Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My Entries in the Moment Cartoon Caption Contest for May/June 2014

The Moment Cartoon Caption Contest has provided me with virtually all the success I've achieved to date from my yearlong cartoon caption contest endeavor. That's a polite way of saying that my submitted captions have had no effect whatsoever on the judges of the New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest, which is the big game in town. Nevertheless, with Moment, I've been named a finalist four times and my caption somehow won the January/February contest, even though I think it was one of my weaker entries. Disappointingly, the March/April contest marked the first time I failed to reach finalist status--apparently I amused only myself--so I redoubled my efforts and tried to be especially creative for Moment's May/June contest.

My entries, all fourteen of them, are presented below. You can see I actually rewrote a couple of them and thereby submitted very close variants. I really didn't want to do this, but in both cases I was simply trying to make a flawed caption better. Unfortunately, when I rewrite a caption, it looks as if I'm asking the judge to select between two very similar captions when it's really the rewrite I prefer. While it's refreshing to be able to submit multiple captions, it can be frustrating that there's no way to delete or edit an inferior caption when it's obvious it should be set aside. Moment, by the way, is a magazine of Jewish politics, culture, and religion, so a bit of Jewish humor is clearly permissible here. As always, the cartoon was created by the New Yorker's cartoon editor Bob Mankoff.

"In the Mossad, we call this date night."
"I did so tell her about us."
"We'll be a little late to the peace rally."
"Can I call you back in five rounds?"
“Let me get back to you in a couple of rounds.”
"In retrospect, we should never have given up coffee cold turkey."

"Good evening.  Earp residence."
"Quick--was today Amy's birthday?"
"Hello, FTD?"
"I'm putting you on speaker.  Please ask your daughter
to hear me out."
"Did I ever happen to mention where I hid the ammo?"
"How dare you call me on Shabbat?"
"How dare you call us on Shabbat?"

"Remember your suggestion that we spice things up with some role-playing?"

At long last, the May/June 2014 finalists have been revealed. I am pleased to report that I have once again been chosen as a finalist after my unfortunate lapse in the March/April contest. It's good to be in the game again, and anyway somebody's got to put Princeton on the map. As it turns out, I needn't have been so compulsive about submitting fourteen entries. I could have stopped at one. The finalists, then:
Moment Cartoon Caption Contest May/June 2014 Finalists

September 29, 2014 Update:  Winning Caption
Moment Cartoon Caption Contest May/June 2014 Winning Caption

March 25, 2015 Update:  Bob Mankoff's Original Caption
Bob Mankoff, "As a matter of fact, you did catch us at a bad time."
The New Yorker,
January 30, 1995, page 46

Note:  If you wish to vote for your favorite caption in the May/June contest, you have until August 10. While you're there, you may also enter the July/August contest.

You won't believe what Bob Mankoff inscribed in my copy of his memoir. I certainly don't.

My entire history of entering all variety of Cartoon Caption Contests has been preserved for posterity in the hopes of preventing others from repeating my costly mistakes, although it hasn't stopped me from repeating them.


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