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Controversial New Yorker Cover

July 21, 2008, "The New Yorker"

Satire is defined as wit, irony, or sarcasm used to expose and discredit vice or folly. That was the goal of cartoonist Barry Blitt in his cartoon on the cover of the July 21, 2008, issue of "The New Yorker." He portrayed Michelle Obama with an Afro and an AK 47 machine gun and and Barack Obama in a turban doing the fist bump.

While the cartoon is meant to make of fun of the scare tactics and misinformation being lobbed at Obama, it, at the same time, reinforces negative stereotypes about both Muslims and natural hair.

"Does afro=angry militant?" asks CurlTalker Frau. "I wear an afro sometimes."

Other women, including those with natural hair, liked the cartoon and what it stands for.

"My initial reaction was 'that's wrong and inappropriate,'" says CurlTalker Webjockey. "Then I looked at his other work. He just likes to show the absurdities of opinions. I can dig that."

We're all for exposing the stupidity of fear mongering. Playing on people's stereotypes and insecurities is not a positive trend for a democracy.

But many readers may miss that point.

"I like it very much but I wish it wasn't on the cover," says CurlTalker Frau. "There are many people who won't read the article or understand it as satire as they're walking quickly by newsstands. I can imagine that picture being a catalyst for imprinting negative views about the Obamas."

NaturallyCurly appreciates Blitt's attempt at satire, but we fear the image will be used as fodder for close-minded individuals who don't understand the cartoon's true purpose. We are also disappointed that Blitt lumps curly hair in with assault rifles and flag-burning.

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