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On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog
October 27, 2013 4:27 PM   Subscribe

Cartoonist Peter Steiner created The New Yorker's most popular gag panel. What happened after that?
posted by paleyellowwithorange (26 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's no "Fusilli, you crazy bastard."
posted by escabeche at 4:40 PM on October 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


Wow, I always think of 1995 as The Year of The Internet. I can't believe that cartoon is 20 years old. Amazing.
posted by sweetkid at 4:46 PM on October 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


I found this article weird- sort of unfocused. Was it about what happened to Steiner? Cartooning? The internet in general? The New Yorker is good at sprawling articles, tying many topics together into a cohesive story. This writer is not. IMO.

And apparently the "crazy bastard" got edited out of later cartoons and just became "how the hell are you"- definitely something was lost there.
posted by bquarters at 5:43 PM on October 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, there's not much to tell about what happened. It's not going to get him mobbed on the street or invited to the Kennedy Center or anything. The mere fact that it survived the four-day half-life of most cartoons is something by itself, let alone a two-decade stint as an iconic symbol.

But the strength of this article may well lie simply in recapitulating the origins for those who've never heard them. Do note this is not a New Yorker article, it's The Magazine (even if the former sometimes uses the latter as a self-appellation), which is " five medium-length articles every two weeks on a wide variety of subjects of interest to curious people."

I remember a fight on my local BBS about how stupid it was. I was its only defender. Of course, I'm one of the few who will admit to actually liking New Yorker cartoons to begin with as previous threads will attest.
posted by dhartung at 6:07 PM on October 27, 2013


what? I thought everyone liked New Yorker cartoons.
posted by sweetkid at 6:20 PM on October 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, I like NY cartoons..
posted by ovvl at 6:25 PM on October 27, 2013


It's no "Fusilli, you crazy bastard."

It's "Fusilli, you crazy bastard. How are you?" in the original, I think. You need the "How are you?" because it's a joke about eating fusilli only once or something in your life a long time ago but it was a good experience (exaggerated and personified for effect). Explaining New Yorker cartoons in detail is fun.
posted by Bwithh at 6:41 PM on October 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


also some kind of subtle adult joke about pasta eating other pasta a long time ago
posted by Bwithh at 6:43 PM on October 27, 2013


"Marketers, of course, want to erase anonymity and even pseudonymity, because the less knowable an individual is, the less value that person has to advertisers."
posted by spacewaitress at 7:13 PM on October 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of a comment by BentPenguin from a few months back:

"The way Altavista worked, sans tracking cookies and beacons, caring not one whit about my search habits was awesome.
Harkening back to that innocent web 1.0 era from the here and now of browsing habits and correlated disanonymization and the malwarian interwebs is a bit tragic.
These last 18 mos are basically when I stopped loving the internet."
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 7:29 PM on October 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, I for one was shocked to learn that he's earned north of $200k on that cartoon. Nice that he's been rewarded for its ubiquity.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 7:29 PM on October 27, 2013


It's "Fusilli, you crazy bastard. How are you?"

Yes, I know that.

I disagree with your interpretation!
posted by escabeche at 7:38 PM on October 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Most popular? Was 'Christ, what an asshole' not an actual strip?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:41 PM on October 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


it's a joke about eating fusilli only once or something in your life a long time ago but it was a good experience

I thought it was a joke about Fusilli because it has a crazy shape. Curly and all 
posted by sweetkid at 7:44 PM on October 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


Of course it’s about the pasta shape. Bob Mankoff also has no idea what it’s about: “they’re both crazy, because they’re pieces of pasta.”
posted by migurski at 7:50 PM on October 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Why fusilli?"
"Because you're silly. Get it?"
posted by sevenyearlurk at 8:35 PM on October 27, 2013


What happened after that?

The cats took over.
posted by azpenguin at 8:38 PM on October 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


most popular...pffff...I say it's spinach, and I say the hell with it.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 9:52 PM on October 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I say it's spinach and I say the hell with it" gets almost 1.5m hits on Google. "On the internet nobody knows you're a dog", 48.3m. We all have our personal favourites (I'd take anything by Thurber over both of them together) but there's a clear winner here.
posted by Hogshead at 2:33 AM on October 28, 2013


Despite having copies of The New Yorker somewhere in the house literally my entire life, I had no idea that was where "on the internet..." comes from.
posted by bettafish at 3:36 AM on October 28, 2013


All the dogs who were on the internet in 1993 are now dead. Kind of sad, really.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:03 AM on October 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Sadly, the cartoonist is currently involved in a lawsuit with the Estate of Tom Wilson over the cartoon.
posted by Atreides at 7:10 AM on October 28, 2013


In 1993, I knew plenty of people who were worried about the Clipper chip and what was to emerge a few ywars later as Carnivore. But that prolly says more about the people I know than it says about the Internet.

I was once chastised right here on the blue for making a spinach-hell with it remark. Therefore, I'm going to point out that Google hits do not find the pre-intertubes print, radio, and TV references to the Spinach cartoon.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 8:14 AM on October 28, 2013


Ugh, I can't stand how all you philistines constantly miss the point on that fusilli cartoon. Fusilli is literally the bastard child of Rotini (on the phone) and Cavatappi (clearly); moreover Fusilli in Italian means "one who shoots" (see the English cognate "fusillade") so the joke is that Rotini is calling up his estranged bastard son to arrange for a hit on a more powerful pasta-mafioso like Linguine or ringleader Orichette. Pasta has brains, of course, because it is made from semolina ("brain" in Latin). It's really a brilliant miniature soap opera composed of startling wordplay. But I shouldn't expect non-subscribers like you to understand.
posted by miyabo at 11:00 AM on October 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


And now I'm hungry. THANKS A LOT.
posted by Atreides at 1:23 PM on October 28, 2013


First, they do an online search.
posted by y2karl at 7:51 PM on October 28, 2013


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