Party of five

Five cartoons from recent days. Not one of them seems to have anything to do with (US) Mothers Day (but maybe tomorrow, on the day itself, Mom will surface). A daydreaming Jeremy in Zits; a Calvin and Hobbes on following rules; a Rhymes With Orange with a groan-inducing (but learnèd) pun; and a Bizarro and a Zippy on different aspects of modern communication.

The Zits:


A portmanteau of daydreaming and streaming.

The Calvin and Hobbes:


Kids do sometimes play with the rules of games (in small ways), though they have strong impulses to “do it right”. Similarly, people of all ages innovate in language (again, mostly in small ways, especially lexical items). In addition, kids sometimes invent (what they see as) totally new games, with their own rules; and occasionally they invent private languages.

The inventions require kids — usually just in pairs — who are psychologically very close; twins are particularly inclined to engage in such innovations, both in games and language. Calvin and Hobbes are a special case here, since Hobbes is in a sense Calvin’s twin — a projection of part of Calvin’s personality. No surprise, then, that Calvin finds it especially satisfying to play just with Hobbes!

The Rhymes With Orange:


Appreciating the pun in the strip requires that you know about the myth of Sisyphus, including the task assigned to Sisyphus. In the strip, of course, it’s not a giant boulder that Sisyphus pushes up the mountain again and again, but a giant ball of yarn that a cat has to deal with.

The Bizarro:


Here, a classic gag-cartoon trope, the message in the bottle, is updated to embrace the age of cellphones.

Finally, the Zippy, dealing with a phenomenon I looked at in this posting, where two contributions to the lack of shared culture are briefly examined: data overload that comes from data piling up as you age, and another overload that comes from now having so many different sources of information.

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