February 16, 2006 - February 9, 2006
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
A SCOOP FROM THE XOFF
In Honor of Valentine's Day:
The Carschach Test
Inkblot #1: Is this the one that turns you on?
. For generations now, the psychology profession has used
inkblots to tap the subconscious minds of human beings. It only took 50
years or so of data collection and tabulation to discover that whenever
you show someone an inkblot, he always
associates it with sex. To Dr. Gerhard Carschach, this phenomenon
suggested that it's time -- for doctors and patients both -- to stop
pretending that inkblots are houses or insects or cats on the
mantlepiece. This just wastes time and muddies the waters. That's why
he has developed a new set of eight blots that he regards as complete
and sufficient for all psyches.
"Now that we know we're all of us always
looking for sex in abstract images," Dr. Carschach explained in a
recent interview, "we can ask a question much simpler than 'What does
this make you think of?' We can ask, rather, which one of these blots
turns you on the most? Sexually, I mean."
InstaPunk readers can experience the absolute insights of the new
inkblots for themselves. The procedure is simple. Study all the blots
on this page, including the one above, and after careful review and
comparison, select the ONE that seems to you the most sexually
suggestive and appealing. Then click on THAT inkblot for a detailed
analysis of your sexual persona. But please don't be hasty. The results
are correct 99.9 percent of the time, and the psychological damage can
be immense and permanent if you inadvertently become one of the 0.01
percent of those who choose too quickly.
That small warning given, have at it and enjoy your voyage of personal
Monday, February 13, 2006
Cartoon Contest Results
. On Groundhog Day, we started the ball rolling:
(W)e're sponsoring a little contest.
Above you'll find the inoffensive image from the original [Tom Toles]
cartoon stripped of its names, labels, and words. We invite you to fill
them in however you think appropriate. You can copy the image and
Photoshop it yourself, or you can email InstaPunk with the text content
you want.... We will choose a winner sometime next week... After we've
published the worst you can do, we will fail to apologize for any
offense taken by your targets. How's that for a prize?
It's taken us longer than anticipated to collate and consider what
turned out to be a big pile of entries. Our apologies for that, but not
for anything that follows. Yes, we know that some of you were offended
by the mere fact of the contest; for example, here are the thoughts of
I found the WaPo cartoon beyond vile. I
believe your little
contest is no better, although I'm ashamed that it's coming from my
side of the blogosphere.
Several of the contest entrants also identified the original blank
version we created as the only variation from the original they could
stomach submitting. We understand their sensibilities, but there is
value in carrying out a live attempt to turn a sow's ear into a silk
purse. While many of the entries are clever, none succeeds in rising
above the repugnant image to become truly funny. In short, the
collected entries prove that regardless of Toles's attempt to depict
the original as a harmless conceptual construct, his drawing is
truly offensive. His error is very much like that of writers and
filmmakers who insist on using the F-Word in their work to achieve
verisimilitude. The effect of that word in print and on film far
outweighs its effect in casual conversation. Toles conceived an idea
that was abstract in its imagined form, but far too real and resonant
in its emotional impact. His cartoon and all the reworkings of it we
in bad taste.
Focusing on one exceptionally clumsy example reminded us that Toles and
other political cartoonists are especially susceptible to this kind of
misstep. There is a wide gulf between political cartoons and New Yorker
cartoons -- i.e., cartoons that are honestly meant to be funny.
Political cartoons are self-conscious allegories rather than slices of
life, and their images are almost exclusively symbolic. They do not
refer to authentic human experience except by (usually unfortunate)
accident. They are at best witty, and at worst a deadly expose of the
artist's own pretensions. We are forced to the conclusion that
political cartoonists make up the bush league of both the art and humor
Most of our entrants understood this and acknowledged, explicitly or
implicitly, the impossibility of extracting real humor from the Toles
drawing . A few did not. Despite our admonitions, quite a few lefties
offered submissions that retained the identity of the patient as the
U.S. Army or a soldier in that army. A couple of thoughtless righties
did the same. We were surprised by all instances of this.
We are getting to the winners, but just a few more observations first.
We offered entrants the opportunity to submit text rather than
filled-in cartoons, but this resulted in almost nothing usable.
Particularly with regard to lefties, the text versions turned into
sentences and even paragraphs of lecturing rhetoric. These are never
funny, and they are almost always directly counter-productive to their
authors' purpose. You can see many examples of such leaden non-starters
in the Comments section of the Contest
, where it should be obvious that as a group the
lefties have no emotional connection of any kind to the troops they
affect to save through surrender and appeasement. They don't see the
soldier in the bed as anything but a chess piece in their attack on
Bush. Are you listening, Tom Toles and WAPO editors? Of course not.
Now for our (dis)honorees. We selected this one because the submitter
went to the trouble of revising the drawing on his own, and it does
succeed in tapping into a culturally shared image that's less real and
repellent than the original.
Our Third Place winner represents the
best attempt we received tying the Toles controversy to the Muhammed
. Inexcusably -- and therefore
dares to depict Muhammed himself.
Next comes the cartoon that first
occurred to us, and we freely concede we didn't have the nerve to work
it up ourselves. But we do have the gumption to publish it.
The entries as a whole did fall
naturally into a number of categories. The most popular targets were
Democrats and liberal ideology, the mainstream media, Islamists and
their apologists, and predictably, the most deserving target of all.
Here is the best of that last category.
You can also see a larger percentage of the total entries, broken out
by category, on a separate page here
. If you
choose to go there and
look, don't bother telling us how offended you are. You looked.
There. We did what we promised, and also as promised, we have no prizes
to give other than continuing anonymity for our contributors and a
stubborn refusal to apologize for this object lesson. Thanks to all who
Thursday, February 09, 2006
Yeah, it's authentic. From Germany
Is there any remaining hope for the survival of western civilization against the barbarian hordes?