Sunday, September 13, 2015

My Entries in the Moment Cartoon Caption Contest for July/August 2015

New Yorker cartoonist Benjamin Schwartz makes his debut in the Moment Cartoon Caption Contest for July/August 2015. As in the previous contest, I submitted a total of three entries:

"Young lady, might I offer you a little friendly advice?"
"You understand that minions don't get to wear the cape?"
"We pioneered the extreme workday."

That first one may have been a little too nonspecific and the second has an awkward question format, but with that last caption I thought I had it right. I never did submit the other captions I had come up with:
"Hasn't word gotten out that we hire the fashion forward?"
"You shouldn't trust anyone here without a cape."
"I still love saving the day but I hate the paperwork."

"Isn't that what the devil wears?"
"The dress code still says cape, but these days everyone's a rebel."

Now the three finalists have been selected and my instincts proved sound:
Moment Cartoon Caption Contest Finalists July/August 2015

This turns out to be quite an object lesson in caption-writing. I submit my finely-crafted, five-word caption that seems to fit the cartoon like a glove and then someone else comes along and whips out his codpiece. I am reminded of a line from "Marlowe," a long-forgotten rock musical, quoted in the Times: 

The insanity begins with the opening scene, in which Queen Elizabeth I (Margaret Warncke) dispatches a lover with the line, "Don't forget your codpiece!" 
Frank Rich
The New York Times, October 13, 1981

Lets face it:  codpieces are funny, and--no excuses now--I've known it since at least 1981. Nevertheless, this is a good start for me in the Ben Schwartz run. Even better, my previous caption won the May/June contest with the last Bob Mankoff cartoon. That helps my statistics a great deal. Let's do the math. Of the thirteen contests I've entered, my caption has made it to finalist status in eleven. As my captions have no purchase whatsoever over at the New Yorker's exceedingly popular caption contest, I consider this an example of the big fish effect, also known as the small pond effect. Meanwhile, of the ten completed contests in which I have been a finalist I have now won three, and I don't need a calculator to tell you that's an actual winning percentage of 30%, against a statistical 33% chance of winning, all things being equal. But now I'm up against a codpiece.

November 21, 2015 Update:  Winning Caption

Moment Cartoon Caption Contest Winning Caption July/August 2015

Note:  Let your voice be heard! Please vote for your favorite caption in the July/August contest by October 15. I promise I won't be angry if you choose a caption that makes fun of a device meant to protect male modesty.

While you're there, you yourself can enter the new September/October Caption Contest. Once again, the Moment Caption Contest cartoon is by Benjamin Schwartz. I've already submitted a few choice entries.

Here's a riddle: What do you call a book that is coauthored by Robert Ludlum, Philip Roth, and J. K. Rowling? How about The Mankoff Prophecy? Check out the link to see what he accidentally predicted in my copy of his memoir. The prophecy is now 75% fulfilled. Whatever became of Bob Mankoff anyway?

Cartoon caption contests remain a mainstay of discussion around here. Feel free to join the conversation.


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