Reporter's Notebook

The Greatest Universal New Yorker Cartoon Caption?
Show Description +

A series of notes about a simple work of genius by Frank Chimero.

Show 1 Newer Notes

In 2006, a blogger named Charles Lavoie argued that every New Yorker cartoon—from bears-waiting-in-an-elevator to two-old-businessmen-playing-with-dolls—could be aptly captioned “Christ, what an asshole!” Lavoie was correct: They totally could. He documented the rewritten cartoons on his blog for many years.

Sometime later, the artist Cory Arcangel suggested a different universal caption: “What a misunderstanding!” He, too, preserved re-captioned cartoons on a blog, itself titled “What a misunderstanding!”

Heretofore, science has discovered only these two universal New Yorker cartoon captions. But now it has supplied us with a third. This afternoon, the designer Frank Chimero proposed a new addition: