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:
Lots of knowledge needed here — about the words of English and about sociocultural conventions:
From an accumulation of material over the years, this Calvin and Hobbes (from 9/14/92):
The strip is “about” Calvin’s lacking a tail, which Hobbes (as a tiger) naturally sees as a defect (while Calvin thinks he’s perfect as he is; it might not be too much to read Calvin’s position as related to male anxiety about penis size).
The point of linguistic interest is Calvin’s sophisticated vocabulary, often remarked on; bear in mind that Calvin is a six-year-old boy, yet he slings things like “the evolutionary perfection of earthly DNA”, “the culmination of creation”, and “aesthetic enhancement” (nicely combined with butt here).
On ADS-L on the 2nd, Geoff Nunberg started a discussion about political language coded for race. The background is dog whistle politics.
Four cartoons today: a Dilbert, a Bizarro, a Mother Goose and Grimm, and a Scenes from the Multiverse:
Three varied cartoons fot the day: Rhymes With Orange, Pearls Before Swine, Dilbert.
Two cartoons for today: a Pearls Before Swine on some visual conventions in the comics, and a Dilbert on telling stories, through images and words.
Over on Language Log, Mark Liberman has repeatedly scathed writers who criticize public figures over their word use, especially 1st person singular pronouns, which they take to be a sign of self-involvement or grandiosity. Mark notes, again and again, that these writers never do actual counts, but instead report their impressions — but Mark does the stats, and again and again finds the impressions flat wrong. Now a report in which someone actually cites the counts.
Via Gregory Ward, this Salon piece of the 24th by Katie McDonough, “President Obama has used the word “gay” in official remarks 272 times since taking office: His predecessor George W. Bush said “gay” twice, once in a speech denouncing marriage equality”.
Exoplanets are planets in solar systems outside our own. So I guess it was inevitable that when it was discovered that exoplanets had moons, they would be called exomoons. I discovered this delicious word in the January 2014 issue of Scientific American (p. 40), but no doubt it’s been around for some time.