Garry Trudeau Ralph Schoenstein

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Ralph Schoenstein

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

"An Especially Tricky People" is a nicely satirical look at certain parts of the current scene, from the inscrutable East to the inscrutable West. Unfortunately, the current scene changes too fast for political satire in a book: To talk about Mao Tse-tung and Gerald Ford today is to talk about the husband of a traitor and a golfer at N.B.C.; but Trudeau is so sharp that even his dated panels trigger laughs. For example, the questioning of an ambassador by a United States Senator:

"Did the President say anything about your accelerating obsession with drugs?"

"Of course not. Jerry and I have an understanding. I don't make any comments about his lack of motor skills and he doesn't hassle me about my interest in stimulants. Besides, his son's a pot head."

"Oh, c'mon—I heard he doesn't inhale."

Trudeau drawings are as static as Jules Feiffer's: Characters are frozen into poses, and then they just talk for a dozen frames; but the talk is intelligently funny, so the lack of animation doesn't diminish the pleasure you feel. (p. 28)

Ralph Schoenstein, in The New York Times Book Review (© 1977 by The New York Times Company: reprinted by permission), May 15, 1977.