A fan, I hope, ANDY, a reader of my posts on the Garden Island discussion site, so labeled me. I loved it. Hope all of you will pop in, once awhile. It can get lively. And don’t forget to check out KIMO ROSEN’S darling blog, Dakine talk.
If by any chance you’ve been visiting me and my column and scrolling around, you will know that I love books-just above or slightly below animals -depending on the day, the hour, or the mood I’m in-and am convinced we are all the product of our past experiences. I grew up happy. I grew up small. I grew up and got here. Eighty two is a long long got here, and, though built low to the ground for speed, I think I grew up with the best animals and the best writers in America.
Animals aside, this is writer’s day. A book day. A sly, demented writer book day.
The New Yorker was aways a busy bedside buddy. Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, James Thurber. Thurber was my favorite. His humor was beyond compare-I used to laugh my tummy sore- and his use of the English language suburb. Can anyone who’s read it possible forget The Night the Bed Broke? The Dog That Bit People? I have the most battered edition of The Thurber Carnival you’ve ever seen. It’s held together with chewing gum, paper clips and long-in-the-tooth sticky worn out scotch tape. I wouldn’t part with it for all the oil in Saudi Arabia.
All those incredible cartoons are indelibly tattooed in whatever part of my mind laughter is indelibly tattooed. The Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker-1925-2004- is taking center stage on my cluttered desk top this morning. You wanna talk about sly, demented humor?
I just opened a page. Remember Peter Arno? Nightclub scene. Rich fat cat seated at a table while a bevy of practically bare assed chorus girls dance around him. One turns her head and says. “Valerie won’t be around for several days. She backed into a sizzling platter.”
I also have all the covers from 1925-1989 and plenty of them are delightfully demented. William Steig. Steinberg. Chas Addams.
I think satire, it’s an art form you know, is pretty sly and demented. The American satirists-old and new-Mark Twain, O’Henry, Will Rogers, Kurt Vonnegutt. H.L Mencken: The Devil’s Dictionary, “Diplomacy, n. The patriotic art of lying for one’s country.” Come on, beat that.
…and the beat goes on. Ogden Nash. Andy Rooney. George Carlin. Robert Benchley. Jim Hightower. Isaac Asimov. Walt Kelly, “When you starves with a tiger, the tiger starves last.”
Got back on- digression is a funny- on a cutesy animal cartoon kick: two llamas with background Andes scribbled high- 1945-he says to the shy, sweet furry thing over whom he towers,”I llove you.”
Hopping around, scratching my belly and grinning like a baboon, I dare you to forget, “A Modest Proposal Proposed for Preventing the Children of he Poor from Being a Burdon”, Jonathan Swift. Leave it to the Anglo/Irish.
Now that’s pretty sly and demented.