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From Issue #21 July 18, 2013

Everybody Knows You’re a Dog

After 20 years, a cartoon’s punch line has become ironic.

By Glenn Fleishman Twitter icon 

On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog.

“Nobody knows you’re a dog,” ©Peter Steiner/The New Yorker Collection/The Cartoon Bank.

Remember 1993? The World Wide Web had already been invented and nobody knew about it. The NCSA Mosaic browser had just appeared in a limited alpha release, but the text-based Gopher service was the closest thing most people had to an interactive user interface to dive into information on the Internet. The commercial use of the Net was still extremely limited in America, as the National Science Foundation’s NSFNet backbone ostensibly prohibited anything but academic use. In other countries, the Internet existed barely, if at all.

Into that void, New Yorker cartoonist Peter Steiner dropped what is now the most popular and well-known panel ever produced for the magazine.

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