It is my pleasure to announce, on behalf of the editors, a new feature at Tablet magazine, which will consist, beginning today, of regular contributions by Jules Feiffer. The editors have not told me what these contributions will be, and neither has Feiffer. I am in the dark. And yet, I know, and everyone knows, and the cosmos agrees, that his contributions will be brilliant. It will be a matter of exquisite ink lines. There will be humor. The dialogue will be pitched to a human voice. I trust that, politically speaking, he will do his best to overthrow the government.
Will he do this by drawing cartoons? It could well be so, though for all I know, he may write a play, or a screenplay, or a serial graphic novel. If he composes sermons, they will be OK with me. I hope he denounces his critics, if, by chance, he has critics (but who would criticize him?). Many years ago, when I had the good fortune to be his colleague at the late and lamented Village Voice, he discovered that he had indeed been denounced by a critic in the Voice theater department for his ideological errors. And he replied at the Obie Awards ceremony, not with a drawing or a cartoon, but with a speech. He was indignant. He was enraged. The audience consisted of theater people, who responded by waving their swords (the audience was armed because the Flying Karamazov Brothers had won an award), and it was good to see. It was the wrath of the Lord at the nitpickers of correct thought.
Jules has told me that, when he was a young boy, he was inspired to pursue his career as political cartoonist by studying cartoons from the old socialist magazine from Greenwich Village in the 1910s, The Masses, where the cartoons were immortally great. A line is thus drawn from The Masses to Tablet magazine, which may seem like a quirky line. But history is a quirky line, for which we should be grateful.
Furthermore, Bark, George is an excellent children’s book. It pays homage to the recalcitrant nature of the human species, or perhaps of dogs.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the newest and greatest contributor to Tablet magazine, the distinguished Jules Feiffer.
Paul Berman is Tablet’s critic-at-large. He is the author of A Tale of Two Utopias, Terror and Liberalism, Power and the Idealists, and The Flight of the Intellectuals.