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NYT: Cartoon Empathy

Remember the cartoon (quicktime, windows media player) where the Smurfs were carpet bombed during a Unicef commercial in Belgium to draw attention to the plight of children in the Sudan and Congo? The New York Times has a brief story on why they used cartoons in that commercial (not to mention its affect on fund raising).

Adeyinka Akinsulure-Smith, a psychologist at the Bellevue/New York University Program for Survivors of Torture, agrees that it makes sense to reframe the constant stream of images of suffering from Africa: “The more horrible the thing you’re trying to raise awareness for, the harder it is for people to wrap their minds around it. We run up against that in America all the time. Maybe if we showed this stuff happening to Charlie Brown and Lucy and the gang, we’d break through.”

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