of Apple in the Garden of Eden is far from a fresh metaphorical tactic.

But this? Comic Riffs is the dim dummy here, so please help us translate.

Let's see: Obama, as "Adam," is being tempted into partaking of the forbidden fruit that is the Apple (iPad). But then who is the Serpent supposed to be: Steve Jobs? Technology? Corporate America -- which might make tenuous sense if Obama had supported the Supreme Court's recent relevant decision in his SOTU. (Never mind, by the way, that the figures are fig-leafed apparently prior to the First Shame; artistically, it's either that or the more common Strategic Placement Behind the Topiary.)

Or, if we don't know who the Hades the Serpent is, then at least: Who's "Eve" in this little scenario. (Clearly not the first lady.) Who is the technological "temptress" in Constantin's garden of good and Apple. (At least it's mildly amusing that she appears to be checking Obama out, haha.)

We can hear some of you say: You're trying too hard, looking too deeply -- it's just a simple cartoon. Fine. But then help me with this, before I cast out this cartoon forever: What does it mean on the most elemental of cartoon-metaphor levels? Bottom line: What is the cartoon trying to say? Because I ain't exactly bustin' a rib with laughter over here.

Now, if the object of Obama's techno-fruited temptation were a BlackBerry, I wouldn't be in this paradise lost and stymied. But Apple? If you can, 'Riffs reader, please help heal the mentally lame. Namely, me. And when you do: Thanks for helping me look upon this cartoon and see that it was good.

Pavel Constantin / Romania /

By  |  11:10 AM ET, 01/31/2010

Categories:  The Political Cartoon | Tags:  Apple iPad, Barack Obama, Pavel Constantin

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