G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

W H Auden: "But in my arms till break of day / Let the living creature lie. / Mortal, guilty, but to me/ The entirely beautiful."

Will Self: “To attempt to write seriously is always, I feel, to fail – the disjunction between my beautifully sonorous, accurate and painfully affecting mental content, and the leaden, halting sentences on the page always seems a dreadful falling short. It is this failure – a ceaseless threnody keening through the writing mind – that dominates my working life, just as an overweening sense of not having loved with enough depth or recklessness or tenderness dominates my personal one.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Art Spiegelman: "You know words in a way are hitting you on the left side of your brain, music and visual arts hit on the right side of the brain, so the idea is to pummel you, to send you from left brain to right brain and back until you're as unbalanced as I am."

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन व पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Leo Cullum, I think I'd never laugh again. Then I'll see your drawings...

Adam Philips: 'The world without the people who matter to us is not the same world and so not the world at all. Life becomes progressively stranger as we get older - and we become increasingly frantic to keep it familiar, to keep it in order - because people keep changing the world for us by dying out.'

Leo Cullum whose pictures gave me great joy died on Oct 23 2010 at the age of 68. To see many of his cartoons, please visit The Cartoon Bank of New Yorker here.

68 is a dreaded number for me because my mother too died at that age. These days my vanished world is divided between those who die at or before 68 and those who die later.

In 2008-09, I attempted writing a caption for six of his cartoons as a part of The New Yorker's “Cartoon Caption Contest”. You can find those efforts on this blog.

I thought his pictures were like deceptively simple puzzles. Visually very funny, they tickled me...I would start smiling just looking at the 'frog' eyes of his characters...I thought the caption would now just pour out of me.

It didn't.

I didn't know how Mr. Cullum looked. I thought he looked like one of his own characters. For instance, like either of them below.


(courtesy: The New Yorker)

I wish he did. But he didn't. I discovered that on Oct 26 2010.


(courtesy: David Strick and The New York Times)

WILLIAM GRIMES writes:

"...In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, Mr. Cullum managed the delicate feat of finding humor when the prevailing national mood was black. The issue of The New Yorker that came out immediately after the attacks carried no cartoons, but Mr. Cullum’s was the first cartoon that the magazine’s readers saw the following week..." (The New York Times, Oct 25 2010)


(courtesy: The New Yorker)

Marathi humorist P L Deshpande (पु ल देशपांडे) has written how a radio interviewer laughed when Pu La talked about his aunt's death. When Deshpande asked how he could laugh about her death, the interviewer laughed some more!

Such is the life of a clown.

And perhpas a cartoonist.

"...In 1966 he was sent to Vietnam, where he flew 200 missions, most in support of ground-troop operations, but at one point he flew secret bombing runs over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos. “Who these were secret from I’m still not sure,” Mr. Cullum told Holy Cross magazine in 2006. “The North Vietnamese certainly knew it wasn’t the Swiss bombing them.”..."