Magazine September 1, 2021, Issue

S. J. Perelman: A Humorist for All Seasons

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S. J. Perelman: Writings, edited by Adam Gopnik (Library of America, 594 pp., $35)

Ours is a society spilling over with disposable forms of entertainment. From viral videos to fleeting memes, YouTube, Twitter, and other social-media platforms provide a constellation of time-wasting choices.

Of course, quick, relatively undemanding amusements are not a new phenomenon, nor must they be a pernicious one. Popular songs, light verse, and newspaper comic strips are all legitimate forms intended for rapid consumption rather than sustained contemplation. Equally valid and lasting — though far less widely consumed than whatever is floating around on social media — is the sort of short-form light humor mastered by the writers associated with the old,

To Read the Full Story

This article appears as “A Humorist for All Seasons” in the September 1, 2021, print edition of National Review.

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Peter Tonguette — Mr. Tonguette writes about the arts for the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Examiner, The American Conservative, and other publications.

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