October 13, 2016

Return of the Short-Fingered Vulgarian


“To me, the fingers still look abnormally stubby.” ---Graydon Carter

“To me, the fingers still look abnormally stubby.” — Graydon Carter

SPY magazine, which coined the immortal phrase “short-fingered vulgarian” (you know the one) during its run as New York’s premier satirical publication in the late eighties and early nineties, is back! At least until Election Day.

Earlier this week, SPY co-founder Kurt Andersen announced that Esquire will “produce an online pop-up SPY during the last thirty days of the presidential campaign.”

The first pieces include the headlines “Trumpercise! How to Get as Fit as the Donald,” “Is Donald Trump Genetically Defective?,” “A Visit to the Trump Family Gravesite Took a Very Trumpian Turn,” and, in a bid for some semblance of equal-opportunity ridicule, “TV Writers Know How to Make Hillary More Likable,” which is accompanied by an image of Clinton’s face superimposed on Jennifer Aniston as Rachel in Friends.

Back in March, while Trump was still an unlikely-seeming contender for the GOP nomination, Andersen and fellow SPY co-founder Graydon Carter (now the editor of Vanity Fair) spoke to NPR’s David Folkenflik about Trump’s enduring “appeal as a target of derision”:

“I don’t want it to happen,” Andersen said of Trump’s prospect of winning the election, “but I gotta say, up until the moment he’s sworn in, I find it wondrous and astonishing and a perverse pleasure.”



Taylor Sperry is a former Melville House editor.