Avoid the folly of stereotyping

Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, July 20, 2004

As a liberal, I am offended by the portrayal of liberal democrats in the July 14th political cartoon by Brian Fairrington. The cartoon is "volatile, inappropriate, and distasteful." Cartoonists who produce such material as this are nothing more than "disrespectful bummers." Perhaps the editorial staff of the Juneau Empire should establish a policy that filters such "vulgar" material from its pages.

Now I suppose that some of your readers might argue that this would be a squelching of First Amendment rights. Well, in that case, let me say this: The cartoon stereotypes liberals in a way that is humorous, but does not fairly represent liberals in general. I could use myself as a case in point: I am a female; don't believe in nuking anyone or even joking about it; never wore a ponytail; had a brief fling in my early twenties with Kahlua but never tried acid; never watch Fox News or listen to NPR (I'm a Lehrer NewsHour-Nightline-NBC junkie); chose to have children but never hugged a tree (although it does have a certain appeal); am worried about the deficit to the point that I wonder if the nation can afford tax cuts (especially if they unfairly benefit the wealthy); read Bob Woodward's book and came away feeling somewhat sorry for the current leadership in D.C.; have a slightly bulbous nose that droops but can't afford to get it fixed; never kissed any feet but did find some fault with Michael Moore's film (recommend it anyway); think Clinton has a brain but still not sure about character; and thanks to being somewhat educated, know how little I really know.

Of course, I am only one liberal and can't claim to represent the others. It is possible that I am a mutant in a pack of clones. Yes, I do appreciate Fairrington's lesson on the folly of stereotyping and the difference between a Fourth of July Parade and the Op-Ed page of a newspaper. But be very wary of dampening the expression of free speech. Readers might want to check out caglecartoons.com, the source of Fairrington's cartoon, read an essay by Michael Reagan, Dick Morris, and Howard Dean, M.D., and then step back and reflect.

Judy Andree


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