Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Gut Yontif

They are in fact probably celebrating Rosh Hashanah, but what's a little cultural misappropriation among friends? Hard to say what's more poignant: the inscription, the frozen archetypal pose, the jazzy hatbands, the elaborate breast-pocket ornamentation, the apparent wariness of the man on the left, the apparently crazed but probably satirically self-aware determination of the man on the right--or that man's jacket and collar. Is he hoping to grow into them? Is he wearing loaners provided by the photographer? Did he get a special deal on them? Or is it all a gag?

Either way, that man can be our model for this new year: striding forth fiercely, unflappable in flapping garments, responding to laughs with a burning stare, as well-protected as a Zurich Dadaist in a costume of cardboard tubes, as single-mindedly forward-looking as a locomotive, as self-possessed as the resourceful pelican, as optimistic as the ambitious woodpecker. Thus we apostrophize 2008: Behave yourself!