Thursday, February 6, 2014

Andy Borowitz and Minnesota (Borowitz 02, PhD Ideas 04)

Today, two and a half years after I posted Andy Borowitz and his recycled names
I received this comment from Anonymous:
Just caught this after think the same thing about Tracy Klugian. One other thing I have noticed is that many of his academic experts are from the University of Minnesota.
That prompted me to search for "Andy Borowitz Minnesota." One of the top hits was about Al Franken becoming Senator.  I wondered whether Al and Andy know each other.  They might.  Both are humorists and Harvard graduates: Al '73 and Andy '80.  Al overlapped with Andy's brother Peter '74, whom I knew when we both worked at the Holyoke Center Ticket Office in Harvard Square.

Andy is originally from Ohio.  Ohio appears often, too, I believe. (My original post mentioned Klugian as a spokeman for Ohio Art).

Perhaps he chooses Minnesota because he is a Vikings fan.  The Vikings may appear more often than other football teams.

PhD Ideas
A student of American Humor, with a special interest in the early 21st century, could write a dissertation about the states where Borowitz's fictitional people live, the sports teams he uses (other than when their own actions are the reason for the story), and so on.  Which states dominate?  Are there trends?  Has Minnesota risen in popularity during the Senator Franken years?  Also, what is the M/F ratio of Borowitz' fictional people, overall and year by year? 

Andy, if you read this, please include more fictional women.  I don't ask for equality -- I understand how time-consuming it would be to overcome knee-jerk gender stereotyping, see --  but maybe you could aim for 25%?  You could call your next imagined female "Robertina Morslon" (I checked: there are no Robertina Morslons on the web) and it would be our little secret.  I can say that because nobody reads my blogs.  Except once in a while to read about Tracy Klugian.  That post has brought in more of the kindness of strangers than I would otherwise receive.

Good old Tracy.  There he is, still a HE, in today's Report.  This time Tracy is there with his wife.  How about Tracy and her husband?  Or, given that the piece is about Putin, Tracy and her wife?!

Yesterday's column had one fictional character, a Microsoft spokesMAN.  But hooray, two days ago Borowitz mentioned Carol Foyler, a mother from Akron, Ohio.  Foyler, although not as frequent a character as Tracy Klugian or Harland Dorinson, has appeared since at least 2007.  Even better, she is not always a mother.  She has been a senior this and a senior that, an executive director, a mayor ... and that's only looking at the first few hits. I apologize for not noticing Carol back when I wrote about Tracy, Harland and Davis.  Carol: You go, girl!

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