Remnick was hyping his 656-page book. The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama. (The subtitle works better with Bill Clinton, if you ask me.) Stewart immediately confronted him over the book's absurd length. "You could kill muscats with this thing," said the host as he slammed the massive tome down and glared with mock anger at the bewildered author.
The most enlightening segment of the interview, however, came when Stewart brought up the Caption Contest. He said he's been sending the New Yorker the same caption every week for a year. To
Stewart's supposedly perennial caption about Obama is mostly a sarcastic cheap shot that happens to be topical and a bit funny. In other words: an Anti-Caption. Also, while the New Yorker narrows the field to three "finalists," only the Anti-Cap offers the highly coveted "Honorable Mention" distinction. Some weeks there are dozens given out. And by now it's painfully clear that are no restrictions against entries that are insensitive, illogical, sick, stupid, prevented, or worst or all, dull as dish water. (And, as I've said many times, redundancy is not an issue. )
Also telling was the response to Stewart's gripe about being snubbed: "We can put the fix in," said Remnick with a sly smile. It seemed he was just trying to bring a bit of hope to a sad tortured old guy from Jersey who just wants someone somewhere to read his stupid caption entry. My advice to Jon Stewart and to all those who feel shunned and abandoned by the New Yorker's Caption Contest: Come to the Anti-Caption Contest where every caption is published for the world to see and "Honorable Mention" simply means it didn't suck.
Shortly after confronting Remnick, Stewart abruptly ended the interview (Yes, the half-hour was up but you could sense the tension.)