Sh*t My New Yorker

You must feel like me when you read the cartoons in The New Yorker. They are pretentious and not funny at all. Tony Hart is picking apart the well coveted paper that many artists see as a mecca of achievement. Tony Hart trashes what works and compliments what does as a funny cartoon in his Sh*t My New Yorker. Now humor is subjective to many. There must be many times where you are scratching your head wondering if a gag panel was funny at all or you perhaps missed the point. The New Yorker comic gag panels have made fortunes for many artists. The crop of artists today in my opinion are not like the past collection of famous cartoonists who went on to better things besides The New Yorker. They have just become filler space.

“The quality of The New Yorker cartoons of the past few years has been The Thing Everyone Talks About That Nobody Talks About. You hear it at parties, you hear it in casual conversation. I hear it among cartoonists and I hear it among creative people of all stripes. People in publishing, people in the arts, yet also in more “mainstream”, everyday-America: everywhere people will tell you that they don’t get the cartoons, and they often don’t read them.”

(The most famous cartoon for The New Yorker)

There are three essential problems with many of The New Yorker cartoons these days:

  1. Bad craft, visual: Cluttered drawings, uninspired and inappropriate compositions, choice of technique which drags down the surprise/gag/joke, or makes the drawing difficult to read. In all instances, the idea is sacrificed and the cartoon suffers.
  2. Not trying hard enough, verbal dept. Boring quips, which sound familiar because you have already traded them over coffee or g-chat with your friend across town. In a content-heavy world, The New Yorker has to compete with thousands and thousands of other outlets for clever quipsters. Theirs had better either be very very good or have surprising, strong visuals to support them.
  3. Not trying hard enough, visual dept. As I continue to argue for more happening in the stage/window/panel, I realize this is subjective. I prefer a little more detail, more drama, more happening. I know the New Yorker likes to keep it understated. I’m not arguing for flagrant or gratuitous detail, I’m arguing for deeply imagined and perceived visual detail.