The Jewish Esotericist Charlie Kaufman’s 2008 art house film Synecdoche, New York makes the point that Art is a microcosm of the broader world and reality albeit from a Jewish perspective. In this context, the word “synecdoche” becomes a rough synonym for microcosm. Here in particular it refers to a work or works of Art representing and even creating the whole, i.e. reality. The film runs as follows:
Caden Cotard (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), a devout Liberal, Aryan theater director, reverential of Jewish playwrights such as Harold Pinter and Arthur Miller, is having a tough time. His health is inexplicably failing and his wife, Adele Lack (Catherine Keener), has revealed herself as a lesbian. Indeed, Lack will also shortly abscond to Germany with Cotard’s daughter and a malevolent female lover, Maria.
Relief from Cotard’s woes seemingly appear by the arrival of a MacArthur Fellowship. The grant money will allow Cotard to pursue his true, unfettered artistic dreams. He is determined to make a play of “brutal” realism and “truthfulness.” “I won’t settle for anything less than the brutal truth. Brutal. Brutal.” He will declare.
Essentially Cotard is interested in creating a demoralizing portrait of degenerate man with all his dysfunctions. This is true even if the gentle empathetic Cotard would never dare think of his weak, suffering subjects in those terms. Certainly, the filmmaker Kauffman understands them in these terms, as will become obvious. By portraying Cotard as a reverential acolyte of Pinter and Miller, Kauffman also indicates Cotard’s vision as, of course, ultimately Jewish. These Jewish artists were the “yeast” in the bread that is Cotard.
The stage for the production of Cotard’s play begins in a rented warehouse in Manhattan’s Theater District with an ensemble cast of actors and set builders at Cotard’s beck and call. As Cotard struggles vainly to complete the work, the set, the cast and crew, as much as a projection of the imagination as tangible things, will expand in a surreal and mythic manner, eventually seeming to overtake the city and possibly the world itself. In other words, Cotard’s Art —his “brutally truthful,” degenerate vision— will become reality. Significantly, Cotard’s opus will never be realized. He is creatively impotent.
On this point, the film captures a genuine and actual creative impotence among Aryans, whether as artists, scientists, statesmen, civilization builders or simply as a procreative race. This is now particularly true of the artist, myth-maker, culture-creator and Religion-former from whence AIM and all other forms of useful creation might stem. This is painfully evident when Aryan artists vainly attempt “profundity.” After all, to be profound would require these people to address the most profound matter and subtext of, for example, every important and salient Jewish work in Art, Religion or Culture.
Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York, as a work of JEM and especially JED, is certainly no exception. Instead, as Kaufman depicts, when today’s Aryan artist attempts “profundity” or “truthfulness” he is frequently ignorantly aping the “profundity” or JED of “truthful” Jewish artists.
The film also strikes at the meandering, agnostic, questioning, “philosophical” nature of the “profounder” Art attempted by fumbling, contemporary Aryans. Cotard’s process of Art creation is “seeking” or “questing.” Yet, of course, an artist, this study argues, should never make Art to “ask questions.” They should make it only, as Jewish Esotericists do, to posit answers and prophesies of victory, esoteric or otherwise. The artist, whether he likes it or not, is an apostle. Like Apollo, he is the keeper and improver of a flock. He is also, as Apollo, a prophet. If he is merely a pupil than he has no right whatsoever to stand before the class.
In his vain effort Cotard populates his play with doppelgangers of himself and those in this life. There he renders shades of all his important relations, bad, degenerate, demoralizing models that they are. We see that not only have artists like Pinter and Miller informed his Art, they have informed his life. That is what Art does. In the film, while the world of the play expands, the world outside magically declines, as does Cotard’s health and life.
His daughter, Olive (Robin Weigert), goes down a particularly degenerate path. Living now in Berlin, perhaps as a nod to the Weimar period as will be made clear, she eventually becomes a “sex worker,” having been encouraged by her “mothers” at the tender age of ten to be the “first child in human history with a full body tattoo.”
