Archive for May, 2014

The philosopher at the cinema and in the marketplace

May 31, 2014

Anthony Lane, reviewing The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in the May 5th New Yorker:

I lost count of the scenes in which Gwen and Peter thrash out the question of whether they should be a couple, and there is a sigh of relief in the cinema when she, deploying what philosophers would call a performative utterance, says simply, “I break up with you,” leaving us to wonder if she pulls the same trick in bed: “And now we approach the orgasm.”

(more…)

Anthony Gormley

May 31, 2014

[An art posting. Warning for the modest: a cast-iron penis will eventually appear, though in a Serious Work of Art in a public place in the UK.]

On a recent postcard, from Chris Ambidge, an image of a Gormley outdoor sculpture in the surf by Liverpool. A more panoramic view than the one on the card:

(#1)

(more…)

What are they?

May 30, 2014

Two recent items that challenge the borders of categories in the world of art, literature, and humor: another Jane Austen quote (yes, Chris Ambidge keeps sending them on); and an e-card (passed on by Victor Steinbok because of the entertaining portmanteau on it).

(more…)

Self-awareness and a milestone

May 29, 2014

Self-aware cartoon characters come up here every so often — most recently, in a Scenes From a Multiverse strip (#2 here). Today’s Zippy brings us to self-aware diners:

With this posting, we reach a milestone: this is the 4000th posting in this blog. No wonder I have trouble remembering what I’ve posted on here!

(more…)

Threesies

May 29, 2014

From Bob Mankoff’s How About Never …  (see here), p. 255, on Mankoff’s effort to give “aspiring cartoonists feedback” by “developing a mini course in cartoon fundamentals and the psychology of humor.” One course topic: “things are funnier in threes”.

(more…)

Two cards

May 29, 2014

On Tuesday, Ned Deily and I were investigating the workings of my scanner, after it had behaved  oddly for me on several occasions (garbage on scanning some black-and-white images, very odd colors when scanning some Jane Austen colored cards). The problem was traced back to some scanner settings I hadn’t known were there, so we re-set those and tried scanning one card of each type, using items I’d gotten in the mail (from Chris Ambidge). Herewith the results.

(more…)

Back from Memorial Day

May 28, 2014

Two cartoons from yesterday: in Doonesbury, the plants continue to talk; and in One Big Happy, Ruthie runs into the problems of correcting young language learners.

(more…)

What happened to the dinosaurs?

May 27, 2014

Gillian Burlingham writes to say that her partner Sariya has figured out why dinosaurs went extinct: they were all “he” and “him” . Just read any kids book or watch any kids’ video on dinos and you’ll see, Gillian says.

(I know, I know, if you asked the writers they would probably say that using forms of HE — he, him, his — in such cases is just treating HE as the 3sg generic human pronoun. But that’s a usage practice that has been very hard to justify for many decades, especially in children’s books, where the readers will take HE to denote males.)

So the dinosaurs in the world of children’s fiction endured their celibacy or enjoyed their same-sex revels (discreetly out of view of the kids, of course; think of the children!), but just as anti-gay groups warn about same-sex partnerships in real human beings, the dinosaurs had no way of reproducing, so the species died out.

So sad, and so unnecessary.

Two more on Memorial Day?

May 26, 2014

Two more cartoons that came in this morning, entertained me, but presented some question as to whether I should in fact post them. They were both of a sort that I have posted about before: a Zippy with remarkable proper names, combining brand names, food names, names of real but obscure people, and/or words that merely entertain Bill Griffith (who is given to word enthusiasms); and a (Bizarro) cartoon noting (and illustrating) the fact that (most) characters in the comics don’t age over the years that tick past in the outside, non-comics world.

These are entirely suitable items for posting on this blog. The problem is that I’ve posted about these two topics again and again. so that it’s not clear to me that a new item of either type is worth posting, unless it presents some remarkable feature.

There’s a parallel in my postings about certain kinds of widespread linguistic phenomena: verbings, nounings, back-formations, portmanteaus, ambiguities, for example. Every so often I post to say that I do not propose to catalogue every instance of these phenomena — that would be an impossible task — so I ask people to send me only cases that seem in some way especially interesting.

Maybe it’s time to do the same for some comics-oriented topics. I’m not sure. In any case, here are the two I’ve been puzzling about.

(more…)

Three for Memorial Day

May 26, 2014

For (U.S.) Memorial Day — today — three diverse cartoons, none of them about war or memorializing troops: A PHD Comics on ambiguity; a Doonesbury on vegetable (parallel to animal) language; and a Mother Goose and Grimm uniting two Shermans (so there’s a bit about war in there — the (U.S.) Civil War).

(more…)