Set of three

A crop of three comics for today, on three very different topics: a One Big Happy with an inventive reinterpretation of an expression; a Zits on the evolution of writing systems; and a Zippy with another Xmas parody:

(#1)

(#2)

(#3)

One by one:

One Big Happy. Busy Doctor Ruthie and her grandfather. Her grandfather suggests that she’s on call, and Ruthie invents the medical specialty on-callogist, suggesting (to readers of the comic) oncologist. Two possible scenarios here, neither very likely if the Ruthie of the strip is seen as a real child. In one, Ruthie has heard the medical term oncologist, without understanding what it refers to (the unlikelihood here is that she’d have heard the term and understood that it was the name of a medical specialty), and then her grandfather provides her the basis for an interpretation by giving her on call as a medical term. In the other, learning on call as a medical term leads Ruthie to invent on-callogist as the name of a specialty, without realizing that oncologist is in fact an existing specialty (here, the unlikelihood is her creating this fortuitous pun). But I suppose it could have happened.

Zits. Jeremy summarizes to Pierce the history of writing, with pictographs succeeded by alphabetic writing systems and the flourishing of written communication. But now it appears that icons are taking us back to pictographs. (The message is presumably from Jeremy’s girlfriend, Sara.)

Zippy. Our Pinhead tackles holiday music, this time producing a burlesque of “Jingle Bells” (yesterday he gave us a non-musical parody, of “A Visit from St. Nicholas”). (Because it is over-learned and repeated many times, Christmas music tends to invite burlesque; see, for example, the Pogo versions of “Deck the Halls” and “Good King Wenceslas” in this 7/21/12 posting.)

Then there’s the Gustave Courbet connection. On Courbet, from Wikipedia:

Jean Désiré Gustave Courbet (… 10 June 1819 – 31 December 1877) was a French painter who led the Realist movement in 19th-century French painting. Committed to painting only what he could see, he rejected academic convention and the Romanticism of the previous generation of visual artists. His independence set an example that was important to later artists, such as the Impressionists and the Cubists. Courbet occupies an important place in 19th-century French painting as an innovator and as an artist willing to make bold social statements through his work.

Young Ladies on the Banks of the Seine, painted in 1856, provoked a scandal. Art critics accustomed to conventional, “timeless” nude women in landscapes were shocked by Courbet’s depiction of modern women casually displaying their undergarments.

By exhibiting sensational works alongside hunting scenes, of the sort that had brought popular success to the English painter Edwin Landseer, Courbet guaranteed himself “both notoriety and sales”. During the 1860s, Courbet painted a series of increasingly erotic works such as Femme nue couchée.

This culminated in The Origin of the World (L’Origine du monde) (1866), which depicts female genitalia and was not publicly exhibited until 1988, and Sleep (1866), featuring two women in bed. The latter painting became the subject of a police report when it was exhibited by a picture dealer in 1872.

Specifically on L’Origine, again from Wikipedia:

L’Origine du monde (“The Origin of the World”) is an oil-on-canvas painted by French artist Gustave Courbet in 1866. It is a close-up view of the genitals and abdomen of a naked woman, lying on a bed with legs spread. The framing of the nude body, with head, arms and lower legs outside of view, emphasizes the eroticism of the work.

… In 1989, French artist Orlan created the cibachrome L’origine de la guerre (The Origin of War), a male version of L’origine du monde showing a penile erection.

The two artworks can be viewed (away from the sexual strictures of WordPress and Facebook) on AZBlogX, as #1 and #2, here.

On Orlan, from Wikipedia:

Orlan (born Mireille Suzanne Francette Porte) is a French artist, born May 30, 1947 in Saint-Étienne, Loire. She adopted the name Orlan in 1971, which she always writes in capital letters: “ORLAN”. She lives and works in Los Angeles, New York, and Paris.

On her L’Origine, from a notice of an exihibition from last year:

As part of the exhibition Masculin / Masculin at the Musée d’Orsay through January 2, 2014, is Orlan’s work “L’origine de la Guerre.” An interpretation of the famous 1866 painting by Gustave Courbet, “L’origine du monde,” Orlan’s 1989 version shows a man with his legs spread and an erection, reversing the iconographic roles found in the Courbet.

The function of Courbet in the Zippy strip is merely to provide a rhyme for all the way. But then Bill Griffith is often artistically mischievous.

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