It’s a nose! It’s a thumb! It’s a dick!

It’s a nose! 👃 It’s a thumb! 👍 It’s a dick! (well, it’s an eggplant 🍆 but we all know what that means)

Solanum melongena  that’s all of these, and more. Because that aubergine is a symbol.

The brinjal in question, posted by Bob Eckstein on Facebook yesterday:

(#1) Bob Eckstein: You have to be looking for it to find it.

And then we were off:

— Kimberly Krautter: It’s like a Rorschach test or one of those “what do you see first” optical illusions. I first saw a thumb and a mitten. Then I saw a face with a big nose.

— AZ: Is it a nose? Is it a thumb? Is it a penis? Is it a handle? It’s all of these, and more [and more will come, below], ’cause it’s a symbol, and symbols can stand for many things.

— Pat Byrnes: splitting wood. [an axe in a log]

— AZ: Now I’m thinking Opus the Penguin. [that is, a beak]

Consider this classic Berkeley Breathed Opus cartoon from 1982:


If it can be a schnozz (a nose or a beak), it can also be a schwanz (a tail or a penis). On the tail possibility, consider this beaver-tail design from the Vexels custom t-shirt company:


Back on FB, there was a move from noses 👃 👃 👃 in general to specific, memorable, noses:

— Kurt Vargo: F#*king Richard Nixon or Jimmy Durante

Both had famous, often caricatured, noses, which I’ll illustrate in a moment.

Other people weighed in for one or the other noseguy, with Nixon taking and holding the lead. But then Durante was last in the public eye about 50 years ago, so Nixon is just more salient for most people on FB (even me, though I remember the hyperactive Durante with some pleasure). From Wikipedia about Durante, for my younger and non-American readers:

James Francis Durante (February 10, 1893 – January 29, 1980) was an American actor, comedian, singer, vaudevillian, and pianist. His distinctive gravelly speech, Lower East Side accent, comic language-butchery, jazz-influenced songs, and prominent nose helped make him one of America’s most familiar and popular personalities of the 1920s through the 1970s. He often referred to his nose as the schnozzola (Italianization of the American Yiddish slang word schnoz [or schnozz], meaning “big nose”), and the word became his nickname.

Two caricatures and their caricaturists. First, Al Hirschfeld’s (1903-2003) affectionate caricature of Jimmy Durante from 1966:


About the artist, known especially as a loving chronicler of the theatre, see my 10/20/13 posting “Al Hirschfeld”.

Then, in an utterly different tonality, RMN:

(#4) Richard Milhous Nixon (1913-1994), 37th President of the United States: caricature by Edmund Valtman, c1970.

On the remarkable story of the artist, from Wikipedia:

Edmund Siegfried Valtman (May 31, 1914 – January 12, 2005) was an Estonian and American editorial cartoonist and winner of the 1962 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning.

Born in Tallinn, Estonia, he sold his first cartoons at age 15 to the children’s magazine Laste Rõõm. He worked as an editorial cartoonist for the newspapers Eesti Sõna and Maa Sõna and studied at the Tallinn Art and Applied Art School. When the USSR reoccupied Estonia in 1944, he and his wife fled the country and spent the next four years in a displaced persons camp in Germany, which was still under the control of Allied occupation forces. They emigrated to the United States in 1949.

Once in the US, Valtman worked for The Hartford Times from 1951 until his 1975 retirement. He was noted for his caricatures of Cold War-era communist leaders like Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev.

One Response to “It’s a nose! It’s a thumb! It’s a dick!”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    Follow-up on Facebook, bringing it all back to food:

    Bob Eckstein: To put a bow on the hot subject of the eggplant 🍆 I posted (thanks Arnold Zwicky and I don’t know how many other blogs wrote about it), let me share now how I prepared it; dipped slices in a mixture of olive oil, black currant wine and lemon thyme. Bar-b-qued until golden brown served with corn on cob (separate recipe) and grilled chicken. The eggplant got two thumbs up from the wife.

    AZ > BE: Sounds wonderful. One of my regular FB readers is a serious eggplant guy, an enthusiast of the virtues of eggplants as food, a demon eggplant shopper, and a devoted cook of eggplant in many many forms (oh, yes, and growing them too). I don’t think he’s tried dipping the slices in a black currant vinaigrette and then grilling them, so your culinary account will pique his interest.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: