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Showing posts from July, 2008

Jews, Cartooning, and The New Yorker

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By Dan Schifrin, Director of Public Programs and Writer in Residence

Not every boy dreams of growing up to write cartoons for The New Yorker, or books for children. But I did. In high school I often brought one-panel cartoons into my English class, hoping that my witty reference to Kafka and Shakespeare would boost my popularity (sadly, I only got extra credit, which at 16 seemed quite the booby prize). Growing up with a younger sister, for whom I often improvised stories, songs and sometimes entire musicals, I felt it was theoretically possible to invent stories as strangely rich as those written by Hans Christian Andersen, Isaac Bashevis Singer and Shel Silverstein. It was later in life when I realized that one man, William Steig, had managed to create both canonical cartoons and children’s books, as well as a museum full of drawings evoking the absurdity and pathos of life.
This diverse virtuosity is on tap at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, with its current exhibition From The New Yo…