A third-rate cartoonist we just can’t forget: James Thurber

From Roger Ebert's spectacular Twitter feed, in memory of the incomparable James Thurber,  classic essay/set of drawings, via the Library of America, called Lady on the Bookcase.

Goes something like this…

One day twelve years ago an outraged cartoonist, four of whose drawings had been rejected in a clump by The New Yorker, stormed into the office of Harold Ross, editor of the magazine. “Why is it,” demanded the cartoonist, “that you reject my work and publish drawings by a fifth-rate artist like Thurber?” Ross came quickly to my defense like the true friend and devoted employer he is. “You mean third-rate,” he said quietly, but there was a warning glint in his steady gray eyes that caused the discomfited cartoonist to beat a hasty retreat.

With the exception of Ross, the interest of editors in what I draw has been rather more journalistic than critical. They want to know if it is true that I draw by moonlight, or under water, and when I say no, they lose interest until they hear the rumor that I found the drawings in an old trunk, or that I do the sketches while my nephew makes the sketches. 

If you like American humor, you really should read it, if you haven't already.  

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

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