The New Yorker gives red ink a black eye

September 30, 2008

Like most intellectuals and sophisticates, I read the cartoons in The New Yorker before going on to all those articles filled with big words and umlauts. In doing that in the October 6 edition, I noticed that every one of them pertains to the financial crisis.

The New Yorker, which has made a market of acidic, sharp and occasionally opaque observances of upper-class life in its cartoons for decades, usually features a grab-bag of themes and illustrators in its pages. This is the first time that every cartoon is devoted to one topic, however.

While it’s always more dandy to read the magazine on paper, its website features a slideshow. Enjoy the meltdown.

Cartoon Editor Bob Mankoff said there was enough good material that magazine Editor David Remnick said all the submissions should reflect the turmoil. Mankoff also said he enjoys the simplicity that the cartoons bring to the complicated mix of bad debt, funny money and the complicated interdependence of the once-powerful financial firms.

“It’s not that complicated; It’s other people’s money — and you don’t care that much about it,” he said. “I think humor does act as a sort of rough-and-ready B.S. detector.”

(Image courtesy of Conde Nast/The New Yorker)

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