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If You're Going to Target, Be Sure to Put Some Caption Contest Games in Your Cart

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I’ve been pelted with emails about this today. I still haven’t played the game, but whenever Emdashes contributing editor Martin, the mysterious but ever-closer ZP Alabasium, David Marc Fischer, and newyorkette want to get together for a bottle of wine and a round of caption-mangling, I’m ready. From the L.A. Times:
In the latest expansion of its brand name into the retail market, the board game version of the New Yorker’s weekly cartoon caption contest has just gone on sale at Target stores nationwide.

And although it may seem like an incongruous match between the discount store’s unapologetically mass appeal and the magazine’s upscale cachet, the people involved don’t find it strange at all.

When the New Yorker’s cartoon editor, Bob Mankoff, talks about the deal, he sounds more like an MBA candidate than an editorial staffer at the august literary weekly.

“These cartoons are accessible to people, and they’re an exportable part of the magazine for its brand identity,” Mankoff said.

As for the sale of the cartoon game at Target, Remnick was unruffled.

“With all due respect to the New York Times and the Washington Post, the last time I looked I could get a coffee mug, all kinds of doodads ancillary to those newspapers, and I don’t think it compromises their news columns,” he said.

“Once we had a great cover dividing New York into faux Yiddish and Afghani neighborhoods,” [David] Remnick said. “It became a shower curtain and a poster, and it brought in a lot of money… . I don’t think it undermined Western civilization, much less the standards of the New Yorker.”

Mankoff imagined Eustace Tilley sitting behind an information desk at a Target store, pointing to the Target motto and dryly advising a shopper: “If you’d like to expect more, and pay less for sophisticated laughs, I’d recommend the New Yorker cartoon caption game.”


Hey, if it gets people acclimatized to TNY humor to the point where they stop complaining that they don’t understand the cartoons, it’s fine with me! Maybe the lowest common denominator of the American sense of humor will benefit from a little uplifting. Target’s fine with me. I shop there.

PS - when are we getting together for that bottle of wine?

How about…now? Or, if not now, then soon??

I’m good for the evening of Sept 3rd. You heard me, the evening of Sept 3rd. Strange, but true.

Not that you need to plan anything around me …

That wouldn’t work for me…but don’t let that get in the way of planning!

Wow, if only there were alcohol in these comments, we’d be having a drink! How about the evening of Sept. 15? You may want to save the date.

Sept 15 won’t work for me. Either I’ll be on vacation (best case scenario), or cursing the wretched fate that prevents me from going on vacation.

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