January 06, 2005

A Question

Slow blogging lately because, well, just because. I thought I'd harness the power of my viewers to resolve a question that's puzzling me, though. It concerns the little illustrations found in "The Talk of the Town" in paper copies of the New Yorker. What is going on in the one next to "Dept. of Meltdowns"? (Don't follow that link, the illustration I'm talking about isn't online.) In "Letter From Kalapet" a Peter Arno-ish couple is looking at a newsstand; in "Postscript" there's a cityscape (I don't think it's any section of the Manhattan skyline per se); but what's going on in "Dept. of Meltdowns"? Is that a malfunctioning coffee machine striking the guy on the head? What are the things that look like a pair of glasses on the table to the left? Surely some Opiniatrety reader has a copy of the New Yorker and can explain this to me.

Posted by Matt Weiner at January 6, 2005 06:51 PM


I take the machine to be a juicer and it looks to me like the guy is dropping an orange half. And those things that look like a pair of glasses to you look like a pair of glasses to me too. But maybe they're meant to be more oranges and the connecting line is really meant to be another orange half hidden behind the front two oranges.

If it is a juicer, the drawing still doesn't make any sense.

Thanks a lot. I didn't notice the drawing when I read the magazine the other day. Now I'm going to be up all night trying to figure it out.

Posted by: Dave Reilly at January 7, 2005 05:48 PM

It's a Rube Goldberg device designed for the junior-faculty-in-training - the user sits at a table while a reciprocating hammer bashes him or her over the head, repeatedly, like a jackboot stamping on a human face, forever. Sorry, I got a little carried away there. Anyway, the aspiring academic is also supposed to squeeze lemons into his eyes while this is going on, and you can see the inexperienced user dropping a lemon. Train harder, weakling!

I'm positing this self-referentially Goldbergian theory mostly because it's a favorite of my department chair. Personally, I think it's a juicer handle whacking a schlemiel, perhaps to illustrate something about unintended consequences, but calling something a juicer never got anyone tenure.


Posted by: Martin Marprelate at January 11, 2005 11:37 PM

Juicers have handles? Who knew. I think "juicer" wins the contest. (N.B.: Though the other little drawings are perfectly comprehensible, they seem to have nothing whatsoever to do with the articles they're next to. Note also that I think "newsstand" contains the letter "e.")

Posted by: Matt Weiner at January 12, 2005 10:51 AM

Er, and right I am. Where I go wrong is in thinking that it doesn't contain any other vowels. Probably I should just correct this unobtrusively, using my superpowers as the guy who runs this blog.

Posted by: Matt Weiner at January 12, 2005 10:52 AM