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Friday Afternoon Guest Post: Cartoonists Under the Microscope

Filed under: The Squib Report   Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Martin Schneider, our trusty Squib Reporter, writes:

Peter Carlson of The Washington Post looks at the selection process for New Yorker cartoons. (I should have remembered Emily’s mention of it; in any case, Kottke jogged my memory.) Like everything else about The New Yorker, it seems to boil down to an emphasis on quality while policing the boundaries of good taste.

New Yorker
cartoons stand for something in a way that not even the magazine itself always does. Speaking only of public perception here, I think they stand for a certain kind of ineffable gnomic brilliance—that’s if you like them. If you don’t, they’re all incomprehensible non-jokes in which people who look too much like Dick Cavett make non-quips about Connecticut—hey, we’ve all been there. I think somehow Richard Cline got singled out as representing the insularity of the magazine’s cartoon culture, which is unfair both to Cline and the rest of the diverse cartoonists (think of Glen Baxter, for one).

Cartoonists mentioned: Roz Chast, Matthew Diffee, Bruce Eric Kaplan (BEK), Sam Gross—indeed, we “see” the editors evaluate a new one of Chast’s. The piece even comes with a cartoon by Mankoff of the selection process! Surely a first. We may need to hold a caption contest or call to arms the Radosh street team.

comments are off


Ah, the requisite “indeed”! :)

Personally, I don’t see what’s so incomprehensible! However, I did show my “Take my coffee, it’s worth $5” cartoon to Kosta, the manager of my local diner (he likes to keep up with my successes), and this conversation ensued:
- So, this guy, he’s a rich fellow.
- I guess so.
- And this other guy, he’s a bum, he has no home, he lives on the street.
- Uhuh…
- And the rich guy is giving him his coffee.
- Yes.
- Nice guy. Very nice.

And that was that. I begin to think there are people who get cartoons, and people who just don’t. My mother, for example, never ever EVER gets cartoons. Not unless they’re really crude, mean, and in bad taste, of the NY Post type. Go figure!

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