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."

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

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."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Contesting Chandoba's Photo Caption Competition

Bob Mankoff of The New Yorker said on January 19 2011:

"When The New Yorker started its caption contest, in 2005, it quickly became the world’s most popular weekly cartoon caption contest. I don’t have any data to back this up, but back then, just having a weekly cartoon caption contest made us the world’s most popular one. Five years and more than a million and a half entries later, a Google search for “cartoon caption contest” yields about 292,000 results...

I’ve been pretty frustrated by all of them, not due to the copycat factor but because I haven’t been able to win..."

I can understand Mr. Mankoff's frustration.

I wonder when did the first picture (photo, cartoon...) caption contest debut anywhere in the world?

For me it started in children's magazine 'Chandamama'. Marathi version of it 'Chandoba' (चांदोबा) was launched in April 1952. (Past issues of Chandoba are available here.)

I don't know in which month's issue the caption contest was launched but when I started reading the magazine, c 1967, it was well established.

In Marathi, it was called 'photo jodanaave chadaaod' (फोटो जोडनावे चढाओढ). I think as a family we tried to win the contest by attempting it a couple of times but failed.

Here is a typical contest:

Contest: from January 1969 issue

Winning Entry: from March 1969 issue by Ms. Lata Kharade, Mumbai (लता खराडे, मुंबई)

"आपण दोघे मित्र जणू / शुभ्र वेषांत !" "मैत्रीचा गोड घास घे / तुझ्या मुखांत !!"

(p.s. Today they may get an entry saying that we shouldn't encourage feeding animals in captivity at zoo!)