Leave it to The New Yorker

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Not that I am such a rabid reader of The New Yorker magazine, but in the past several weeks their cartoonists have outdone themselves in relevance to AMHF.

At this writing, the “Wizard of Oz” group-session caption has not been selected. It ought to be final by Labor Day. But the August 25 and September 1 issues again play–literally–on the theme of analysis.

One drawing, by Charles Barsotti (Aug. 25, p. 78), depicts a Freud-like analyst on the right, taking notes with his left hand, while a righthanded baseball player, in full uniform, including glove, is on the couch. “My life is a powerful blast to center field easily snagged on the warning track.”

The September 1 cartoon is on page 126, and is by Robert Mankoff. In a shuttered room (which might have been Dr. de Schill’s home office), the analyst sits cross-legged on a large easy chair. Like his Freudian confrere of the previous cartoon, the psychiatrist wears thick glasses, which likewise hide the details of his eyes, He sits beneath a framed diploma, with a large lamp, so that he is flanked by the patient on the couch, and the leamp and end table. “But if you cure my hypochondria I won’t have hobbies.”

Games. Play. And psychoanalysis. What is their relation? The priest-poet Gerard Manley Hopkins describes the mind as a great cliff. Sheer. A place from which the sane could fall at any moment. But there is that playful side, too. These cartoons, as well as TV shows such as “The Sopranos” and “Psych,” indicate our self-fascination. They illustrate how quickly and totally emotions can shift, without warning. How there is the comical side to the severe Hopkins poetic world.

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