Disquiet, Please!: More Humor Writing From The New Yorker by New YorkerDisquiet, Please!: More Humor Writing From The New Yorker by New Yorker

Disquiet, Please!: More Humor Writing From The New Yorker

byNew YorkerEditorDavid Remnick, Henry Finder

Paperback | March 9, 2010

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The New Yorker is, of course, a bastion of superb essays, influential investigative journalism, and insightful arts criticism. But for eighty years it’s also been a hoot. Now an uproarious sampling of its funny writings can be found in this collection, by turns satirical and witty, misanthropic and menacing. From the 1920s onward—but with a special focus on the latest generation—here are the humorists who have set the pace and stirred the pot, pulled the leg and pinched the behind of America. The comic lineup includes Christopher Buckley, Ian Frazier, Veronica Geng, Garrison Keillor, Steve Martin, Susan Orlean, Simon Rich, David Sedaris, Calvin Trillin, and many others. If laughter is the best medicine, Disquiet, Please! is truly a wonder drug.
David Remnick is the editor of The New Yorker.Henry Finder is the editorial director of The New Yorker.From the Hardcover edition.
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Title:Disquiet, Please!: More Humor Writing From The New YorkerFormat:PaperbackDimensions:544 pages, 9.17 × 6.11 × 1.17 inPublished:March 9, 2010Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0812979974

