November 4, 2016

"I know nothing about businessmen. I don’t know any personally; I’m intimidated by them. They’re kind of authoritarian."

Said Robert Weber, the New Yorker cartoonist known especially for his depiction of businessmen. Maybe he was joking, but I understand an artist keeping his distance from the subject of his satire. You can get your material second-hand, and getting close can dull your edge. It can foment empathy. Better to lean into your aversion.

And goodbye to Mr. Weber, who lived to the age of 92. I'm reading his obituary in the NYT. He had a terrific drawing style. He was, apparently, the only New Yorker cartoonist who used charcoal.

27 comments:

Oso Negro said...

I would say 'competent" rather than authoritarian. Otherwise the business doesn't last.

Ann Althouse said...

Yeah, businesspeople don't strike me as unusually authoritarian. But I can understand the kind of person who feels intimidated by those who are in their element in the world of business.

Ann Althouse said...

I know like to keep my distance from the people I'm making fun of.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

1,481 cartoons is a lot of cartoons.

Otto said...

Maybe this is not the place but i will throw it out anyway. Who is the most authoritative figure in the world?

mockturtle said...

Businessmen aren't 'authoritarian'. Academics are authoritarian.

TreeJoe said...

I grew up a shy, introverted, no-confidence boy who hated public speaking.

Within a period of about 11 years, I became a domineering businessman.

I know it happened, I helped it happen, I watched it happen - and I have no idea how it happened.

Achilles said...

"Maybe he was joking, but I understand an artist keeping his distance from the subject of his satire."

Ignorance is the core of progressivism. You must other your opponents. You have to have no idea where STUFF comes from. You have to believe in a religious power that can move cars without fossil fuels.You have to believe in the good intentions of people who work in government as if working in government makes you like Jesus.

This guy had no idea what he was writing about but he was SMART. He went to all the good cocktail parties where you get all the good second hand information you need.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

He misused the word authoritarian in a way that I've heard it misused before. I've done it myself. Take it to mean domineering and it makes sense.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

TreeJoe said it first.

JPS said...

mockturtle,

"Businessmen aren't 'authoritarian'. Academics are authoritarian."

I laughed, but actually we're a mixed bag. In my experience we're either unusually so or hardly at all, with not much in the middle.

mockturtle said...

Businessmen may be 'authoritative' but not 'authoritarian'. Academics are authoritarian in the true sense of the word.

Wilbur said...

"I know like to keep my distance from the people I'm making fun of. "

Kinda' like the Harvard men's soccer team.

CJinPA said...

So he really wasn't satirizing businessmen, but rather his field's caricature of businessmen.
He made a living doing caricatures of caricatures.

Just_Mike_S said...

Since I don't know any lefties, when I make fun of them I always use the disclaimer: "I have no actual clue what I'm talking about"

robother said...

At least he was honest about what it takes to inhabit a cartoon reality.

buwaya said...

"Since I don't know any lefties"

I do, and when I was young I knew real ones, that had the courage to leave lives of comfort to live in the hills as rebels. They were wrong, deluded, and hopelessly naive, but they were brave, disciplined and honorable people.

The modern US variety, that I have seen, is not fit to clean their rubber flip-flops.

bagoh20 said...

It's a stereotype from the movies. Some are domineering, but that's probably the rarest type. I'm shy, antisocial, pretty much a pushover, always looking for a win/win. On the rare occasion when I am absolutely forced to be a hardass, I can fake it. What's cool is that when people find out your position, they assume you have the stereotypical personality, and they act as if you do, until they know you well enough to see who you are. People often treat me like I'm tough, smart, ambitious, etc. It still surprises me, and I have to admit that I like it. I get the power of having those qualities without having to do it. My success gets me respect as if I was smart, ambitious, and tough, when really I just like what I do, work hard, and get really lucky year after year.

DavidD said...

Oh, c'mon. His editor? His agent? His accountant? His lawyer? His funeral director. Are those not business people?

William Chadwick said...

He finds businessmen "authoritarian;" yet no doubt votes as a good little Democrat. You know, because there's nothing authoritarian about the State.

viator said...

I wonder if Robert Weber knew that much of the business of the United States is carried on based upon the word and reputation of the people involved. A lot of business is done based on a handshake or a relationship. In larger contracts paper work is involved but again the underlying basis is reputation, knowledge, and relationship.

Cacimbo Cacimbo said...

Agree with DavidD.

What an absurd statement. Weber must have been a fairly good businessman himself. According to Wikipedia he lived in Westport, CT which is ranked as the tenth wealthiest town in the US. But its all good because he made fun of his town referring to it as Westpork. The hypocrisy is infuriating.

Fred Drinkwater said...

viator writes: "much of the business of the United States is carried on based upon the word and reputation of the people involved. A lot of business is done based on a handshake or a relationship. In larger contracts paper work is involved but again the underlying basis is reputation, knowledge, and relationship"
The 4th and final piece of general advice I give small-business folk seeking funding is this: "The most important thing you bring to the table is not your product or business. It is your PERSONAL INTEGRITY. Never do anything to damage your reputation."
Other people in my line of work always just nod when they hear this.

buwaya said...

"much of the business of the United States is carried on based upon the word and reputation of the people involved. "

This is universal, absolutely not exclusively a US trait. Its even more important in lower-trust societies.

Fred Drinkwater said...

viator writes: "much of the business of the United States is carried on based upon the word and reputation of the people involved. A lot of business is done based on a handshake or a relationship. In larger contracts paper work is involved but again the underlying basis is reputation, knowledge, and relationship"
The 4th and final piece of general advice I give small-business folk seeking funding is this: "The most important thing you bring to the table is not your product or business. It is your PERSONAL INTEGRITY. Never do anything to damage your reputation."
Other people in my line of work always just nod when they hear this.

YoungHegelian said...

He was, apparently, the only New Yorker cartoonist who used charcoal.

I gotta agree with Weber here.

As fussy as charcoal can be, I think it just gives you a better flavor than those damn gas grills.**


**Calm down, it's a joke. But, waddya expect with a guy named "Weber" for God's sake!

Fernandinande said...

YoungHegelian said...
**Calm down, it's a joke.


Propane and propane accessories are no joke, son.