Liana Finck- The New Yorker Cartoonist tapping into the Human Psyche.
Liana Finck is a cartoonist and illustrator that regularly contributes to the New Yorker and is the author of a graphic memoir called "Passing for Human" and book "Excuse Me: Cartoons, Complaints, and Notes to Self".
The New Yorker cartoons are supposed to critique modern day upper class life and have been doing so since the magazines publication in 1925. The New Yorker Cartoonist, Liana Finck, goes one step further and dissects the inner workings of the minds of modern day humans. In other words, it is like she can read my mind. Below I will analyse and comment on the cartoons that most resonated with me.
This first illustration represents how easy it is for people to break their boundaries in the modern age of quick responses. They might be asked by a friend or a family member to do a favour or attend an event and they will know all the reasons they want to say no but will still feel obligated to say yes. For me, this drawing represents the amount of time it takes for a person to respond and it usually is a matter of seconds. I believe that taking your time and thinking about your response to a request is something we don't really practice. We're expected by people to answer quickly and not take our time with responses. I believe that taking your time when responding to requests or favours is the best way to make sure you're not breaking your boundaries or saying yes when you really mean to say no.
When I look at this illustration I think of the effects of social anxiety. The constant cycle of being apprehensive of people then opening up and closing yourself off again when people overwhelm you or offend you. I believe the way to overcome fear of people is to manage expectations. Not everyone you meet will end up hurting you but not everybody you open yourself up to will be accepting. Managing expectations of people is part of socialising and building relationships. I believe people will not always meet our expectations but we have to give them opportunities to try and not close ourselves off.
This illustration is a reminder of the lost art of conversation. I believe we have lost that art of conversation not because of technology but because of our change in attitudes and values. We are told to put ourselves first which is essential but our relationships suffer when we are only thinking about our own needs. There is endless written material and video content as to how to best communicate your needs to others but oddly not enough on listening. Listening involves focusing on the words of the speaker and not thinking about formulating a response. It is difficult to not always have a rebuttal for someone you are talking to or to try to re-focus the conversation on yourself especially when you have so much to share. This illustration is also a reminder of how it feels when we are not heard or listened and the person we are speaking with is just trying to get through their agenda.
This illustration perfectly encapsulates the term 'communication issues' that many couples may suffer from. The idea that the love your partner has for you will inherently change their values, ideas and ambitions is wrong, in my opinion. It is important to remember that we can't change anyone no matter how much they feel for us. We can be positive influences, introduce them to new ideas and ways of thinking but we can't change their deep rooted personalities. I think the tug of war is an interesting representation, if you're in a tug of war and pulling as hard as you can and your opponent drops the rope then you're the one who falls flat on your face. It is a hard lesson to learn in love but you can not change someone simply by loving them enough.
What we owe to each other is a philosophical question that has been debated over centuries. Many offer the answer of selflessness but how do you give enough of yourself without being taken advantage of. The other side of this is what we expect out of the relationships we form with other people. There is a tricky line we walk with our relationships to be able to give people what they need from us but to also receive everything we need from them. This illustration is a great representation of what we owe to each other and also what we all expect from one another in terms of the amount of effort we put in relationships. This illustration is a reminder of how we can show others what we expect of them and let them know what we can offer them.
In this time of dramatic uncertainty, it is a great opportunity to reflect on patterns of behaviour that may not have served us well in the past. Liana Finck's illustrations act like a mirror for modern day philosophical questions and patterns of toxic behaviours. You can purchase her memoir "Passing for Human" and book "Excuse Me: Cartoons, Complaints, and Notes to Self" on Amazon.