I ran into an interesting book of illustrations from 1942 by an artist named Constantin Ajalov, entitled Conversation Pieces.

I did an art piece centered around The New Yorker’s cartoons from World War II, all about the socialite women, who, in the 40s were almost exclusively Rockefeller Republican, who were very funny, indeed.  Ajalov was a major contributor at that time, his style unmistakable and maybe you’ll recognize his work here.

There are several military cartoons, as well, each with a satirical title and sometime a short editorial comment, provided by a lady named Janet Flanner.

Since the New York Times came out recently and confessed it was no longer interested in factual, honest journalism, which it had used as a way to distinguish itself from the tabloid dishonesty of other big city dailies for at least a century, I thought this short quote by Ms Flanner, below, in a book celebrating fashionable New York City thinking in the 1940s, might be of interest to you.

People not old enough to remember Hollywood classics such as “His Girl Friday” (1940), Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell, and “Nothing Sacred” (1937), Frederic March and Carole Lombard, both screenplays by Ben Hecht, may not recall that the general opinion held about reporters, the press, thanks to Hollywood, was that they were all lying bandits willing to destroy anyone or anything just to sell newspapers.

All except The New York Times.

See if Janet Flanner’s shoe of 1942 doesn’t fit the Gray Lady as well


The press used to report news, Now they make it. They used to live like literate mice. Now they are dined out like lions. News used to be a murder, an election, or maybe just another king in Europe slipped off his throne.

Now lots of news is about the journalists themselves. They are heroes in movie plots, cut romantic figures in novels, and marry heiresses on the stage. In real life they write their personal histories, patent their opinions in daily high-priced columns, give the President tips, prophesy the end of the world, girdle the globe, mold our minds on the air and aim to run the war.

News used to be cheap. Now it comes high because our very lives are at stake. It is no accident that a crack reporter used to be paid fifty a week and called it berries, and now figures his annual intake in grands and knows it is not hay.


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