spacer Few Are Chosen
Few Are Chosen

Although he first became famous as an acerbic satirist, Sorel has modes other than anger and often muses whimsically on the historical past of his own life and career. His humor is multilayered; subtle comic manipulations often underlie the obvious joke. In this image, Sorel suggests that satiric art should be taken as seriously as any other cultural product. He compares himself to three glamorous successes--John Barrymore, Gary Cooper, and John Updike-- each of whom abandoned an impulse for cartooning to pursue his career. The image seems like a deft piece of self-mockery until the final panel, when the artist sets his own endeavors above the others by declaring that cartooning, unlike acting or writing, "takes a special kind of talent."

Ink and watercolor, 1988
Original illustration for The Nation, December 12, 1988
Collection of the artist
© Edward Sorel

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