Their mortal anxieties captured in a picture

In a Psychiatrist cartoon by Oren Bernstein in the New Yorker of 6/12/23:

(#1) The patient flopped on the therapeutic couch is a despondent octopus [6/14: oh dear, apparently a squid rather than an octopus; later on 6/14: not exactly a squid either (see comments) — so an OSB cephalopod, of a previously unreported species]; the analyst has presented the cephalopod with  a Rorschach inkblot (designed as a projective psychological test), which has aroused the patient’s deepest fears, of fleeing the pursuit of death

I know, you don’t see the savagery of an attacking shark, but then you’re not an octopus [or squid].

A parallel. We have seen a parallel evocation of a cartoon invertebrate patient’s mortal anxieties on this blog, in my 10/24/22 posting “Bug on the couch”:

(#2) The patient is a mosquito, freaked out — and angered — by a Rorschach blot they see as a postmortem photo of a mosquitocidal windshield splat

The cartoonist is new to this blog, and not long on the New Yorker‘s roster (his first cartoon there was in 2020). Cartooning is a sideline, as I learned from the Grupp Works site on its R&D team:

Oren [Bernstein] is an accomplished mechanical engineering designer. He has developed multiple successful medical devices. He’s also makes many people laugh with his talent as a cartoonist.

Cartooning is gig work. You have to work hard to sell your stuff, and you’ve probably got to do all sorts of other things to make a living out of it. Or find a way to make a sideline out of it.

4 Responses to “Their mortal anxieties captured in a picture”

  1. Steven Messamer Says:

    I believe that’s a squid.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      I believe you are right. I am a cephalopod dunce.

    • J B Levin Says:

      I am also not especially knowledgeable about these animals, but my understanding is that squids have ten tentacles; this one has eight that I can see. Perhaps the body is more squid-like than octopus-like, though.

      • arnold zwicky Says:

        Complexities. As it turns out, squids have 8 arms, plus two tentacles. (Octopuses just have the 8 arms.) The creature in the cartoon has the characteristic elongated head of a squid, but no visible tentacles on its head. So I suppose it’s an Oren Bernstein cephalopod, of a previously unreported species.

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