One of the biggest perks of being on staff at the New Yorker is that you get an unflattering cartoon avatar of your face attached to all of your bylines. It’s a point of pride for many writers, and getting your little cartoon means that you’ve finally made it in the eyes of God and David Remnick.
But it appears some people are so attached to their avatars that they still use them after their time at the magazine ends. By “some people'' I am speaking specifically about Jeffrey Toobin, who was fired for allegedly cranking his hog during a Zoom meeting last year.
Toobin was fired last November, which means that for the last ten months he has continued to use his New Yorker cartoon as his Twitter avatar, despite no longer working at the publication. This is the media equivalent of stolen valor.
I will do some free labor for the New Yorker right now, and create a set of rules about how and when you can use the cartoon version of yourself on social media.
- When you receive your cartoon, you can make it your avatar and write exactly one tweet about how excited you are.
- If you leave the New Yorker of your own volition, you can keep the avatar for, like, a month. After that you must change it to your professional headshot, a picture of your dog, or a horrible picture of a TV screen on which you are appearing on cable news.
- If you are fired from the New Yorker in absolute, life-exploding disgrace, you gotta hang it up ASAP. Any photo of you will do, but it’s so embarrassing for you to keep the New Yorker cartoon. Everyone knows you got fired, we aren’t going to forget what happened (jerking off during work hours) just because you continue to use the cartoon.
While it’s weird that Jeff is still using his cartoon as his avatar, it’s even weirder that the New Yorker hasn’t intervened. Do the writers get to claim some modicum of ownership over their likeness, even if they’ve cast ignominy upon the institution? Is “Dad” allowed to tell them to cut the shit and change the picture?
The whole situation reeks of major loser behavior. Being obsessed with a job that fired you is embarrassing for Toobin, and being unable to make him change his avatar makes me think that no one in a leadership position at the New Yorker has any gumption. Between the two losers, it might actually be Toobin who wins here.