In the end, Olive becomes terminally ill from blood poisoning caused by the tattoos. She curses her father on her deathbed, under the ironic, false belief, furnished to her by her lesbian mothers, that Cotard abandoned them because he is himself a closeted homosexual. She forces him to admit to this ostensibly false reality and then still refuses to forgive him. Cotard, and the race of dying White Christians he represents, the bride of the Jewish God, in the microcosm of the parable, may as well be homosexuals. After all, Cotard is seemingly impotent to avert an impeding destruction. That Christianity is at the root of this destruction is made clear by the character of Madeleine Gravis (Hope Davis) as we will see in a moment.
Here as throughout JEM names are the key. The “protagonists” last name Cotard is a reference to a rare mental illness. “Cotard delusion” is a condition in which a person already believes themselves to be dead. In this regard, Caden is, again, evidently a stand in for the Aryan race, the vast majority of which either consciously or unconsciously accept an inevitable disappearance. This is clearly being consciously remarked on by the Jewish esotericist Kaufman. Indeed, the name Caden may mean “gentle” and the word gentle, closely related to gentile, may mean, “of good birth or family; wellborn.” Otherwise it might mean “warrior.” Both these name meanings are Aryan identifier in the JEM. Researcher and writer Ed Dutton points out that “cadence” refers to the close of a musical phrase or section. It may as well refer to a fall in the pitch of the voice at the end of a sentence.
The meaning of “wellborn” though, seems corroborated by Cotard’s ex-wife’s name. Her first name is Adele meaning, like the word Aryan, “noble.” Yet her last name is “Lack.” Hence ostensibly her name means “lack of nobility.” But the name meaning is certainly deeper. Lack is an occupational surname referring to the medieval profession of “leeches.” The word leech also may simply refer to a parasitic person. Adele Lack, played by the half-Lebanese Catherine Keener, is almost certainly intended as a Jew here. Here, presumably, “lack of nobility” becomes as much of a Jewish identifier as “nobility” or “wellborn” becomes an Aryan identifier. Jewesses as a destructive siren for Aryan men are a reoccurring type appearing in JEM. We will define that type as the “Trivia” or Delilah type.
Implied here as well with the surname Lack is the vampiric taking of blood from Aryans through marrying and mating. The Semitic consuming of or mixing of blood with Aryans is a central reoccurring theme in JEM as this study discusses. Indeed, likewise, the “blood poisoning” that is ultimately inflicted on their daughter Olive is likely a direct reference to the National Socialist concept of Blutschande (“blood defilement”) or Rassenschande (“race pollution”). This is reinforced by the Weimarian setting and the American-born Olive’s adopted identity. The German speaking Olive dies in a hospital bed in Berlin.
Hence, in a style found throughout JEM, Kauffman esoterically agrees with National Socialist fears, yet celebrates them from a Jewish perspective, as a sort of subliminally transmitted, demoralizing gloat. In the end, Olive’s mother, the Jewish Adele Lack, is a genetic spoiler and a guide to the Underworld, a Hecate or Trivia figure.
The name Olive is possibly a reference to Deuteronomy where “God” punishes “Israel” by making their wives unfaithful and enslaving them to foreign lenders. Here “Israel” is understood as Aryan, outside the Jewish tribe of Judah or the figure of God. Here, as part of “God’s” punishment, olives also, symbolically, fall from the trees.
Though olive trees alongside other types of trees we will come to understand are metaphors for Aryan stock, while their oils and resins symbols of sexual accessibility. Indeed, more clearly and certainly, the name Olive is an example of the “Consumption motif.” The olive oil burning in the menorah, consumed by a Jewish fire god, for instance, has the precise same significance.
Cotard’s love interest Hazel also figures centrally in a “Consumption motif.” She buys a house early in the film, that consistent with the surrealism of the film, is perpetually on fire. This becomes inevitably the manner in which she dies. Her name is an example of a common arboreal reference given to Aryans in JEM. Hence she becomes the wood sacrificed to a Jewish fire God.
At one point Cotard declares he will name his interminable play “Infectious Diseases in Cattle.” The line is a darkly humorous throwaway in the context of the film. Here his assistant, and doubtlessly the audience, interpret the seemingly nonsensical title as merely another bit of evidence pointing to Cotard’s descent into madness as he wrestles with an invincible artist’s block.
