For Sainte Geneviève, who saved Paris from the Huns

Two language-related cartoons yesterday, for Saint Genevieve’s Day:



Sainte Geneviève. Wikipedia tells us that

In 451 she led a “prayer marathon” that was said to have saved Paris by diverting Attila’s Huns away from the city

Here she is on an icon:


Wikipedia on Attila, with another version of the story:

He … attempted to conquer Roman Gaul (modern France), crossing the Rhine in 451 and marching as far as Aurelianum (Orléans) [about 69 miles southwest of Paris] before being defeated at the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains.

Ralph on New Year’s. In the Mother Goose and Grimm in #1, Ralph has misunderstood resolution (with /z/) as revolution (with the very similar /v/).

Cuteness. The Zippy in #2 is a bizarre reflection on the notion of cuteness, with Zippy (praised as a baby for his cuteness, even when thowing up, in the first panel) rejecting the celebrated cuteness of Poppin’ Fresh in the second panel and of the characters in Dr. Seuss books in the third panel (in which he prefers Stephen King, alluding to the book Carrie there), but admitting that some characters (Yosemite Sam in particular) cross the line from cuteness into craziness.

Poppin’ Fresh and Dr. Seuss I’ve posted on before; later in this posting I’ll write about Carrie and Yosemite Sam, but first some lexicographic notes on the adjective cute. From NOAD2:

1 attractive in a pretty or endearing way: a cute kitten.
[1a] N. Amer. informal  sexually attractive.
2 N. Amer. informal  clever or cunning, especially in a self-seeking or superficial way: I don’t want to be cute with you.
ORIGIN early 18th cent. (in the sense ‘clever, shrewd’): shortening of acute.

The sense development is not at all clear to me, but something like the usage in 1, in which babies and kittens (and Poppin’ Fresh and the Cat in the Hat) are cute, is the dominant one these days; however, the definition “attractive in a pretty or endearing way” doesn’t seem to me to quite capture the concept, possibly because it puts together attractiveness and endearingness, and doesn’t cover some things (like kitsch) for which cuteness is opposed to beauty.

In a related criticism, I’d say that definition in 1a doesn’t quite capture the relevant concept in North American English. In some contexts, again, cuteness is opposed to something else, hotness: for guys talking about girls, cuteness is opposed to beauty and and to hotness (when a guy calls a girl cute, he suggests that she is adorably attractive, but neither a true beauty nor a hot chick), while for girls talking about guys, the definition in 1a is pretty good (when a girl calls a guy cute, she suggests that he is both handsome and a hotty).

Now back to Zippy’s examples.

Carrie. From Wikipedia:

Carrie is an American epistolary novel and author Stephen King’s first published novel, released on April 5, 1974, with an approximate first print-run of 30,000 copies. Set primarily in the then-future year of 1979, it revolves around the eponymous Carrietta N. “Carrie” White, a misfit and bullied high school girl who uses her newly discovered telekinetic powers to exact revenge on those who torment her, while in the process causing one of the worst local disasters in American history.

… The first adaption of Carrie was a feature film of the same name, released in 1976.

Carrie as a firestarter in the movie:


Yosemite Sam. From Wikipedia:

Yosemite Sam is an American animated cartoon character in the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons produced by Warner Bros. Animation. The name is somewhat alliterative and is inspired by Yosemite National Park. Along with Elmer Fudd, he is the de facto archenemy of Bugs Bunny. He is commonly depicted as an extremely aggressive gunslinging prospector, outlaw, pirate, or cowboy with a hair-trigger temper and an intense hatred of rabbits, Bugs particularly. In cartoons with non-Western themes, he uses various aliases, including “Chilkoot Sam” (named for the Chilkoot Trail; Sam pronounces it “Chilli-koot”) in 14 Carrot Rabbit (although in the same cartoon, when he tries to gain Bugs Bunny’s trust, he cleverly invents alias “Square-deal Sam”), “Riff Raff Sam” in Sahara Hare, “Sam Schultz” in Big House Bunny, “Seagoin’ Sam” in Buccaneer Bunny, “Shanghai Sam” in Mutiny on the Bunny, and “Sam Von Schamm the Hessian” in Bunker Hill Bunny and many others.

… Yosemite Sam is one of Bugs’ toughest antagonists. Yosemite Sam is a character more violent than Bugs’ most famous antagonist, Elmer Fudd, given that Sam has a tougher accent, a higher fierce voice, and a more violent spirit, although he is also portrayed as a bumbling fool in most of his appearances.

Yosemite Sam was originally drawn by Friz Freleng and was voiced by Mel Blanc for many years (1945-89). I have posted on both men on this blog, and the Freleng posting has a drawing of the character. Here’s a different drawing, with a two-gun view of Sam:


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