No. 38: “Final Seinfeld”

No. 38: “Final Seinfeld”

No. 38: “Final Seinfeld”

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
April 26 1998 3:30 AM

No. 38: “Final Seinfeld”

No. 38: "Final Seinfeld"

By Randy Cohen

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In a statement to Reuters announcing their breakup, they wrote, "We are stuck in a dead end. Today we are ending this project." Who is ending what?

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by 5 p.m. ET Sunday to e-mail your answer (NewsQuiz@slate.com).

Responses to this week's bonus question from Chris Kelly--"Final Seinfeld":

Describe the NewYorker's sure to be forthcoming Final Seinfeld cover. (Kelly's own suggestion: an Art Spiegelman knockoff of Hopper's Nighthawks, only it's Jerry's diner, and it's empty.)

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"Dusky cityscape by Sempé, where we see Kitty Genovese being murdered yet again, while her bloodcurdling screams fall on deaf ears yet again, as New Yorkers everywhere sit rapt before their televisions."--David Rakoff

"A Sempé cover showing a huge high-rise in Manhattan at night, and a clock on the building showing that it's 9 p.m., and in every window in the high-rise, we see that the television is on and someone is watching. And way down in a corner of the cover, kind of like Brueghel's Landscape With the Fall of Icarus, we see the figure of Newman, gleefully pulling his mail cart down the street."--Meg Wolitzer

"The same Coldstream Guard with the lone tear down his face from the Princess Diana memorial cover, only this time, he's watching television."--David Rakoff

"Jerry as Eustace Tilley, gazing through his monocle at a tiny, winged David Spade."--Russ Evansen (Andrew Solovay had a similar answer.)

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"The Soup Nazi in full SS regalia, using a bayonet to herd the Campbell's Soup Kids, with tears running down their plump cheeks and six-pointed gold stars reading 'Juden' on their coats, into a boxcar. The Seinfeld cast is watching, but are they doing anything to stop him? Nah, they'll just talk, talk, talk about how traumatized they are, collect their half-million dollars apiece, and go home."--Leslie Goodman-Malamuth

"A Michael Witte: Statue of Atlas from Rockefeller Center is at the door paying for a pizza, while the Statue of Liberty sits on the couch watching television."--David Rakoff

"A Lichtenstein drawing of Jerry, keys in hand, standing on a pot of gold in front of the Beresford complex. He is changing the name on the awning, from 'Beresford' to 'Spence School.' Entering the building are a bunch of ninth-grade girls in their newly pressed school uniforms. One girl, possessor of a Sephardic look and uncommonly large breasts, is taking the keys from Jerry's hands. In the background, we see Michael Richards, Jason Alexander, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus on the sidewalk, holding signs that spell out, 'Will Make Jerry Look Good for Food.' "--Larry Amaros

"I've already seen the Seinfeld cover, by the way. It's Kramer bursting into an empty room, a single tear in his eye. But since Spiegelman drew it and has apparently never seen the show, it's kind of hard to tell what's going on."--Larry Doyle

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"I think Chris Kelly nailed it; Tina Brown's probably scrambling to commission a new cover. Here's one: using the latest lenticular technology, perhaps The New Yorker could come out with an all Seinfeld special issue, the cover of which, when tilted just right, would reveal William Shawn spinning in his grave."--Tim Carvell

Click for more responses.

Randy's Wrap-Up

How do I love thee? Let me count the clichés. You've delightfully reduced The New Yorker to a series of predictable mannerisms, just like its real editor. Making the magazine determinedly "hot," Tina Brown has made it determinedly "providing pretty much what is available a dozen other places." Not many editors get to kill off an entire literary form, but she has managed it, eradicating the "casual"--the lapidary humor pieces that had long been a hallmark of the magazine. She has replaced that wonderful, idiosyncratic section with "Shouts and Murmurs," a lighthearted look at our follies and foibles. Here is an editor who prefers Christopher Buckley to Ian Frazier.

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There is an ecological argument to be made that diversity itself is good. The pre-Tina New Yorker ran pieces that could not have appeared in any other magazine. The all too New Yorker runs Ken Auletta, James Atlas, Daphne Merkin--writers whose work is numbingly available a dozen other places. Regardless of what you think of the current version of the magazine, it seems unarguable that the literary landscape has got smaller.

In her defense, Tina Brown is said to give a very nice party. So perhaps what's lost to journalism is gained by catering.

Leftovers

"I'm not a journalist. I'm a kangaroo!"--Matt Drudge

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