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"Chronic fatigue" cartoon in New Yorker.

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS News' started by ixchelkali, Mar 30, 2011.

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  1. Boule de feu

    Boule de feu Senior Member

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    It's because we have NOT argued or complained for the last 30 years that things are what they are today.
    It gave the right to doctors and psychiatrists to give us a psychiatric label.
    If we don't respond to this cartoon, it means that we haven't learned anything. We have been so naive!

    I have an aunt who killed herself because CFS was considered a disease of the mind.
    I DO find this cartoon very insulting.

    I don't understand your comment.
  2. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    I'm still not sure what I think about the cartoon. It could have been a way of expressing how exhausting CFS can be in a humorous way. It could have just been making fun of the way those with CFS/IBS whine so hilariously.

    I don't think this is true though. CFS patients don't have a reputation for contented compliance with the failings of doctors. We've complained a lot, some of it's been helpful, some of it's been counter-productive.
  3. insearchof

    insearchof Senior Member

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    I am not saying do not complain about CFS and donot hesitate to complain where:

    *it CLEARLY and UNAMBIGUOUSLY relates to CFS

    In my opinion, that cartoon did not......it made reference to "chronic fatigue". .....not " chronic fatigue syndrome "
  4. Nielk

    Nielk

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    People at large do not differentiate between chronic fatigue or chronic fatigue syndrome.
    They will just think cf is short for cfs,
    They are not informed enough to understand the difference.

    I took another look at the cartoon. -carefully (because I have nothing better to do in my bed)
    I noticed now different things.

    1- this is about a woman complaining to a man,
    2- she is laying on a couch.
    3- the man is not just any man. He has a stethoscope around his neck!
    4- therefore - it's a woman talking to her psychiatrist!

    Another notch for the psychobabbles of this world.
  5. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    I don't think it is a stethoscope, it think it's a tie, and it says it is in a living room.

    I'd say that the chronic fatigue in the cartoon is meant to be related to CFS though.
  6. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

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    That cartoon is completely awful, insensitive in the extreme, and definitely politically INcorrect. It's like rush limbaugh mocking Michael J. Fox for having Parkinson's. We should write to the NYer and demand an apology and a retraction. They wouldn't do a cartoon like that about autism, aids, or alzheimer's, or any other serious illness.
  7. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

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    I just sent them this message.

  8. CBS

    CBS Senior Member

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    Why keep guessing at the intent of The New Yorker or the illustrator, Bruce Eric Kaplan?

    You can call and simply ask The New Yorker to explain the intent, the joke, the irony, or the message of the "cartoon." The woman (Original Art Consultant?) who answered the line at 212-630-2714 initiated a valiant attempt.

    Me - Hi, I'm hoping you can help me understand the cartoon that appeared in the New Yorker on 3/7/11...

    OAC - "Well you see the woman has irritable bowel syndrome and she has chronic fatigue." ... long apparently uncomfortable pause

    Me - I still don't understand, can you help me to get the point of the cartoon?

    OAC - "Uhhhhhhhh..... Maybe you ought to talk with the person, the editor who is involved in selecting the cartoons. Maybe she can help you." Her name is:

    Jennifer Saura (cartoon editor, The New Yorker), her office number is 212-286-5909.

    ________________________________________________________

    Me - Hi Jennifer, can you help me understand the cartoon that was published on 3/7/11...

    JS - "You should send the New Yorker an e-mail. Send your question to cartoon@NewYorker.com"

    Me - But my question is very simple and straight forward. I don't get the cartoon. What were you trying to convey?

    JS - "You should send an e-mail. Thanks for calling."

    Just send an e-mail to "The New Yorker." Not a word about her role as cartoon editor, nothing. My next call will be to ask for the name of Jennifer's boss.

    I was polite. JS was polite but did not want to talk about the cartoon, nor did she seem to be enjoying the attention. And she was quick to refer to the larger organization "The New Yorker" without mention of her role.

    So give a call and ask a very simple question. "Call me stupid but could you please explain the message, the joke, the attempt at irony."

    I still don't get the intent but at least I'm not the only one made a bit uncomfortable by the "cartoon."

    ETA: If you call or write, I'd encourage you to be polite and stay calm. Keeping the focus on the cartoon and The New Yorker is the point. They still get that you think their a bunch of ignorant, insensitive buffoons but being overtly hostile will probably just derail the interaction. It's called being passively aggressive and I'm usually more of a fan of just calling BS on something but just asking them to explain the cartoon was more fun in this situation.
  9. Nielk

    Nielk

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    Esther,

    You are right. It is a tie. It's funny how the mind plays tricks and sometimes you see things differently.
    Not unlike the vase/profile trompe d'oeil.

