Hello, here’s this week’s New Yorker cover:
An extension of pound-gate (please don’t call it a fist-bump), secretly-muslim-gate, Osama-Obama-ethnic-names-all-sound-alike-gate, and patriotism-gate, all boiled into one illustration. Tasteless? Cowardly? Sure, maybe. I see what Barry Blitt was trying to do with “The Politics of Fear” — take a swipe at the outrageous smears and apprehensions carried by those who oppose the presidential hopeful. I don’t want to argue over how appropriate or inappropriate his attempt is. That was yesterday.
What I want to talk about is Michelle Obama’s hair. Everything else in the illustration — the garb, the burning flag, the bin Laden portrait over the mantle — have their root in some public scandal or Fox News special. But unless Bill O’Reilly started a rumor somewhere about her wearing a wig (made from the threads of Rachel Ray’s kaffiyah), I haven’t heard a thing in mainstream media about her hair.
Is this the appropriate way to wear one’s hair while carrying an AK? Is this terrorist hair, befitting a terrorist wife? Is this really scary? Is this really 2008? Blitt made a decision at some point that the straightened, Jackie O bob was not interesting enough for his illustration, and that it didn’t fit his message. I wonder if there’s an early draft somewhere of her wearing a hijab.