ISBN - 13:9780812979978

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JAMES THURBER     THE BREAKING UP OF THE WINSHIPS   THE trouble that broke up the Gordon Winships seemed to me, at first, as minor a problem as frost on a windowpane. Another day, a touch of sun, and it would be gone. I was inclined to laugh it off, and, indeed, as a friend of both Gordon and Marcia, I spent a great deal of time with each of them, separately, trying to get them to laugh it off, too—with him at his club, where he sat drinking Scotch and smoking too much, and with her in their apartment, that seemed so large and lonely without Gordon and his restless moving around and his quick laughter. But it was no good; they were both adamant. Their separation has lasted now more than two months. I doubt very much that they will ever go back together again.   It all started one night at Leonardo’s, after dinner, over their Bénédictine. It started innocently enough, amiably even, with laughter from both of them, laughter that froze finally as the clock ran on and their words came out sharp and flat and stinging. They had been to see Anna Karenina. Gordon hadn’t liked it very much: He said that Fredric March’s haircut made the whole thing seem silly. Marcia had been crazy about it because she is crazy about Greta Garbo. She belongs to that considerable army of Garbo admirers whose enchantment borders almost on fanaticism and sometimes even touches the edges of frenzy. I think that, before everything happened, Gordon admired Garbo, too, but the depth of his wife’s conviction that here was the greatest figure ever seen in our generation on sea or land, on screen or stage, exasperated him that night. Gordon hates (or used to) exaggeration, and he respects (or once did) detachment. It was his feeling that detachment is a necessary thread in the fabric of a woman’s charm. He didn’t like to see his wife get herself “into a sweat” over anything and, that night at Leonardo’s, he unfortunately used that expression and made that accusation.   Marcia responded, as I get it, by saying, a little loudly (they had gone on to Scotch and soda), that a man who had no abandon of feeling and no passion for anything was not altogether a man, and that his so-called love of detachment simply covered up a lack of critical appreciation and understanding of the arts in general. Her sentences were becoming long and wavy, and her words formal. Gordon suddenly began to pooh-pooh her; he kept saying “Pooh!” (an annoying mannerism of his, I have always thought). He wouldn’t answer her arguments or even listen to them. That, of course, infuriated her. “Oh, pooh to you, too!” she finally more or less shouted. He snapped at her, “Quiet, for God’s sake! You’re yelling like a losing prizefight manager!” Enraged at that, she had recourse to her eyes as weapons and looked steadily at him for a while with the expression of one who is viewing a small and horrible animal, such as a horned toad. They then sat in moody and brooding silence for a long time, without moving a muscle, at the end of which, getting a hold on herself, Marcia asked him, quietly enough, just exactly what actor on the screen or on the stage, living or dead, he considered greater than Garbo. Gordon thought a moment and then said, as quietly as she had put the question, “Donald Duck.” I don’t believe that he meant it at the time, or even thought that he meant it. However that may have been, she looked at him scornfully and said that that speech just about perfectly represented the shallowness of his intellect and the small range of his imagination. Gordon asked her not to make a spectacle of herself—she had raised her voice slightly—and went on to say that her failure to see the genius of Donald Duck proved conclusively to him that she was a woman without humor. That, he said, he had always suspected; now, he said, he knew it. She had a great desire to hit him, but instead she sat back and looked at him with her special Mona Lisa smile, a smile rather more of contempt than, as in the original, of mystery. Gordon hated that smile, so he said that Donald Duck happened to be exactly ten times as great as Garbo would ever be and that anybody with a brain in his head would admit it instantly. Thus the Winships went on and on, their resentment swelling, their sense of values blurring, until it ended up with her taking a taxi home alone (leaving her vanity bag and one glove behind her in the restaurant) and with him making the rounds of the late places and rolling up to his club around dawn. There, as he got out, he asked his taxi-driver which he liked better, Greta Garbo or Donald Duck, and the driver said he liked Greta Garbo best. Gordon said to him, bitterly, “Pooh to you, too, my good friend!” and went to bed.   The next day, as is usual with married couples, they were both contrite, but behind their contrition lay sleeping the ugly words each had used and the cold glances and the bitter gestures. She phoned him, because she was worried. She didn’t want to be, but she was. When he hadn’t come home, she was convinced he had gone to his club, but visions of him lying in a gutter or under a table, somehow horribly mangled, haunted her, and so at eight o’clock she called him up. Her heart lightened when he said, “Hullo,” gruffly: He was alive, thank God! His heart may have lightened a little, too, but not very much, because he felt terrible. He felt terrible and he felt that it was her fault that he felt terrible. She said that she was sorry and that they had both been very silly, and he growled something about he was glad she realized she’d been silly, anyway. That attitude put a slight edge on the rest of her words. She asked him shortly if he was coming home. He said sure he was coming home; it was his home, wasn’t it? She told him to go back to bed and not be such an old bear, and hung up.   THE next incident occurred at the Clarkes’ party a few days later. The Winships had arrived in fairly good spirits to find themselves in a buzzing group of cocktail-drinkers that more or less revolved around the tall and languid figure of the guest of honor, an eminent lady novelist. Gordon late in the evening won her attention and drew her apart for one drink together and, feeling a little high and happy at that time, as is the way with husbands, mentioned, lightly enough (he wanted to get it out of his subconscious), the argument that he and his wife had had about the relative merits of Garbo and Duck. The tall lady, lowering her cigarette-holder, said, in the spirit of his own gaiety, that he could count her in on his side. Unfortunately, Marcia Winship, standing some ten feet away, talking to a man with a beard, caught not the spirit but only a few of the words of the conversation, and jumped to the conclusion that her husband was deliberately reopening the old wound, for the purpose of humiliating her in public. I think that in another moment Gordon might have brought her over, and put his arm around her, and admitted his “defeat”—he was feeling pretty fine. But when he caught her eye, she gazed through him, freezingly, and his heart went down. And then his anger rose.   Their fight, naturally enough, blazed out again in the taxi they took to go home from the party. Marcia wildly attacked the woman novelist (Marcia had had quite a few cocktails), defended Garbo, excoriated Gordon, and laid into Donald Duck. Gordon tried for a while to explain exactly what had happened, and then he met her resentment with a resentment that mounted even higher, the resentment of the misunderstood husband. In the midst of it all she slapped him. He looked at her for a second under lowered eyelids and then said, coldly, if a bit fuzzily, “This is the end, but I want you to go to your grave knowing that Donald Duck is twenty times the artist Garbo will ever be, the longest day you, or she, ever live, if you do—and I can’t understand, with so little to live for, why you should!” Then he asked the driver to stop the car, and he got out, in wavering dignity. “Caricature! Cartoon!” she screamed after him. “You and Donald Duck both, you——” The driver drove on.  

Editorial Reviews

“The laughs start with the title and never stop.”—Entertainment Weekly “Plenty of laugh-out-loud moments.”—Washington Post  “Some names in this collection elicit laughter upon mention—Woody Allen, Dorothy Parker, E. B. White—but meet some new voices—Simon Rich on free-range chicks, Noah Baumbach on his last relationship in the form of Zagat reviews.”—Chicago Tribune, Editor’s Choice  “[Spans] decades of brilliant lunacy. . . . Warning label: Guffaws are a side effect of ingesting Disquiet.”—San Diego Union-Tribune “Stellar indeed. . . . One of the joys of this collection is seeing how the writers approach a seemingly innocuous idea, then stretch it, shake it and bake it into something completely ridiculous and hilarious.”—Toronto Star