Though the “diseased cattle” implied here are of course the Aryans or Goyim who are identified as cattle in the Talmud, a central sacred text in Judaism, making this point in multiple passages. But we can be sure the same esoteric significance is given to cattle described in Leviticus, where instructions for ritual sacrifice appear, if not in the Hebrew text more broadly. Certainly, the “disease” here, or at least the cause of it, is identified as Jewry itself.
At last, in a symbolic act of male impotence, Cotard cedes control of the play to an actress named Millicent Weems. Thereafter he lives out his days doing housework in the actress’ role in a model of his ex-wife’s apartment. Again, as when we saw him forced earlier to admit to homosexuality, we see him here emasculated. Finally, some unexplained disaster occurs destroying huge portions of the set and leaving bodies in its wake.
The world outside, we discover, is failing on all levels, crime is rampant, and populations are in a state of chaos. Copies of Getting Better, a self-help psychology book authored by Madeleine Gravis, Cotard’s nonsense babbling psychotherapist, are scattered throughout the streets.
The name Madeleine Gravis is essentially a reference to Myasthenia Gravis disease. Myasthenia Gravis is a gradually deadening of nerves and senses. This is at least one of the diseases Cotard appears to be suffering from in the film. Ostensibly through clues like this, the film suggests that psychotherapy and the entire fraud of Freudian psychology is itself not a cure, but as Freud once described it, a “plague.” Here Kauffman appears to characterize it as a disease that desensitizes and ultimately destroys the nervous system.
This may certainly be said of every Freudian proscription that encourages, for example, the over-sexualizing of society. But it could also be said of a kind of worry or over straining neurosis that is developed through the inherent notion that we all have psychological difficulties or psychological needs that require “cures.”
Indeed, there is another deeper layer to Dr. Gravis name and this metaphor. Her first name Madeleine is a variant of Magdalene, as in Mary Magdalene. It appears that here Kaufman is conflating the phenomena of Christianity or Catholicism, with its confessionals, Hail Mary’s and fretting over healing the “soul” with psychotherapy, literally “soul healing.” He appears to be suggesting that both are desensitizing, worry-making, numbing terminal diseases. Likewise, the surname Gravis may mean “grave.” With Christianity, the focus is on the “grave,” death and dying, and this is an obsession of Cotard’s throughout the film. His very name expresses this obsession. Hence Kaufman describes the demoralizing, mollifying effect of Christianity with its focus on death. Yet there is still another dimension here.
When Cotard is reading Dr. Gravis’ book on a flight, like a vision of Mary, the female author inexplicably appears next to him. Cotard admits he isn’t “getting” her book. Dr. Gravis responds: “Oh but it is getting you. You are almost unrecognizable now.” Then Gravis inexplicably, sexily flashes her leg. Here Kaufman hints at a degenerate, demoralizing, sexualized subtext central to Christianity where esoterically Aryan women are understood as the breeding stock of Jewish men. This understanding is explicated in our study in, for example, the chapter entitled Mary is Venus Pandemos in book #3 of this series. With the name Gravis, Kaufman may also have been thinking of this Hebrew word, Dumah, דוּמָה, or at least a concept contained within it. It means both “prostitute” and “grave.”
Kaufman reveals that Jewish Esotericists, of course, understand clearly that Christians don’t “get” the Mystery Religion of Christianity. That is precisely the point. Rather Christianity is designed to “get them.” Remarkably, Kaufman esoterically depicts Aryans, as represented by Cotard, retreating into Christianity for answers whilst everything else around them falls apart.
This idea of Christianity as adversarial to Aryans and even as a debilitating creed deliberately inflicted upon them is a theme that will reoccur throughout JEM. Hence Dr. Gravis’ book, windswept through the streets in the final scene of the film, is also the Bible, describing, prophesying and hoping to bring about the fall of Aryan civilizations or “Babylon.”
