Showing posts from July, 2008

Jews, Cartooning, and The New Yorker

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…