Check Out Something Sketchy

A couple of years ago, I listened to a friend give a lecture at a local art museum. I remember him talking about the fact that the average viewer spends about eight seconds in front of any given piece of art before moving on to the next. This allows no time to really engage the piece, to work for its subtext, its meaning, its importance. This really allows for nothing more than “I like the colors” before moving on, to say nothing of line, texture, balance.

Paintings and poems share that malady, I think: they are deceptively quick to take in if you approach them with the intention of consuming them instead of engaging them. Neither comes at first blush. They have to be pondered and allowed to sink in.

I discovered today that cartoons follow this principle, as well. We’ve all encountered cartoons in a paper or magazine that give us pause, make us stop with an “Oh!” at the unexpected succinctness with which they illumine a cultural issue. I think, though, that many cartoons need to be pondered, given time to sink in. I don’t think that all of their layers of meaning appear with merely a surface glance.

At least, I found that to be the case with this cartoon from this week’s New Yorker. I hope you find it as illustrative of our cultural climate as I did.

And, just for laughs, you’ll probably enjoy this one, too.

What do you think? When is the last time you engaged a cartoon?

Photo Attribution:  

4 thoughts on “Check Out Something Sketchy

  1. Clever, wasn’t it? You join Karen in your protests. And I must admit…sometimes, it isn’t all that it’s made out to be.

  2. I think this is true about so many things…we need to slow down and take the time to ponder, soak things up, and appreciate. Good post! And that cartoon about turning off the books made me laugh out loud. 🙂

  3. I think perhaps I should have linked to those cartoons in the opposite order 😉

    Our sound-byte culture doesn’t really like to permit us time to pause and appreciate…which is such a shame. I’m certain there are layers of depth to your photography that you are intentional about placing there that others miss because they give them the “eight-second glance.”

    Maybe we should stop looking at things at all until we know we have the time to really spend with them?


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