The Dingburger bar bat, or barbat

The New Year’s Eve Zippy, with (among other things) a repeated theme of the strip:

The line I’m focusing on:

Do you realize this “discovery” of yours could cause th’ sales of Poindexter bar bats to plummet?!

Poindexter bar bats: Poindexter is just one of those names that entertain Bill Griffith because of the sound; but what about bar bat? Like many things in Zippy, this is surely meant to be absurd but suggestive.

Some background from the Zippy archives, from 6/28/11:

The point:

As we all know, there are 3 primary industries in Dingburg – underwear manufacture, Poindexter bar bat production & wrenching graphic novel creation.

(The strip focuses on a crash in wrenching subject matter for graphic novels, but my attention is still on bar bats.)

One more from the archives, from 7/7/12, reiterating the significance of Poindexter barbats (now spelled solid rather than separated):

The relevant bit:

[Zippy’s old 12-inch Zenith] keeps him company at meals and while he works on his Poindexter barbat production.

Poindexter barbat / bar bat has gotten picked up as inspired nonsense on at least two occasions. First, in an exercise for contributors to “Say something random” on the Ozzfest (Ozzy Osbourne) site, here, with the responses (among others):

FTW13: Happy Thanksgivin’ all!!! ::smile

JaGBaG: something random

sweet_dark: Giggity-giggity-giggity

spock: You simply must purchase an Austrailian Poindexter Barbat

And second, on Jim Ley’s site, here, with a test script for a psychotherapist-imitating program, beginning:

– I am the psychotherapist.  Please, describe your problems.  Each time you are finished talking, type RET twice.

Two with FLUFFO, hold th’ BEETS..side of SOYETTES!

– Why do you say that?

While you’re chewing, think of STEVEN SPIELBERG’S bank account..  This will have the same effect as two “STARCH BLOCKERS”!

– I don’t understand.

I will SHAVE and buy JELL-O and bring my MARRIAGE MANUAL!!

– Maybe your plans have something to do with this.

SANTA CLAUS comes down a FIRE ESCAPE wearing bright blue LEG WARMERS..  He scrubs the POPE with a mild  soap or detergent for 15 minutes, starring JANE FONDA!!

– Is it because of your life that you are going through all this?

Do you have exactly what I want in a plaid poindexter bar bat??

– Are you afraid of that?

Ah, fear of Poindexter bar bats!

But inspired nonsense has *some* inspiration, and we can speculate about that. My first instinct was to treat bar bat / barbat as an ordinary N-N compound ‘bat associated (in some way) with a bar’, understanding bat to refer to a sports bat, in particular a baseball bat, and bar to refer to a drinking place (both bat and bar are, of course, potentially many-ways ambiguous; here I’ve chosen meanings that I take to be especially salient in American culture).

The cultural associations between bars as drinking places and baseball bats are considerable, thanks to the fact that so many bars are locations of primarily masculine sociability, and even if such a bar doesn’t see itself specifically as a sports bar (note further interesting N-N compound sports bar, referring to a bar that offers multiple tv screens all playing sports events) it may offer some of the trappings of sports fandom as markers of masculinity, and baseball bats are especially potent markers, because of their phallicity (explored a number of times in my postings on that topic). So we get neon signs with baseball bats in them, display cases for sports equipment, especially baseball bats, and even baseball bat bar stools.

On display cases, here’s the Pennzoni company:

Baseball Bat Display Case
Whether you own a bar and make your living that way, or you just like to entertain in your sports-themed basement bar, find a baseball bat display case or other acrylic display cases for jerseys, balls and other memorabilia to create an authentic, sports-bar atmosphere.

And here’s a bat barstool:

Note that that’s bat + barstool, not batbar + stool. There are bat bars, but they seem to involve bats the flying creatures rather than bats the sports implements, as in this Austin TX bar’s logo:

But maybe the most powerful bar – bat association comes from the baseball bat as weapon, wielded in altercations and attacks in bars, as in these two stories (chosen from a very large number):

Man Charged With Baseball Bat Attack At Bar [Dayton OH 12/4/12] (link)

Is There a Guy Beating Gay Bar Patrons with a Baseball Bat Roaming Montrose? [Houston TX 6/10/11] (link)

And especially from the function of the baseball bat as a conventional weapon of protection, wielded by bartenders in rough bars:

Ask A Bartender: What’s The Worst Bartending Job You’ve Ever Had?
While most of our bartenders seem pretty happy with their gigs, they’ve all had tougher jobs in the past. What’s it like tending bar at a dance club? Working somewhere you keep a baseball bat behind the bar? Suffering through a monthly “Elvis Night”? We asked 6 bartenders where their least favorite job was (link to 7/11/12 story)

That gives us, finally, a very specific interpretation for bar bat: ‘baseball bat used by bartenders for protection in rough bars’ — though I don’t know that any particular bats are favored (in the real world) for this function or even designed to be especially good in this function (Imagine: “I’m in the market for a top-line bar bat for the End-Up”).

One other association of bar and bat that is a stunningly poor candidate for Zippy-relevance: the Jewish coming-of-age rituals of Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah.

Even further out: the lute known as the barbat (not divisible as bar bat, and still sufficiently foreign a word that it hasn’t made it into the OED); from Wikipedia:

The barbat or barbud is a lute of possibly Central Asian origin. Many instruments such as the Arabic oud are derived from the barbat. Today’s barbat, however, is essentially the same thing as today’s oud: the instrument is often called the barbat when played in a Persian tradition, while called the oud when played in an Arabic tradition.

So I’m going with the idea that the Dingburgers are engaged in producing a special line of bar bats, which they’ve labeled the Poindexters, that will serve the needs of bartenders.


8 Responses to “The Dingburger bar bat, or barbat”

  1. Saturday comics | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] barbats — a recurrent theme in Zippy — were covered pretty thoroughly in my posting “The Dingburger bar bat or barbat” of 12/31/12. Barbat is presumably a N-N compound, […]

  2. Don’t Bother to Knock | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] is musing about Richard Widmark on the streets of Dingburg; note the sign for Poindexter Bar Bats. The movie he’s musing about is Don’t Bother to Knock […]

  3. More Dingburger bar bat | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] Zippy, we return to the Poindexter bar bat; see “The Poindexter bar bat, or barbat”, here, with extended discussion, including material from the Zippy archives and an analysis of bar bat. […]

  4. backwrite Says:

    Bar/bat (as in mitzvah) may be a stunningly poor choice, but it would be fun as hell to deconstruct.

  5. JC Mitchell Says:

    Regardless of the derivation of the word, I suddenly really want a Poindexter barbat.

  6. savethehollywoodtheatre Says:

    And the March 13 Zippy indeed turned on “fear of Poindexter bar bats”! Could it be that Bill Griffith read your post (or Jim Ley’s) and was inspired?

  7. Two more on Memorial Day? | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] lines of speculation],  Barbat Krazyglue [barbat is the name of a commercial product, but only in ZippyWorld], Nora Pilbeam [ah, you think, Harvard scholar of human evolution David Pilbeam, or one of a number […]

  8. joycemelton Says:

    I always thought the tiny replica bats sold at stadiums were probably used by a few bartenders. 🙂

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