Archive for the ‘Metaphor’ Category

Elephants

July 18, 2014

Today’s Zippy, set not in a diner but at a carwash:

(#1)

Given the Space Needle in the background, the cartoon is clearly set in Seattle. And in fact Elephant Car Wash locations are all over the area. A representation in a Michael Birawer canvas painting:

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The title alludes to the idiom the elephant in the room.

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Fathers Day Five

June 15, 2014

An unusually big crop of cartoons this morning, including one (a Rhymes With Orange) on stereotypes about men’s tastes (for Fathers Day). Plus another Zits with the stereotype of chatty teenage girls; another strip (a Mother Goose and Grimm) on Yoda’s syntax; a Zippy on synonyms for disapproving; and a Bizarro on the extension of metaphors to simulacra.

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Coping with the new

June 2, 2014

In today’s One Big Happy, Ruthie and Joe are back on the track of trying to make sense of things they haven’t heard before:

  (#1)

Lots of knowledge needed here — about the words of English and about sociocultural conventions:

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An epicene protest

May 13, 2014

In a bizarre response to the winning of the Eurovision Song Contest by a bearded drag queen, Conchita Wurst singing “Rise Like a Phoenix” (reported in almost every media outlet), some Russian men have taken to shaving off their beards (if they had them). The position seems to be that Wurst’s beard so poisons beards as a symbol of masculinity that real men have no way to protest except by going beardless. (The idea here seems to some degree to be similar to the position that same-sex marriage diminishes and debases opposite-sex marriage — except that in the Wurst case, the threat comes from a single case: just one, though admittedly very visible, bearded man in a dress.)

The result is paradoxical.

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Go with the flow

April 30, 2014

Yesterday’s Partially Clips (hat tip to David Craig):

I can’t say that I appreciate the details of Zener diodes, but conventional diodes allow the (electrical) current to flow in only one direction, hence the pun (involving water currents).

The use of current for talking about a phenomenon of electricity is, of course, a metaphorical extension of the water flow term.

Three for today

April 18, 2014

Three cartoons for today: a Dilbert, a Bizarro, and a Mother Goose and Grimm:

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(#3)

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Genital plants

December 15, 2013

Two cards in succession in the Art of Instruction set: acorns and arums, both visually similar to human genitals, a fact recognized in some of the common names for the plants.

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Briefly noted: bird strikes and avian radar

October 19, 2013

In the NYT yesterday, in “Those Hazardous Flying Birds” by Eric Uhlfelder:

Planes hit birds all the time. That doesn’t typically mean captains have to glide crippled jets onto a river as Capt. Chesley Sullenberger III famously did in January 2009. But a number of collisions have led to crashes, with some deaths. … Over the past 23 years, bird strikes have forced an average of one plane a day to land prematurely, according to the F.A.A.

What caught my eye was the N N compound bird strike, with an unusual use of the head noun strike  – apparently a metaphorical use in which these collisions were viewed as like military attacks (though now strike seems to have become merely the conventional  way of referring to such events).

Uhlfelder’s recommendation for the hazardous bird problem is for “integrated avian radar systems”. Note the Adj N composite avian radar here; avian is an example of a type of non-predicating Adj often referred to as “pseudo-adjectives”; though they are adjectival in form, they are interpreted semantically by invoking a noun, in this case bird. That is, avian radar is bird radar, radar for detecting birds (just as weather radar is radar for detecting weather patterns).

Then there’s marine radar, radar for detecting ships and other objects at sea.

palisade

October 11, 2013

It started yesterday, when Geoff Nathan posted this to ADS-L:

I’m giving a mid-term in phonetics, and have asked students to transcribe some words. So far, here are words that at least five students (out of 63, almost all native speakers of American or Canadian English) don’t know: choral, palisade.

Discussion on palisade ensued. (more…)

Hyperbolic metaphors

October 9, 2013

Frank Bruni in an op-ed column in the NYT yesterday, “Nazis, Lynching and Obamacare”, beginning:

You might think that the methodical extermination of millions of Jews by a brutal regime intent on world domination would resist appropriation as an all-purpose metaphor. You might think that genocide, of all things, would be safe from conversion into sloppy simile.

You’d be wrong.

Bruni catalogues an assortment of ravingly hyperbolic similes in recent times, mostly (but not entirely) associated with the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). Comparisons to: Nazis and the Holocaust, lynch mobs, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, slavery, and hostage taking.

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