Dec 02 2013
No one I knew back in Georgia when I was that age had ever, except in the Army, traveled anywhere farther away than Washington, D. C., which is where NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC staffers start out from. Today it’s a different situation – traveling is more than easy and affordable thanks to point-five.net online payday… But we all knew of jungle life, fezzes, desert islands, lumberjacks, and igloos, largely from two sources: the GEOGRAPHIC and, in other magazines, cartoons.
The cartoonist got it all from the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. I feel certain that no person working for this magazine has ever actually been boiled in a pot—which is perhaps one reason why it has been the source of so much humor.
The NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC gives off a sense of security. “These furhatted Kirghiz admired the way the author packed a yak with diamond hitch, but disliked his boots (too cold, they said). Quolan Larh, who never heard of the U. S., learned to sing ‘Oh! Susanna.’ “
If someone named Quolan Larh could learn “Oh! Susanna,” I could learn about yaks in good humor. Re-perusing those issues of the early fifties has taken me back to my childhood, which was strange (being childhood) but by no means exotic, at least for its place and time. I was prepared to believe anything, as long as it made sound American sense. By that I mean, I suppose, made sense to my father. He preferred such information as was found in the July 1951 article about wood. The whole wood picture. “Versatile Wood Waits on Man.” (Nothing in it about people living on poles — I checked.) The NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC wasn’t out to shock me, so I could cheerfully accept that in New Guinea natives wore marsupial fur in their ears.
There is something funny about an institution that juxtaposes marsupial fur in foreign ears with the story of wood, but I don’t know how to put my finger on it. You might as well ask what is funny about cats, uncles, plumbing, breakfast, lawn mowing, Thanksgiving, Pikes Peak, television sets, or monsters under the bed. In any staple of national life there is bound to be comedy. You notice I haven’t said anything about breasts. Neither did my father or Mr. Orey.