|Sloppy Copy, 2014, crayon on construction paper|
What it is: This is one of my son's drawings. I am not going to reveal what it is yet. But, when I told him I was going to use this drawing this week, he said, "Don't use it yet. This is just the sloppy copy!"
The sloppy copy is what his art teacher calls the drawing kids use to prepare and plan their actual artwork (I used to call them thumbnail sketches).
He eventually agreed to let me use his sloppy copy. As soon as I saw it, it occurred to me that Friday Rorschachers were going to have a difficult task. There is obvious phallic imagery in the drawing, and I suspected most people would choose to suppress that image and search of a less obvious response. It is not that I think people are sexually repressed. Rather, Twitter is a highly public forum and it can be uncomfortable for a lot of people to start talking about penises in a child's drawing in front of the whole world.
In fact, suppressing and censoring responses is a normal part of the real Rorschach experience. What happens is that people see the inkblot, which starts a complicated set of mental exercises. They see forms in the ink, and then they need to quickly, and sometimes unconsciously, decide which ones they are willing to say out loud to a stranger in the middle of a psychological assessment procedure.
What you thought it was: Several of you saw an alien or a monster (in Rorschach terms, this would be a fictionalized human response):
@mwachtel Hii okay! it's an Alien in Earth mountains getting in touch with it's inner child. #FridayRorschach
— Darlene (@MissDarlene1988) April 11, 2014
@mwachtel it's an ood wearing a spiky crown http://t.co/Ip8BNIVHUr
— Katie Wessman (@katiejeanne) April 11, 2014
@mwachtel LOL...A Green eyed monster? #FridayRorschach
— Paul Eldridge (@sarwrductfan) April 11, 2014
@mwachtel #FridayRorschach Bodybuilder turned into evil monster.
— Matzosnark (@mamasnark) April 11, 2014
A number of you picked up on anger in the drawing:
@mwachtel an angry spinal column, probably rheumatoid arthritis #FridayRorschach
— Rebecca Parmalee (@Rparm32) April 11, 2014
@mwachtel #FridayRorschach 1st thought was "an angry ET eating a green submarine"
— Nettie P (@The_Nettie) April 11, 2014
There were several eating responses:
@mwachtel a monster eating an anvil! #FridayRorschach
— Kristi (@mentecorpus) April 11, 2014
@mwachtel caught betweeen a monster& some sort of saw? w/a green BIRD in monster's mouth #FridayRorschach it's gotta be a bird, right? :)
— neditsimple (@neditssimple) April 11, 2014
.@mwachtel: #FridayRorschach The Iron Giant eating a tank.
— Peggyj7 (@peggyj7) April 11, 2014
Surprisingly, two people saw a croissant:
@mwachtel #FridayRorschach That's the cookie monster's cuzin the Crescent Monster. He eats crescent rolls-arch enemy of the Pillsbry Doghboy
— Ed Endicott (@WYSIWYGFOTO) April 11, 2014
@mwachtel a boy chasing a monster that eat his croissant .. #FridayRorschach
— loliPoli (@loli_Poli_poli) April 11, 2014
And, there were a couple people who mentioned the penis:
@mwachtel Haha Angry monster penis head with a bandaid mouth. #FridayRorschach
— Derek S (@DerekActual) April 11, 2014
@mwachtel The father has bitten off the fertile parts of the son Oedipus #FridayRorschach
— Matthew Citrullo (@MatthewCitrullo) April 11, 2014
In an act of foreshadowing, two of you flipped the picture upside down and responded. In the Rorschach, this is perfectly acceptable:
@mwachtel #FridayRorschach turning the card upside down... It’s the Kraken devouring a submersible...with lots of texture ;)
— Thom Knudsen (@docintheboxx) April 11, 2014
@mwachtel It's upside down. It's a green eyed monster with an argyle sweater & punk hair with a green sub on his head. #FridayRorschach
— Robin Wiesneth (@Abrushwithhumor) April 11, 2014
The Twist...what it actually is: I post the Friday Rorschach photo at 10:00 ET/8:00 MT and get a flurry of responses over the next two hours. But, this time I threw the Friday Rorschachers a twist--I sent a second tweet at 1:30/11:30:
#FridayRorschach surprise: I originally gave you the picture upside down...Does this new image change what you see? pic.twitter.com/S06GksD58H
— Dr. Max Wachtel (@mwachtel) April 11, 2014
A few of you saw masks:
@mwachtel cat wearing a gas mask
— Char Windley (@Chaz13w) April 11, 2014
@mwachtel mask of the demon.
— とこちん（toma) (@tocochin73) April 11, 2014
More than a few of you saw a submarine on a person's head:
@mwachtel a hungry animal with a submarine on its mind #FridayRorschach
— Sophie G ^_^ (@is0ph) April 11, 2014
@mwachtel #FridayRorschach A cat with a submarine on it’s head.
— Michael Cumpton (@mccumpton) April 11, 2014
@mwachtel it's a happy-go-lucky monster with submarines on his mind
— Darlene (@MissDarlene1988) April 11, 2014
@mwachtel Torpedo on the brain #FridayRorschach
— Fiona (@Mistress_Fiona) April 11, 2014
There were the pop culture references:
@mwachtel a tiny yellow anvil falling onto Roberto from Futurama's head pic.twitter.com/OJswOR2xVl
— roshin (@DanRoshin) April 11, 2014
@mwachtel Gandalf's eagle flying to Mt. Doom after the mountain got facial reconstruction surgery.
— Caitlin (@dingos8myTARDIS) April 11, 2014
@mwachtel It's a macaw from Rio 2 landing on the head of the baddie with the chainsaw
— vita (@vickymummyrc) April 11, 2014
One person saw a totem pole:
@mwachtel A parrot landing on a totem pole.
— Einar Jensen (@FireLifeSafety) April 11, 2014
And my two personal favorites for the week:
@mwachtel John Lennon cogitating on the first draft: "we all live in a green submarine"
— Theresa Benson (@radiantmeatball) April 11, 2014
@mwachtel Coming to this one late. Busy, busy day. A Blue Meany and the Yellow Submarine only neither blue nor yellow. #FridayRorschach
— Bret Higgins (@DeadBeatBert) April 11, 2014
What you might have missed: It was a totem pole. Specifically, it was my son's sloppy copy drawing of a totem pole face. His class is studying Native American art, and he described to me, in fairly accurate detail, the meaning of a totem. When I asked him about the one he is drawing, he said, "Mine doesn't mean anything. It's just art."
I left that statement alone, but I thought to myself, "It is never just art."
One last thought: A few of you saw several different images in the same drawing. That is perfectly normal. In fact, most people who take the Rorschach see more than one image in each of the ten cards presented to them. Most completed Rorschachs have somewhere between 17 and 25 responses. And, if a person only gives one response per card (for a total of ten responses), the Rorschach administration is invalid and the test giver needs to start from the beginning and administer it all over again.
Here is a great example of a multiple-response tweet:
@mwachtel The sword from Minecraft, an angry E.T., and a caterpillar with a propeller. Makes perfect sense. #FridayRorschach
— Hans Tishmack (@hansincolorado) April 11, 2014
And then there is the phallic imagery. I received more than 60 responses between the two photos, but only two of those responses mentioned a penis. I am wondering if people honestly did not see it or if it somehow registered in their minds but they chose not to mention it on Twitter. Any thoughts?
Thanks for reading-- Max Wachtel, Ph.D.
Friday Rorschach is a fun project designed to engage readers' creativity. To participate, follow Max on twitter. He posts the drawing every Friday morning around 10am ET/8am MT. There are no wrong answers to the Friday Rorschach.