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November 7, 2002

Gag Reflex.

Daniel Radosh

This week's New Yorker cartoon issue (which, go figure, has more pages of travel advertorials than cartoons), inspired me to dig up this item from my archives. It originally appeared in Slate in 1999, and in my opinion has aged just fine...

The bad rap on New Yorker cartoons is that they are inscrutable. The more depressing truth is that they are often simply mundane. Try to identify which of the following captions are from urbane New Yorker cartoons and which are from a syndicated strip you wouldn't be caught dead reading, The Lockhorns.

1. "I'd like to read from a prepared statement."
2. "Look, I've denied it--can we move on?"
3. "I think you might qualify for federal disaster relief."
4. "Maybe we should consolidate our finance companies."
5. "What's your exit strategy?"
6. "Why would I want to watch Crossfire? I'm living it!"
7. "Let's focus on what we do best--eating out."
8. "Congratulations--you were the topic on all this week's talk shows."

1. The Lockhorns. Leroy arrives home drunk. In the hypothetical New Yorker version, a husband is caught in bed with another woman.

2. The New Yorker. A husband is caught in bed with another woman. May also have appeared in Playboy.

3. The Lockhorns. Loretta emerges from the beauty parlor. In the New Yorker version, a precocious child surveys her friend's demolished sand castle.

4. The Lockhorns. Loretta pays bills. In the New Yorker version, precocious children play Monopoly. Could have appeared in this week's "Money Issue."

5. The New Yorker. A prisoner addresses his cellmate. In the Lockhorns version, Leroy addresses a friend as their wives drag them to the opera.

6. The Lockhorns. Leroy and Loretta watch television. In the New Yorker version, a cat and dog watch television.

7. The New Yorker. A couple enters a cafe. In the Lockhorns version, Leroy surveys Loretta's home-cooked meal.

8. The Lockhorns. Situation unclear. In the New Yorker version, the situation is also unclear.

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