In the last frames, Cotard’s replacement director Millicent Weems speaks to Cotard through a walkie-talkie, giving him his final direction. It is a single word: “Die.” And Cotard does. Here, again, as much as the figure of Judah or Yahweh is a synonym, and, indeed, “microcosm” for all Jews, Caden or “Gentle” is a synonym for all Aryans.
This scene is perhaps the most vivid and striking example I have encountered where the “Death Spell” of JEM is rendered so specifically. We see even more explicit appearances of it in Mainstream News Coverage where we are constantly assured that our demographic replacement is both inevitable and desirable. Yet “inevitable” is only what Apollo alone decides.
The surname of the replacement director who issues the “Death Spell” to Cotard, Weems, is thought to mean “Cave” and this, like the surname Gravis, may be understood as a reference to an entrance into the Underworld. Her first name Millicent is from the Germanic name Amalasiuntha, composed of elements amal “work, labor” and swinth “strong” and is, ostensibly, more opaque.
Here though, it seems, with Caden’s death we see the intelligent, noble, ruling “WASP” class dying as things become democratized. Cotard becomes a commoner, a workman, a laborer, even beneath commoners and laborers, even beneath women, mired in minutiae, performing roles they once performed. He no longer directs the work of civilization. He lives his life for the Üntermensch. This disintegration through democratization is an explicit theme in the play. In the throes of his artistic block Cotard proclaims: “I know how to do [the play]. There are nearly thirteen million people in the world. None of these people is an extra. They’re all the leads of their own stories. They have to be given their due.”
Kaufman advances Nietzsche’s view. The Aryan rules or he dies. Jews are not so stupid as to become laborers, to disintegrate into the earth, they understand themselves as masters and directors of work. This is why our race, the civilizational race, requires hierarchy, both masters and laborers, so that it may also have direction. Kaufman has given us a profound parable. It should be preserved here if nowhere else. He also reminds us: Art, Religion and Parable are microcosm, whether “Death Spell” or “Life Spell.” The name Cotard itself should become a term describing the unconscious Aryan artist who, inspired by JEM, creates deleterious art in the name of Jewish “truth” or toward a Jewish end.
 The word synecdoche is defined as “a figure of speech in which a part is used fro the whole or the whole for a part, the special for the general or the general of the special, as in ten sail for ten ships or a Croesus for a rich man.”
 See the chapter entitled Aryan or Church as Bride of Jewry in book #4 of this study. In the broader study I discuss the notion that Christian symbolism understands the Church, a symbol for the Aryan flock or assembly, as the “Bride of Christ.” Here, I explain, Christ is understood esoterically as Jewry, thus the “husband” of the Aryan Christian. This repeats a homosocial relationship indicated in JEM between a Jewish God and Aryans found saliently with the Biblical figures of David, Saul and Jonathan, for example.
 See the chapters entitled The Underworld as non-Aryan, “Sacred Prostitution” and Jewess as “Trivia” and Delilah: The emasculating and circumcising Jewess in this book. Trivia is a Roman Underworld Goddess discussed in this study. She is equivalent to the Greek Hecate.
 See the chapter entitled Baptism and Anointing: Symbols for Copulation and Sexual Interaction in book #3 of this series. Also see the chapter entitled Semitic Earth and Fire Gods in book #2 in this series.
 See the Chapter entitled The Elements of Water and Wood as Symbols of Aryan Blood in book #2
 See the chapter entitled The Infamy of Crete: The Meaning of the Bull as a Symbol in book #2 of this series.
 Freud once remarked to Jung, while traveling to an expectant American audience excited to learn about the new Freudian school of thought, “They don’t realize that we are bringing them the plague.” Lacan, Jacques, Écrits: The First Complete Edition in English, trans. Bruce Fink (New York, NY: W. W. Norton, 1996), p. 336.
5 thoughts on “Synecdoche, New York: A Meditation on the Parabolist’s Law of Microcosm”
I never thought I would watch a movie like that, but I’ll be checking it out.
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Be warned, it is a highly unpleasant film with a subtext of the strangest Jewish malice. LOL.
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References to “book #x”…coming soon? I hope so!