On the Shelf
The Bean and the Cod
Like come of its predecessors, the new Lampoon presents well-executed art work, a good cartoon, and occasional clever writing. Like more of them, this "Boston Issue" contains much that is flat and insipid. Parody of both literature and situation has become a well-developed craft with the 'Poon staff; original humor has not.
In "Dink Stover at Harvard," Michael Arlen adopts the style and, more specifically, the dialogue of the Stover-at-Yale series. In several very clever passages he tosses a few adroit barbs at the CRIMSON:
"He opened the latter ('Fighting Editorials') and leafed through the cards, past 'Grass, Keeping Off of,' 'Food, Bad Condition of,' . . . until he came to "Freedom, of the Press'."
"At the Pleasure" shrewdly parodies the present undergraduate draft uneasiness with a "chances of Being Drafted" chart based on World Situation, declining eyesight, and class standing. And Charles Robinson's cartoon depicts a truck telescoped into a crevice in the road, with the bedraggled driver looking up at "Pardon This Inconvenience While Massachusetts Forges Another . . ." The other cartoons merely break up their respective pages.
The bulk of the issue is on Boston themes: Cabots, Lowells, beans, codfish, the Watch and Ward, non-sunshine, and non-health. The poetry concerns the disappearance and/or migration of Cabots and Lowells, and the appearance and/or immigration of fish. ("They come to Boston by boatload.") It is somewhat doggy and not very funny.
In the prose pieces, a streetear named Leehmere--via--Subway goes astray, the Watch and Ward detective deals with a mean-eyed gun-toting John Marquand, and, to get out of Bostonian non-health and into condition, panting Lowels trip over puffing Sedgwicks on their morning run around Boston Common. The latter situations are absurd, unlike the "Draft Chart," they are not absurd extensions of existing situations, but attempts at created, impossible absurdity, like Thurber's seal-in-the-bedroom. Such attempts constitute excellent humor when they succeed. These don't.
Though they were widely publicized, the annual "Movie Worsts" contain nothing startling. Elizabeth Taylor wins a classification as one of the "Most Objectionable Movie Children" and is awarded the first "Roscoe," choice which this writer, for one, loudly applauds.