"Christ, what an asshole." Before yesterday afternoon I had some familiarity with this phrase (I become easily enraged by drivers who tailgate while texting). However before yesterday I was unaware that this phrase has a place in the history of comics. It was offered up by Charles Lavoie as the Universal Solution to all future New Yorker caption contests.
As you would expect potential rival phrases have arisen. A New Yorker article posted by Robert Mankoff listed some great examples (see below). To read the full New Yorker article and see all the caption suggestions, or more excitingly to post your own suggestions, click here!
“I don’t get this cartoon, and I’m in it.”
"My being riddled with tumors, this seems insignificant."
Now here is where I need some help!
A new and exciting twist to the Universal Caption came to my attention when an excellent friend (thank you to Anne Howe) linked me to a website by Robert Sinclair. He posited that the phrase could move well beyond the New Yorker comics and could be inserted into all comics. His website posts examples from a hillarious range of comic sub-genres. From the superhero single issue (Batman) to the weekly online comic (XKCD) to my personal nostalgic favorite the fantasy graphic novel (Elfquest)!
Of course I wanted to try it instantly. I settled on one of my most beloved comic artists, Alison Bechdel. Her weekly strip "Dykes to Watch Out For" ran from the the 1980's to 2008 and is tons of fun. Most of her characters actually read the New Yorker so I thought it would be easy peasy lemon squeezy.
Yeah, not so much. I am having trouble making the phrase work. The problem, it turned out, was subtext. Her comics are full of sarcasm and wit, but also rich back-stories and nuance. Click on each excerpt for the pleasure of reading the complete and original comic.
Please help me figure out which of these options (if any) I should submit!