    I don't get though what the meaning is of what the woman is saying.
    Moreover, people are paying big bucks to put this on their wall as art form?
  10. Mij

    Mij Senior Member

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    I didn't come away with it as an insult to people with CFS but a women complaining to her husband about her ailments. Interesting it's a women on the couch and not a man.
  11. shannah

    shannah Senior Member

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    Good for you CBS! Great idea! I don't do phone calls so sent off an email at the link you posted.
  12. markmc20001

    markmc20001 Guest

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    Other suggestions for more sick comedy to observe

    Want to see propaganda at it finest in comedy fashion? Watch the movie "Greenberg" with Ben stiller. Ben plays a guy with neuroimmune disease(the movie folks don't admit he has neuroimmune disease, but that is probably what he has). The movie, yet again, is used as a tool to discredit us CFS'ers and make it look like we are depressed or lost. However, in reality, Ben is playing a guy with neuroimmune disease. Watch for yourself guys, you will be going holy smokes. It is true, He is playing a apathetic CFS type personality.
  13. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

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    Who cares about their intent? It is what it is. I like your approach, though. They should be put on the spot.

    You didn't? The title caption says "Chronic-Fatigue I-B SYNDROME" in big huge letters over the entire cartoon!
  14. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

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    Notice also how they misspelled the woman saying "stomack" instead of "stomach" to make her appear even more idiotic? Ask any doctor or ER doctor what the number 1 complaint is of everyone they see, and they'll tell you it's non-specific "abdominal pain" or similar issues. Iow, the cartoon is saying there's nothing "really wrong" with the woman, it's just a "stomach ache" that's all in her head. Not only that, but she's so mentally whacked out that her 'stomack' can't even hurt right - "it WOULD hurt, but I'm too tired" (read: too screwed up). I don't see how anyone can NOT be insulted by that cartoon.


    P.S. to markmc, I saw Greenberg, and I didn't make any connection to CFS at all. It's an interesting take on it, but I'm not sure where you get that idea from.

    If you want to read a story with a strong relation to CFS, read The Metamorphosis by Kafka. Gregor wakes up one day to find that he's changed into a giant "bug" (my reading: that he's developed CFS). He can't go anywhere or do anything in his "condition," he can't leave his house or room, loses his job, and he just relies on family members to bring him food and necessities. Eventually the family kills him through abuse/neglect, and then the story closes with them going on with their lives and him fading from memory just as he faded from life, almost as if he never even really existed. It's chilling it's so accurate. Of course, Kafka had TB, so he knew what it was like to be sick, weak, fatigued, etc. and to lose everything in disability, isolation, and alienation from the "normal" human condition. Obviously he was writing from the experience of TB, but the depth of insight and even much of the metaphoric detail definitely parallels and is applicable to CFS, or probably any other seriously debilitating illness, for that matter.
  15. Bob

    Bob

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    Good letter Mr Kite.
    You've nicely covered the issues there.

    Personally, I didn't get the joke or the point to this cartoon...I just didn't get it!

    Maybe I'm a bit slow on the uptake, but to begin with I couldn't quite believe that the publisher could be so stupid as to go out of their way to insult millions of CFS and IBS sufferers. I mean that's ignorant in the extreme!

    But now, the only point that I can think the cartoonist is trying to make is that anyone who is diagnosed with a 'syndrome' (CFS or IBS) is making it all up, and should go to a psychiatrist to work through their deep rooted psychological issues... If this is the case then obviously it's extremely offensive to many many people... But I'm still finding it hard to believe that any publisher could be so stupid and ignorant to actually publish a cartoon like that...

    But if this is the case, it goes beyond offensive... It's also deeply disturbing that publishers think that this sort of opinion can be published in print, and it shows that maybe we haven't come as far as I thought we had, in terms of making people aware that ME is a real disease. I honestly thought that we'd been making progress with general attitudes towards ME.
  16. markmc20001

    markmc20001 Guest

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    You might have to watch it again with an open mind and keeping my thought in mind. Don't know if we have similar symptoms, but other who do should be able to get the propaganda. So very subtle, we don't even realized we are being brainwashed.

    Interesting. Maybe I can find it on movie, I couldn't make it through that much reading. Same idea though with Greenberg. It shows a guy in his early 30's who can't hold down a job and is wondering aimlessly through life. No kids and gets easily upset and frustrated. Constantly writing letters and complaining about stuff companies are doing. Pretty much sums a CFS'er with cognitive dysfunction to a tee. Almost like it was written about me. All the crazy stupid stuff that messed up hormones make us do on bad days.
  17. markmc20001

    markmc20001 Guest

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    I think Boule GOT it! you win the prize Boule :eek:)
  18. Bob

    Bob

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    Oh please don't read that story unless you have a very strong and hopeful mind.
    It's a deeply devastating, disturbing and despairing story!
    Having said that, it is a very good story! But I read it before I had ME!
  19. 5150

    5150 Senior Member

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    hi CBS: Your approach certainly is a model for a good approach to this particular issue. I will do another email, keeping in mind your suggestions. Thanks for the practical input. I will endeavor to include a concise explanation of the difference between chronic fatigue vs chronic fatigue syndrome.

    We don't have another 30 years to waste before people "get it". My goal is to contribute whatever I can, so that nobody has to go through what I have endured. There are so many, our younger people, whose lives are at risk. It's serious and tragic, not cartoon material. I will call BS in a subdued tone, since The New Yorker is potentially useful to our campaign. Thanks again.
  20. Mij

    Mij Senior Member

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    There is no reference to CFS. Now I think perhaps if it was written "Irritable Bowel Chronic Fatigue Syndome" then I would see it as an insult.

    Either way it's not a funny cartoon.
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