Penguins and tuxedos

Today’s Bizarro plays on the association between penguins and tuxedos — with penguins in t-shirts and open-necked shirts instead of tuxedos:

  (#1)

There are other cartoons about penguins and tuxedos (and other cartoons about Casual Fridays, though I won’t look at them here); in fact, there are vast numbers of cartoons about penguins, which are easily anthropomorphized (they walk, or waddle, on two legs, and have arm-like, flipper-like wings) and are fascinatingly anomalous creatures (flightless birds that feed underwater and live in extreme climates and terrain). They are also gregarious and gather in large numbers, leading to cartoons about the difficulty of telling one penguin from another.

Now some words about actual penguins, and how some of them can easily be seen as wearing tuxedos, leading to altered photos of penguins *in* tuxedos and penguins as the emblems of tuexo rental stores; about tuxedos; and about Casual Fridays. Then a selection of penguin cartoons that haven’t already appeared on this blog.

Three penguin species that can be seen as tuxedo-wearing, if you’re inclined to anthropomorphize the creatures. The emperor penguin:

  (#2)

The Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) is the tallest and heaviest of all living penguin species and is endemic to Antarctica. (link)

The emperor penguin figures in a cartoon by Carol Stokes, entertainingly taking off on Hans Christian Andersen’s tale “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. in which the emperor is tricked into parading naked;

  (#3)

Next, the chinstrap and the Magellanic:

  (#4)

The Chinstrap Penguin (Pygoscelis antarcticus) is a species of penguin which is found in the South Sandwich Islands, Antarctica, Deception Island, the South Orkneys, South Shetland, South Georgia, Bouvet Island and Balleny. Their name derives from the narrow black band under their heads which makes it appear as if they are wearing black helmets, making them one of the most easily identified types of penguin. (link)

  (#5)

The Magellanic Penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus) is a South American penguin, breeding in coastal Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands, with some migrating to Brazil where they are occasionally seen as far north as Rio de Janeiro. It is the most numerous of the Spheniscus penguins. Its nearest relatives are the African, the Humboldt and the Galápagos Penguins. They are native to the Strait of Magellan in the cool climate of southern Chile, hence the name’s origin.  (link)

It’s a Magellanic that served as the model for this image of a penguin in a tuxedo by graphic designer Gunter Schobel:

  (#6)

Penguins then lend themselves to serving as emblems for tuxedo rental stores, like Mister Penguin Tuxedo Sales and Rentals, with stores in Anderson IN, Ottawa IL, Pueblo CO, and Salina KS. And as mascots for non-clothing organizations, notably the Linux operating system:

  (#7)

Tux is a penguin character and the official mascot of the Linux kernel. Originally created as an entry to a Linux logo competition, Tux is the most commonly used icon for Linux, although different Linux distributions depict Tux in various styles. (link)

Tux is a cartoon penguin, not easily identified with any particular species. He figures in this cartoon by Rob Cottingham:

  (#8)

Now about tuxedos, from Wikipedia;

A tuxedo (American English) or dinner suit or dinner jacket (British English) is a semi-formal evening suit [the fully formal alternative is the tailcoat, or tails] distinguished primarily by satin or grosgrain facings on the jacket’s lapels and buttons and a similar stripe along the outseam of the trousers. The suit is typically black (though may be midnight blue) and commonly worn with a formal shirt, shoes and other accessories [a bow tie, cufflinks, and cummerbund, in particular], most traditionally in the form prescribed by the black tie dress code.

Although many etiquette and sartorial experts have insisted for a century that tuxedo is less correct than dinner jacket, the first written reference to tuxedo predates dinner jacket by two years: tuxedo first appeared in 1889 while dinner jacket is dated only to 1891. Contrarily, the Prince of Wales had apparently ordered a “tailless dinner jacket” from his tailors in 1885.

Today, the terms are variously used in different parts of the world. Tuxedo (or, colloquially, tux [note the clipping]) is used most often in North America; it was associated with Tuxedo Park, a planned resort community developed as a hunting club in the Ramapo Mountains near New York City. In Britain “tuxedo” is sometimes used to refer to the white version of the suit jacket. Conversely, in North American, the white jacket is generally known as a dinner jacket.

In French, Italian, Portuguese, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian and also other European languages, the jacket is called a smoking. In French the shawl-collared version is le smoking Deauville, while the peaked-lapel version is le smoking Capri. In many places, it is often nicknamed a “penguin suit,” given its black and white colors. In the United States, it is also referred to as a “monkey suit” in slang. Street musicians with pet monkeys dressed them in miniature tuxes for entertainment.

And then Casual Friday. Again, from Wikipedia:

Casual Friday along with dressing casually during the week became very prevalent during the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s and early 2000s rooted in a relaxed California-based business culture. The day (also known as Dress-down Friday, or simply Casual day) is an American and Canadian trend which has spread to other parts of the world, wherein some offices may celebrate a semi-reprieve from the constrictions of a formal dress code. Whereas, during the rest of the week, business shirts, suits, ties, trousers, and dress shoes would be the norm, on Casual Friday workers might be allowed to wear more casual dress. Some companies might allow jeans, casual blouses or T-shirts, hoodies, track jackets, and sneakers/running shoes or even stocking feet, but others require business casual or smart casual dress. Some offices allow a themed dress down day. On this day, even managers in such workplaces are allowed to dress down.

The tropical roots of Casual Friday go back to at least 1947 in Hawaii, when the city of Honolulu allowed workers to wear the Aloha shirt part of the year. The term Aloha Friday dates from the 1960s, when the shirts were worn on Fridays instead of normal business attire. It may be seen as a corporate response attempting to raise worker morale in a sometimes stifling white-collar office environment. In the late 1970s, when the production of cheap clothing outside the United States became more widespread, there was a massive campaign by large clothing producers to make Casual Friday a weekly event.

In workplaces that have no dress codes some employees enjoy ‘Formal Fridays’ by dressing up on Friday.

Once again, I note how much cultural knowledge it takes to appreciate the humor of cartoons. The connection between penguins and tuxedos, what tuxedos look like and when and why they’re worn, what Casual Friday is — all that and more goes into making the Bizarro cartoon interpretable at all, and funny when interpreted.

Finally, four bonus penguin cartoons, one with a penguin in Antarctica, one with penguins in no identifiable place, and two with them bizarrely out of place. In Antarctica, a nasty, foul-mouthed penguin from Phil Selby:

  (#9)

Then from Doug Savage’s Savage Chickens:

 (#10)

And then the bizarrely out-of-place. With Sigmund Freud (from Rob Middleton):

  (#11)

And in the executive office, from Randy Glasbergen:

  (#12)

Glasbergen is a penguin enthusiast. From his website on 3/18/10:

For some reason, I love drawing penguin cartoons and they are some the most popular cartoons on my website. Whenever I put up new penguin cartoons, I always get some nice e-mail about them. (A few years ago, a group of penguin researchers actually invited me to visit them at the South Pole!) I’ve never put a bunch of my penguin cartoons together in one collection before…until now.

Glasbergen Cartoon Service offers cartoons about penguins in love, cartoons about penguins in the wild, cartoons about penguins with computers, cartoons about penguin researchers, cartoons about party penguins, cartoons about penguin romance, cartoons about penguins mating, cartoons about religious penguins, cartoons about penguins in business, customer service penguins, cartoons about penguin diet and eating habits, cartoons for penguin greeting cards, penguin cartoon posters, penguin cartoon mugs, penguin cartoon t-shirts, and more.

And that’s just from *one* cartoonist.

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