Today’s Pearls Before Swine, in a long series:
Once again, Pig takes an expression (boots on the ground) literally.
From an ad for the Teeter machines designed to stretch you out and make you feel better, a reference to the “benefits of inversion”.
Inversion has multiple senses, including some in linguistics, but also:
Sexual inversion is a term used by sexologists, primarily in the late 19th and early 20th century, to refer to homosexuality. Sexual inversion was believed to be an inborn reversal of gender traits: male inverts were, to a greater or lesser degree, inclined to traditionally female pursuits and dress and vice versa. The sexologist Richard Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing described female sexual inversion as “the masculine soul, heaving in the female bosom”. In its emphasis on gender role reversal, the theory of sexual inversion resembles transgender, which did not yet exist as a separate concept at the time.
Initially confined to medical texts, the concept of sexual inversion was given wide currency by Radclyffe Hall’s 1928 lesbian novel The Well of Loneliness, which was written in part to popularize the sexologists’ views. Published with a foreword by the sexologist Havelock Ellis, it consistently used the term “invert” to refer to its protagonist, who bore a strong resemblance to one of Krafft-Ebing’s case studies. (Wikipedia link)
In this quaint outmoded sense, I am a classic sexual invert. Ok, without the cross-sex identification.
Three cartoons from Saturday: a Dilbert (on the nature of human beings); a Pearls Before Swine (with yet another ambiguity); and a Zippy (on politics, sort of).
In my packet of Beautiful Farmyard images recently, one of a Campbell drake, a male Campbell duck. Another image, with the duck perched on one leg and with its head folded back:
According to Beautiful Farmyard,
Active ducks, Campbells prefer foraging to brooding.
Note the ambiguity of the verb brood here.
From Chris Waigl, this headline from a story in the Fairbanks (AK) Daily News – Miner of 10/30/13:
Man who bought pets later found roasted, eaten in Denali Park still unknown
The bold-faced PSP phrase can be understood in either of two ways:
(1) as a reduced VP with subject man who bought pets, with the copular verb was omitted, as is common for copular verbs in the headline register; or
(2) as a postmodifier (a “reduced relative clause”) for pets — so ‘pets who were later found roasted, eaten in Denali Park’.
If you start parsing the sentence as in (1), then you’re brought up short at the end of the bold-faced phrase; you’ve been led down the garden path. Then you have to go back and re-parse, to be about to incorporate the still unknown (now as a VP with omitted copular verb) into the interpretation. In the body of the story:
Whoever bought pets at a Fairbanks pet store and then apparently roasted and consumed them just inside Denali National Park has not been identified.
According to Chris,
There’s some debate in the comments of our local paper regarding whether this headline is misleading.
Chris speculates that different people have different favored parsing strategies — producing the debate over whether the headline is misleading.
Some years ago, at a linguistics conference in a village along the Danube in Austria, a Hungarian colleague announced with great pleasure that he’d come across an eagle in the bushes along the way from our lodgings. This did in fact seem remarkable to the rest of us. Then I got it.
I asked him to describe the creature, and got, not an account of a huge wide-winged bird of prey, but one of a small furry mammal: the hedgehog (naturally found in bushes, underbrush, and hedgerows). In German, Igel (which sounds a lot like eagle in English, and indeed my colleague knew only the German name and not the somewhat fanciful English compound noun hedgehog). (more…)
Monday morning comics: A Bizarro with word play, A Pearls Before Swine with a slogan reworked:
Another kind of hypallage (see here), with a VP adverbial (here, a little) converted to a modifier of a N: play guitar a little > play a little guitar. This particular hypallage has become conventionalized: play some / a lot of / occasional / etc. guitar.
KEEP CALM — CARRY ON is an excellent slogan phonologically: good prosody, near rhyme (note calm – on). PANIC — AND THROW A FUCKING FIT isn’t quite as compact as the model, but it has its own virtues (includling the alliteration in FUCKING FIT, plus panic - fit).