Four for the fourth

My morning mail on Wednesday the 4th brought me six suitable cartoons for this blog. Two I have already posted about: a Doonesbury with Duke hallucinating a lizard; and a Bizarro with a diner asking for eggs without any sense of style. The others: a One Big Happy on the attractions of “diet” versions of foods; a Zits on hearing and listening; a Zippy with (among other things) more better; and a Mother Goose and Grimm with a symbolic ambiguity.

1. diet X: a snowclonelet composite conveying ‘a food suitable for someone who is dieting’ (in particular, one that is low in fats and sugars, or at least lower than is customary). In the cartoon, Ruthie and Joe continue their involvement with a 10k race (now that they understand what a tenkay is):


Well, the label diet X is a selling point.

2. Hearing and listening. Jeremy and Sarah in Zits:


The usual story is that hearing involves perceiving with the ear, while listening involves paying attention and taking to heart. This continues to hold broadly, but each verb shows some inclination; in particular, hear often gets strengthened, as in “I hear you, buddy”.

3. more better. The combination of these two comparatives often serves merely as a (non-standard) emphatic version of better. But a genuine double comparative (‘better than X to a greater degree than Y is better than X’) is also possible:


(This is, of course, a side point in #3,. which is about a Zippyesque history of television.)

4. Symbols are just marks in some medium, devoid of intrinsic meaning and so available for many uses (while granting that some symbols lend themselves to iconic use). Which brings us to the double cross, number sign, or pound sign:


It’s the hashtag sign and the tic-tac-toe grid (and more).

2 Responses to “Four for the fourth”

  1. RF Says:

    In the first comic, I find the runner’s use of “up ahead of you” to also be interesting. My first thought was, if Chesney is “up ahead,” how do the runners even know he’s there? But now I think perhaps “ahead of you” is meant to suggest that the runners reach the kid first, and then Ruthie and Joe. It reminds me of the ambiguity of “move the meeting forward an hour” or even “lower in the alphabet.”

  2. More octothorpe wrangling | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] the previous round, this Mother Goose and Grimm (#4 here) on pound sign, hashtag, etc. And now a Zits on the subject, with a family argument, lined up by […]

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