The lonely, dull life of the caricaturist

Photo: Hannibal Poenaru

Have you met the caricaturist? You’ve probably met more than a few, and you might have even, like me, played the part at some point. He’s the one who views most everything around him, including himself, as a caricature. The caricaturist comes from every political stripe, every age, every profession, greatly exaggerating good and bad attributes (as he sees them) for his own purposes.

The caricaturist almost exclusively shares one part of herself with the world: dogmatic, boorish, rude. Why is that? Surely there is more to her character than nastiness? Why doesn’t she share it?

The answer might be because caricature is how she reacts to the world, so that is all she is capable of sharing. “If I think XYZ person, place, or thing is bad, then I will make sure to be the opposite of XYZ,” soon becoming a shallow, grotesque caricature.

Little learning, sharing, vulnerability, understanding, compromise, enlightenment.

If who or what the caricaturist sees is “bad” in his view, then nearly everything the “bad” person says or does is twisted and squeezed into “evil.” And the evil person or thing can only say evil things, have evil motives and do evil deeds. Same goes if the person or thing he sees is “good.” All virtues and strong points of that person or thing are magnified so intensely they wash out any possible defects.

What a dull way to see the world. No complexity, no nuance, no color, no subtlety. Just black and white. Good or bad. Scan left, scan right, good person, bad person, good thing, bad thing, good, bad, good, bad.

The caricaturist works quickly, efficiently categorizing people and things. Good, bad, good, bad. Can’t question, can’t discover, can’t interact in any meaningful way, because then the caricaturist might have to rethink, backtrack, adjust, apologize, stretch, change. And that’s not OK, because she’s secure in her insecurity.

Seeing others as caricatures, treating them as caricatures, being treated as a caricature in return, fully justified in the caricaturist’s worldview.  What a lonely world. Caricaturists are incredibly predictable, incredibly boring, and often alone.

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  • isaac

    Yes caricaturists are boring and predictable. Totally unlike political conservatives.

    • sutherlanddaily

      We agree. It’s a disease we all can be afflicted with.

  • @MajorMojo

    I see that Isaac is impervious to irony and plays right into the post.  Well played Isaac! 

    There is a reason that most of Obamas, and the liberals in general, discourse has been centered around labels and catch phrases. The overall strategy being to otherize conservatives to the point that liberals and even some right of center moderates to have a visceral and knee-jerk reaction to any idea that conservatives come up with.  They have been programmed through labels like, tea party, racist or wealthy to believe that conservative are nonhuman  evil and most importantly unintelligent machines whose only purpose is to crawl to wealth on the backs of the poor.   

    People who give a great deal of concern to what other people think of them will give great weight to these labels without doing any research on their own on the veracity of the labels. Quite frankly they care more about what people believe then what is actually true. They care more about not being otherized then they do about being right.  Truth is a moving target for these folks and that has a lot to due with that underlying insecurity that leads to this behavior.

    It’s how we get otherwise rational and intelligent people arguing that our deficit is due to Bush’s tax cuts and wars while ignoring that we have been running 1 trillion dollar deficits for 3 years straight while not even passing a budget.  These are educated people who likely operate from a personal budget and likely understand it’s relationship to controlling personal spending.  Those same people will ague that the same debt ceiling lift was irresponsible in 2006 and the exact opposite now in 2013. 

    There is a knee-jerk reactionary response to every idea or thought that comes from a conservative to the point that many of the same things that people loved about Obama in 2008 (like fiscal responsibility) are now code words for racism or “something a typical rich white person would say” today. It’s same reason that people would argue that the Bush tax cuts were only for the wealthy in 2000 but then argue to keep a majority of the Bush tax cuts because they are for the middle class.  There is a complete disconnect from reality but not the narrative or the perceived reality.

    BTW I do blame Bush for much of the fiscal mess we are in.  He meekly tried to address congress to head off the mortgage crisis when he should have sacked up and made it a top priority.  He bloated government and helped to grow the size of the fed considerably.  He was a fiscal train wreak of a president.

    Obama has basically tripled down on the fiscal stupidity of the Bush era and convinced his base that he has taken us on a new course by getting people to react to these labels and their desire to be on the inside looking out instead of being the other. 

  • Zenswell

    Talk about projection…..

    Quite to the contrary, the  caricaturist sees all of things you claim they miss.  Subtlety, nuance, complexity and color are all necessary elements of  humor.  Defensive reactions and projection on the other hand, are elements of the narrow minded. 

  • Ms_Glizz

     Personally, I love our own Pat Bagley!