May 6, 2007

Shit. They're on to us.

Now The New Yorker is running cartoons mocking the anti-caption contest.


Well played, Mr. Mankoff.

Related: The first (and best) finalist of New Yorker contest #96, Tarzan and Jane, bears an intriguing resemblance to the winner of the anti-caption contest from that week.

Ours: "I was thinking today... Let's call it 'Boy' if it's a boy, and drown it if it's a girl."

Theirs: “Fine. If it's a boy, we'll call him Boy. But if it's a girl I want to call her McKenzie.”

I happen to think ours (by Trout Almondine) is funnier, but theirs (by someone named Fairleigh Brooks, who's either got a decent sense of irony or a serious set of blinders) correctly applies the first rule of humor: punchline at the end of the joke. I'd thought before that Trout's caption would have been perfect if only he'd written, "...and if it's a girl, drown it." Unless the less-than-perfect wording was part of the anti-humor. Damn you, anti-caption ambiguous guidelines!

Posted by Daniel Radosh


Pretty lame! There's nothing like the aboriginal.

"So you're mocking them for bad captions? Isn't that like the pot calling the kettle a nappy-headed ho (or something)?"

Tootie - I think you missed the point. This isn't a bad caption. It's an anti-caption. And, I'll even disagree with Anonymous and say it's a pretty good one.

Unless I missed your point and you were addressing The New Yorker editors. Or you were submitting a caption. So confusing.

The vowels here are of steam.

We have a winner.

Is that supposed to be an odd sort of kitchen range or just a countertop with two gas burner things siting on top of it? Or maybe a dresser in a bedroom? This is so confusing.

I think this cartoon ought never have to passed Quality Assurance.

You forgot to mention that the cap on the kettle is open, so it shouldn't even be whistling.

Or, you know, talking.

I think that in the same way cartoons do not show people's lips actually moving, it is okay that the teapot is depicted with its lid open -- it is merely caught in the midst of speaking and whistling.

Whistle while you perk...

Actually, in the original cartoon it wasn't a kettle, it was a newborn baby. Mankoff, in his infinite wisdom, requested a second draft.


Holy shit, that was funny. Or maybe the Vicodin...

"The vowels here are of steam"
awesome reference.
With the "water boiling in my stomach" line, though, you might have gone with
"The bowels here..."

The cartoonist is Zachary Kanin, known for working on the caption contest.

And note that this week's Caption Contest winner is close to last week's Anti-Caption Contest winner.

Note that it's already so noted.

I guess Kanin's brain is fried from that task, which is why he was able to write a good anti-caption.

I thought the exact same thing about the "drown it" placement. I think the obvious solution here is to give us all access to edit everybody else's captions at will.

Trout's caption is well written in that the construction is parallel in both clauses ("..do 'X' if 'Y'.." - where the New Yorker winner is also parallel construction but is "If 'Y', then do 'X'"). If Trout's second clause is better as "if it's a girl, drown it." then the first clause must be switched to "If it's a boy, we'll call it 'Boy'". Now see my essay on how to kill a joke.

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