” Even the interpretation and use of words involves a process of free creation.”
– Noam Chomsky
I have lived in New York City for years now and I am still not sure whether reading The New Yorker makes me a snob, an egg head douche, an old fart, someone keenly interested in good, albeit somewhat snotty, writing by east coast blue bloods ivy league twats or just someone who wants to have a look at what is going on in the area. But one thing I DO know is that the cartoons they scatter throughout the mag are sometimes odd, sometimes interesting and sometimes so wildly esoteric that if you admit you don’t understand it, you feel dumb and if you admit you do understand it you are more than likely lying.
For years, I found the cartoons just plain silly, but over the past few years, for whatever reason, I have begun to understand them. I think. At the very least I have been able to apply some semblance of my life view to them which has allowed me to enjoy them a little more. When all is said and done though, I think the cartoons represent, what I can only presume, is The New Yorker’s demographic. Which from what I can tell is somewhat educated (both traditional and non-traditionally educated), white, middle class and above, left leaning folks.
I selected a few cartoons from this weeks issue (April 8, 2013) and provide a couple of different interpretations.
LOVE, Part 1
Interpretation #1 – Marriage and relationships are hard, regardless of gender preference. So anytime you through two people together in close quarters they are bound to fight and sometimes the distance manifests itself in the boudoir. My guess is the illustrator was trying to show that it has been 97 days since the last intimate contact took place in that bedroom.
Interpretation #2 – A less likely interpretation would be that the illustrator was making a statement about a serial sex offender in recovery. This interpretation carries less weight as it seems anathema to the New Yorker’s high brow humor approach.
LOVE, Part 2
Interpretation #1 –The illustrator, without showing the contents of the plate, is indicating that all the food has flooded into each other, making a statement about gentrification by stripping each food of its plate independence. The joke being that the woman hopes she doesn’t loose her independence while being in this relationship.
Interpretation #2 –The couple is dinning at a cannibal themed restaurant.
THE CAPTION: “The hotel is full, but I’ll see if I can work out a spooning arrangement for you.”
Interpretation #1 –In an effort to cut costs, big hotel chains are now randomly pairing up people to accommodate more travelers. As the “spooning” comment indicates, all the rooms with two double beds must be full leaving just the rooms with king size beds. Rather than turn the road weary traveler away, and loose the revenue, he offers the new “spoon” package.
Interpretation #2 –The hotel clerk has placed secret cameras in one room and is in the process of filming an adult orientated “spoon” fetish series for Cinemax.
Capitalism, Part 1
THE CAPTION: “It may be the rood of all evil, but it’s also the root of all this.”
Interpretation #1 – A wealthy, guilt ridden, left leaning corporate 1%’er tries to rationalize his accomplishments to his cube dwelling 99%’er college buddy.
Interpretation #2 –The guy is just a dick.
Capitalism, Part 2
THE CAPTION: “This is Abramson, our new pinata.”
Interpretation #1 – Abramson is the new corporate HR executive or PR executive, either way, his future looks grim.
Interpretation #2 – Abramson is the token new state university recruit at the all virtually all ivy league Goldman Sachs, in which case he may, in fact, literally end up a pinata.
THE CAPTION: “It’s either conjunctivitis or twin pools of desire .”
Interpretation #1 –A favorite source of humor for The New Yorker, doctors. This is an attempt at trying to find the lighter side of medical practitioners. Clearly, the doctor knows what it is.
Interpretation #2 –The doctor is making a pass at the patient.
THE CAPTION: “Nobody asked me about my process.”
Interpretation #1 –Millennials are often keen to extol what they do and how they got there in order to receive as many accolades as possible. Completely oblivious to the fact that no one may even care.
Interpretation #2 –Actually, I am pretty sure that is whats happening here, the only thing missing are the tattoos.
THE CAPTION: The Noogie Kings
Interpretation #1 –The offspring of the original Noogie Patrol.
Interpretation #2 – What became of Curtis Sliwa and the Guardian Angels.
Interpretation #1 –A guarded, yet clever, approach to the undercurrent of racism that permeates New York, and most communities across the country. The two fish represent the ruling white class while the cat in the fishbowl represents every non-white. A bold statement New Yorker, well played…well played.
Interpretation #2 –The fish represent every non-white culture and the cat represents the pending gentrification of their communities.
Interpretation #1 – Bullying is the premise here. You’ll notice there is only one seat available for the bear to fish through the sun roof and with the neighborhood bear bully on his way over, either the other bear is coming over to rob him of his catch and/or chase him away from his fishing spot. Either way, it looks like the sitting bear is going to have his paws full.
Interpretation #2 – A sublime statement about global warming because bears are usually hibernating during winter, so the image infers, despite the snow, that it may not be winter. As the bears are ice fishing, this is presumably a pointed remark about climate change.