Monday, November 29, 2010

more cartoon cut-ups

Well I meant to read the entire run of The New Yorker with some method to my madness - say chronologically - but that is not alas how Nancy G rolls.

I decided to see what they had to say about "The Catcher in the Rye" when it was released, but the piece they did in the August 11 1951 issue is not so much a review as a recap of the entire book. The writer does love the book, which is funny because according to the October 1, 2001 issue of the New Yorker:
The Catcher in the Rye” was turned down by The New Yorker. The magazine had published six of J. D. Salinger’s short stories, including two of the most popular, “A Perfect Day for Bananafish,” in 1948, and “For Esmé—with Love and Squalor,” in 1950. But when the editors were shown the novel they declined to run an excerpt. They told Salinger that the precocity of the four Caulfield children was not believable, and that the writing was showoffy—that it seemed designed to display the author’s cleverness rather than to present the story. “The Catcher in the Rye” had already been turned down by the publishing house that solicited it, Harcourt Brace, when an executive there named Eugene Reynal achieved immortality the bad way by complaining that he couldn’t figure out whether or not Holden Caulfield was supposed to be crazy. Salinger’s agent took the book to Little, Brown, where the editor, John Woodburn, was evidently prudent enough not to ask such questions. It was published in July, 1951, and has so far sold more than sixty million copies.

Read more

Here is a sample of the "review" along with a cartoon.

Having read the book several times I'm less interested in the article than the cartoon. In the cartoon we see a television salesman in the rain, his TV screens declaring that the Yankees game is rained out. This cartoon reveals the existential irony of modern technological devices - yes, television salesman, your television tells you what you already see with your own two eyes - it is raining and therefore the baseball game is rained out. Oh modern Ozymandias!

Here is another sample, with ad:

I'm not sure what I find more disturbing - herring in wine sauce in a jar - or that they are quote party snacks unquote.

This cartoon from the same issue is disturbing on many levels, and not just the hats:

The New Yorker helpfully provides a page with links to all the stories it published by Salinger. The one I find most interesting is Slight Rebellion Off Madison since it is an early incarnation of Holden Caulfield and has not been published anywhere else. Unlike Catcher it's written in third-person:
The next day was a Thursday and Holden took Sally to the matinee of "O Mistress Mine," which neither of them had seen. During the first intermission, they smoked in the lobby and vehemently agreed with each other that the Lunts were marvellous. George Harrison, of Andover, also was smoking in the lobby and he recognized Sally, as she hoped he would. They had been introduced once at a party and had never seen each other since. Now, in the lobby of the Empire, they greeted each other with the gusto of two who might frequently have taken baths together as small children. Sally asked George if he didn't think the show was marvellous. George gave himself a little room for his reply, bearing down on the foot of the woman behind him. He said that the play itself certainly was no masterpiece, but that the Lunts, of course, were absolute angels.

"Angels," Holden thought, "Angels. For Chrissake. Angels."

Here's a clip from the issue, with the piquant "Willie the Whaler" ad.

In the context I assume "crinkum-crankum" means whale. The origin of the term is pretty interesting, according to Sex-Lex, the dictionary of sexual terms:

crinkum crankum:
Obsolete, late 18 th -early 19 th century term for the vagina , the vulva , and the interlabial-slit , based on the original meaning of the word, a narrow, winding passage. Defined by Captain Francis Grose in Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1811) as: ' A woman's-commodity .' See vagina for synonyms.