Archive for the ‘Linguistics in the comics’ Category

Morning names: wiles, Wiles

February 9, 2016

Sunday’s morning name was the common noun wiles, but that led me to the adjective wily, the proper name Wile E. Coyote, and to people with the family name Wiles, in particular the mathematician Andrew Wiles and the gay pornstar Kevin Wiles. Actually, being who I am, I thought of Kevin first and then got to Andrew, but I’m going to take them in the other order here, because until I get to Kevin Wiles, there’s nothing especially racy here, but once I get to KW, we go deep into the world of men’s bodies and man-man sexual acts, and the posting turns into things that are definitely not for kids or the sexually modest. When I get to that point, I’ll raise a flag, and you can decide whether you want to bail out. That last section is certainly verbally X-rated, but though there are photos, the ones here aren’t visually X-rated; I posted the X-rated KW images (8 of them) on AZBlogX yesterday.

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At the noodle bar

February 7, 2016

The Saturday (February 6th) Rhymes With Orange:

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Ah, a noodle bar — one in which the customer picks a type of pasta and a type of sauce. There are in fact such places, though they seem not to be called noodle bars.

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The prissy voice

February 3, 2016

A little while ago, Terry Tenette asked me about the character The Great Gazoo (voiced by the comic actor Harvey Korman) in the animated tv series The Flintstones — because the character’s voice suggested gay to him. I’d stopped watching the tv series by the time this character appeared (in 1965), but I then watched a clip with Terry and heard what he was picking up on, which was not the famous gay voice, but something I’ll call the prissy voice. We were then both struck by the similarity of the Great Gazoo’s voice to that of the character Dr. Zachary Smith (played by Jonathan Harris) in the tv series Lost in Space (which, probably not coincidentally, premiered in 1965). And I was reminded of the famous film sissies (film sissies — the name conveying effeminacy, weakness, or cowardice — has become a widely used term in film history and criticism) and their deployment of the prissy voice.

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Be like Schwa

February 1, 2016

From Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky, who got it from the All Things Linguistic site (maintained by Gretchen McCulloch, who’s appeared several times on ths blog), this punning instance of the new Be Like Bill meme:

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Only YOU

February 1, 2016

Passed around on Facebook, this entertaining combination of image and text:

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Non-Americans might not get the joke here, since the figure of Smokey might not be familiar to them: he’s very much an American thing. Even if you don’t recognize Smokey the Bear (and his signature quotation, “Only YOU can prevent forest fires”), you might recognize the central figure in the composition as a monk, or a (religious) brother, that is, a friar (NOAD2: ‘a member of any of certain religious orders of men, especially the four mendicant orders (Augustinians, Carmelites, Dominicans, and Franciscans)’), and you might notice the vase of flowers (such as you would get from a florist shop) and suspect that they weren’t in the original painting of the friar, so that you could appreciate the composition (with its “florist friars”) as playful nonsense. But the monitory Smokey is crucial for real understanding.

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Raiding the thesaurus

January 30, 2016

Today’s Zippy explores several domains of English vocabulary:

rankled, perturbed, exasperated, plunged into despair

confused, confounded, disconcerted, baffled, placed in a quandary

From NOAD2‘s thesaurus:

upset, distressed, troubled, perturbed, dismayed, disturbed, unsettled, disconcerted, worried, bothered, anxious, agitated, flustered, ruffled, unnerved, shaken, unstrung, hurt, saddened, grieved

confused, bewildered, bemused, puzzled, perplexed, baffled, mystified, nonplussed, muddled, dumbfounded, at sea, at a loss, taken aback, disoriented, disconcerted, flummoxed, clueless, fazed, discombobulated

Freezing eggs?

January 30, 2016

A Charlie Hankin cartoon in the January 25th issue of the New Yorker:

Penguins, yes, but also an illustration of how much you need to know to appreciate a cartoon. In this case, you need to know about IVF and the option of freezing a woman’s eggs so as to perform the procedure at some time in the future. (This reduces the chances of successful IVF, but women can have reasons for saving eggs up for the future.)

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P.C. Vey

January 29, 2016

A cartoonist new to this blog, encountered in the New Yorker issue for the 25th, as the artist for the week’s cartoon caption contest:

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It caught my eye as a remarkable instance of Phallicity: The Wurst and also as a nice example of a visual convention of cartoons: the lines indicating movement, in this case the growth of the hotdog. The holder of the giant hotdog has presumably come to consult with someone who might help him. It’s not obvious who the man at the desk is, or where this office is.

Soon three contenders for captions will be published in the magazine, and then readers can vote for their favorite.

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Three Thursday cartoons

January 28, 2016

From today’s feed: a Zits, a Rhymes With Orange, and another rich Zippy:

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In the burlesque boat with Zippy

January 25, 2016

Today’s Zippy, continuing the cartoon’s run of burlesques:

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Yesterday it was Poe’s “The Raven”; today it’s the nursery rhyme “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”.

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