Reporter's Notebook

The Greatest Universal New Yorker Cartoon Caption?
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A series of notes about a simple work of genius by Frank Chimero.

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A reader goes mega meta over our latest note on the caption saga:

I would like to submit that Mr. Frank Chimero came up with not just one, but two universal captions for the cartoons in The New Yorker. “Everyone was very bored at work that day,” which you use for the headline, would also make a brilliant cartoon caption for every cartoon ever published in the magazine.

Heh. Well not every cartoon, but we did find some classic examples to remix:

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: