The New Yorker is an American magazine that publishes reportage, criticism, essays, cartoons, poetry and fiction. Originally a weekly, the magazine is now published 47 times per year with five (usually more expansive) issues covering two-week spans.
Although its reviews and events listings often focus on the cultural life of New York City, The New Yorker has a wide audience outside of New York. It is well known for its commentaries on popular culture and eccentric Americana; its attention to modern fiction by the inclusion of short stories and literary reviews; its rigorous fact checking and copyediting; its journalism about world politics and social issues; and its famous, single-panel cartoons sprinkled throughout each issue.
The cartoon editor of The New Yorker for years was Lee Lorenz, who first began cartooning in 1956 and became a New Yorker contract contributor in 1958. After serving as the magazine's art editor from 1973 to 1993 (when he was replaced by Françoise Mouly), he continued in the position of cartoon editor until 1998. His book, The Art of the New Yorker: 1925-1995 (Knopf, 1995), was the first comprehensive survey of all aspects of the magazine's graphics. In 1998, Robert Mankoff took over as cartoon editor, and since then Mankoff has edited at least 14 collections of New Yorker cartoons.
The New Yorker's stable of cartoonists has included many important talents in American humor, including Charles Addams, Charles Barsotti, George Booth, Roz Chast, Sam Cobean, Helen Hokinson, Mary Petty, George Price, Charles Saxon, Otto Soglow, Saul Steinberg, William Steig, Richard Taylor, Barney Tobey, James Thurber and Gahan Wilson. The notion that some New Yorker cartoons have punchlines so non sequitur that they are impossible to understand became a subplot in the final season of Seinfeld.
Several of the magazine's cartoons have climbed to a higher plateau of fame: In Peter Steiner's drawing of two dogs at a computer, one says, "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog." In Carl Rose's cartoon of a mother saying, "It's broccoli, dear," the daughter responds, "I say it's spinach and I say the hell with it." The catch phrase "back to the drawing board" originated with the 1941 Peter Arno cartoon showing an engineer walking away from a crashed plane, saying, "Well, back to the old drawing board." In Mankoff's drawing set in an office overlooking the city, a man on the phone says, "No, Thursday's out. How about never -- is never good for you?"
Over seven decades, many hardcover compilations of cartoons from The New Yorker have been published, and in 2004, Mankoff edited The Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker, a 656-page collection with 2004 of the magazine's best cartoons published during 80 years, plus a double CD set with all 68,647 cartoons ever published in the magazine. This features a search function allowing readers to search for cartoons by a cartoonist's name or by year of publication.
In April 2005 the magazine began using the last page of each issue for The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest. Captionless cartoons by The New Yorker's regular cartoonists are printed each week. Captions are submitted by readers, and three are chosen as finalists. Readers then vote on the winner, and any U.S. resident age 18 or older can vote. Each contest winner receives a print of the cartoon (with the winning caption), signed by the artist who drew the cartoon.
Traditionally, the magazine's politics have been essentially liberal and non-partisan. However, in recent years, the editorial staff has at times taken a somewhat more left-wing partisan stance. Coverage of the 2004 U.S. presidential campaign, led by editorial writer Hendrik Hertzberg and then-political correspondent Philip Gourevitch, strongly favored Democratic candidate John Kerry. In its November 1, 2004 issue, the magazine broke with 80 years of precedent and issued a formal endorsement of Kerry in a long editorial, signed "The Editors", which specifically criticized the policies of the Bush administration.
After the September 11, 2001 attacks, cartoonist and cover artist Art Spiegelman (who is married to the magazine's art editor, Françoise Mouly) created with Mouly, for the September 24, 2001 issue, a memorable black-on-black cover with the dark silhouette of the buildings visible only when held in a certain light or angle. He later resigned in protest of what he saw as the magazine's self-censorship in its political coverage. The magazine hired investigative journalist Seymour Hersh to report on military and security issues, and he has produced a number of widely-reported articles on the 2003 Invasion of Iraq and the subsequent occupation by US forces. His revelations in The New Yorker about abuses in the Abu Ghraib prison and the Pentagon's contingency plans for invading Iran were reported around the world.
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