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Dilbert, 11/5/04

Ziggy, 11/5/04

One must assume that psychiatrist jokes popped into the pop culture ether about a week after Freud hung out his shingle in Vienna. There’s nothing like the experience of opening up your innermost thoughts and feelings to serve as a subject for uproarious humor and cruel mockery; the New Yorker cartoonist staff has been making hay from this for decades, and of course Lucy van Pelt is the Jungian archetype of the hostile therapist. But when you have a cartoon character whose whole purpose is to be a case study in haplessness, well, you get results like these, where cartoon characters as old school as Ziggy and as (relatively) new school as Dilbert are the butts of what is essentially the same joke. I do have to say that this Ziggy is all the crueler because he looks like he’s about to burst into tears (the dark circle under his eye is a nice touch). Dilbert at least can stick up for himself. Also, apparently the fact that Ziggy is lying on a couch and talking to a bearded man in a suit with a notepad doesn’t convey psychiatry clearly enough to the unwashed masses, because there’s a little sign to that effect hanging in the background.