Monday, April 28, 2008

Antics of Arabella

One reason that I decided to read every issue of The New Yorker in chronological order was so I could understand the references. By reading all the stories leading up to the 1928 election, for instance, I can understand the jokes they make subsequently about Herbert Hoover. You might ask if it's important to understand flippant jokes about Herbert Hoover. You'd have a point.

Sometimes, however, an item shows up that I have no context for. Such is the case with the November 17, 1928 two-page spoof of the New York Times, featuring all sorts of Times-related humour that even an avid New Yorker reader couldn't hope to understand.

I give you "Antics of Arabella" (click for full-size) and I ask respectfully: what the HELL?


Anonymous said...

Oh, come on now, Muffy dear.
Bernarr? On TUESDAY?


Anonymous said...

Ok really, what the hell?

Maybe funny wasn't invented yet.

Anonymous said...

2000 times?

Adam Thornton said...

Well, I get two of the "high level" jokes -- the simple "2000 times" gag and the old-as-dust "you-see-a-different-guy-every-day-on-a-rigid-schedule" joke (I hadn't noticed "Bernarr," I wonder if it's a typo?)

It's the underlying low-level "what the heck are they spoofing?" joke that confuses me. I can only assume that the Times had something similar in their pages.

Anonymous said...

You took into account the "W.C. Fields" reference? I'm sure that was terribly important..

One of those subtle jokes that can only be gotten NOW, and will delight curious generations in centuries hence?

Anonymous said...

Hello---I'm assuming this is actually a spoof of the NEW YORK EVENING GRAPHIC (1924-32), where the real exercise photo strip ANTICS OF ARABELLA ran. "Bernarr" is referring to the GRAPHIC's famous publisher, Bernarr McFadden. The girls in each day's strip were credited at the bottom, here spoofed with the ridiculous Fields and Gilbert notation. ----Cole Johnsom.

Adam Thornton said...

Thanks, Cole! It's nice to finally have a mystery solved.