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Dawn of the Chimpanzee! Controverisal? Thought-Provoking? Brilliant?

By August 20, 2009

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Eli Valley is a cartoonist for The Forward whose work has included everything from comics about Jewish superhero cliches to strips that portray Evangelical Zionists as bloodthirsty lunatics. But his most recent comic strip critiquing aspects of Jewish culture in the United States and comparing Middle Eastern people to chimpanzees is so controversial that The Forward refused to print it.

Called "Dawn of the Chimpanzee!," the comic strip begins with two monkey heads that state: "Relax folks! We're just a metaphor!" and "Besides chimpanzees are fuzzy wuzzy cute!" Some have taken offense at the illustration, while others have called it thought provoking and brilliant. Haaretz responded to it by saying, "We may disagree with the cartoon's sentiment, but we cannot accuse it of ignorance."

You can see the comic strip at Gawker by clicking here. (Click on the image at the bottom of Gawker's post to enlarge it and read the text.) I'd love to hear your thoughts about the cartoon. What is your reaction to it?

August 24, 2009 at 5:22 pm
(1) Stephanie says:

I have to admit that I was unable to read the entire thing because the print was too fuzzy despite the fact that I was wearing my strongest glasses and used a magnifier. However, I read enough to see how dumb it was. The fact that young people cannot understand why they should support their supposed homeland half way across the world would make sense if, in fact, the inhabitants of that other country looked as if they were a completely different species. I was not aware that Israeli Jews look that different from American Jews. And to think this happened in just a few generations. What nonsense!

August 24, 2009 at 8:26 pm
(2) ariezra says:

There is nothing new here and the supposed metaphor is too transparent to be thought provoking. EV claims this is a satire of the American Jewish education systems idolization of Zionist ideology. There is certainly plenty of room for satire in this genre. My criticism is that the execution falls flat because the author proports to be the “adult” self-righteously pointing out the idiocy of his targets. Satire works much better if the targets are shown being themselves.
I had no problem reading it. Simply scroll to the bottom and click on the comic to enlarge.

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