The blog of Richard Thompson, caricaturist, creator of "Cul de Sac," and winner of the 2011 Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Why Things Were

Here are some old things to share while I compile my massive & exhaustive report on My Visit to New Orleans. Back in the early '90s ace Wash Post reporter/Renaissance Man Joel Achenbach wrote a weekly column called Why Things Are. He'd been doing it for the Miami Herald, and when he came DC he kept it going. The deal was, he'd answer any question, especially if it was interesting, but the question had to be a Why question. Like, Why do you see stars when you rub your eyes, Why are there no green cars, Why are aliens always bald, Why don't we slosh around more since we're mostly made of water? The only non-Why question I remember him answering was What does the inside of your nose smell like, and I think that was adroitly rephrased into a Why question.

And my job was, I got to illustrate Joel's column. It was a dream job; they never cared what I did, so long as it was spelled right and wasn't salacious, and the subject matter was so far-ranging and the column's tone was so sprightly that the only work was in keeping up with Joel. Gene Weingarten edited the column, and it was after working with him on Why Things Are that he suggested I try a weekly cartoon.

These are some old Why illustrations I found in a drawer yesterday while looking for an old drawingof Scott McClellan.

Why didn't the Black Death kill everybody off?

Why does everybody drive so fast?

Why are Beavis & Butthead funny?

Why does food spoil? Or something like that, all the other ones had a note on it except this one. It might've been Why does the Seven Eleven sell those revolting hot dogs? For which there is no answer.


here today, gone tomorrow said...

I LOVED Achenbach's column. Still miss him. Dang, he made me laugh hard.

Dennis said...

Sun-Ripe Potato Salad ... one of the best funny background signs ever put into a cartoon.

Now that I know you have a blog, I'm adding it to my list of blogs that I think are interesting. You sir, have a blog that is a source of interestingness. Keep up the good work and the Cul de Sacking.

Mike Rhode said...

The question about the 7-11 hotdogs should really be - who buys them? More than once?