Are necessary components of satire that (a) someone's feeling's must be hurt by the joke (usually the target of the joke itself); and/or (b) that a large segment of the intended target of the joke doesn't get the joke or doesn't think it's funny?
It seems to me that if neither of the above two aspects are present, we're probably not talking about satire anymore. If satire is harmless and safe, it becomes something else altogether, I'd say. If you remove all of the interesting/harmful elements of a joke, it becomes the equvalent of hospital food; where it's too bland and overcooked in an effort to satisfy the palettes of the lowest common denominator.
Was the sitcom "All in the Family" an example of failed satire, since Archie Bunker became such an icon and role model for a huge segment of the American viewing audience?
Finally, the fact that a large percentage of Worldnet.com's readership failed to understand the intent of the New Yorker magazine cover cartoon doesn't tell me anything, really. The real intended effects of the magazine cover may not be realized for months, or even years.
ps--It REALLY depresses me to think about how much publicity this one magazine cover is getting compared to the FISA vote last week. That aspect right there is a clear indication of just how far this county's priorities have gone out of whack.
pps--I've read enough posts and comments from the regulars here that I feel like I can predict how they will react on any given topic. This New Yorker cover controversy has blown all that out of the water, though. I've been quite surprised by several people's reactions so far. Very interesting, indeed!