Anemone pun

Today’s Mother Goose and Grimm:

Mistaken anemone for mistaken identity. Phonologically distant, but interpretable because mistaken identity is an idiom, a formulaic expression, which is, moreover, appropriate to the context of the cartoon.

On the anemone joke front, there’s this complicated double-pun that served as the subtitle for my paper with Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky on imperfect puns (in Folia Linguistica (1986), here):

With fronds like these, who needs anemones?

(based on the formula With friends like these, who needs enemies?) This double pun then turns up in the animated feature Little Nemo (2003), as a question from a sea cucumber to a mollusk.

Meanwhile, With friends like these, who needs enemies? has been worked into a different double pun. From a collection of puns:

Natural Medicine: An anthropologist is studying a primitive society in the middle of the jungle when he develops constipation. Finding he has run out of medicine for that particular type of dysfunction, he tells the medicine doctor of the tribe he is studying. The medicine man tells him not to worry; his people sometimes suffer from the same malady but they simply chew the leaves of a particular fern. The anthropologist, figuring that he has nothing to lose (the fern wasn’t poisonous), decided to try this herbal medicine.

The next morning he bumps into the medicine man, who asks if everything came out all right. The anthropologist replied that ferns had, indeed, worked very well, adding, “With fronds like these, who needs enemas?”

One Response to “Anemone pun”

  1. Randy Alexander Says:

    But suprasegmentally similar, and all but the first vowel match. All but the last consonant are alveolar. I think it would be hard to find a closer similarity.

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