I like Ted Talks. I love that they enable me to learn about fascinating subjects I would otherwise never know existed. Also, I find it comforting to think there are so many smart people in the world working hard to acquire vast amounts of knowledge. And it’s so nice that they then deliver their life’s work to me in 20 palatable minutes. I know that’s lazy, but it all suits me perfectly because I’ve always been interested in 2,000 things at once. Ted Talks are exactly long enough to enable me to sound like I kind of know what I’m talking about without boring me (or causing me to bore the people I talk to). I have always been much better suited to being the jack of all trades than the master of one.
Anyway, I came across this Ted Talk by Bob Mankoff, the cartoon editor of my favorite publication, The New Yorker. His talk is about The New Yorker’s criteria for choosing their famously funny cartoons and about what makes a cartoon funny in the first place. He is charming and funny and gives a brilliant analysis, plus the video managed to increase my appreciation for The New Yorker’s cartoons, which I would not have thought possible.
I would not typically consider most Ted Talks as a viable blog subjects, but this one is so smart and so funny, I couldn’t keep it to myself. I promise tomorrow, I’ll post something pretty.
By the way, if you’re also a fan of The New Yorker cartoons, I highly recommend you get The New Yorker Cartoon Caption game. It’s great fun for smart gatherings of 6 or more people, and we’ve enjoyed many a screamingly-funny night with our friends playing this game.