Two Ztoons on language use

The Zippy and the Zits in my comics feed today:



Surrealism in the defense of liberty. The original quotation (from Barry Goldwater) has extremism, not surrealism. But this is Zippy’s world, so we get surrealism, not extremism, with an instance of the Magrittean disavowal. Which appears every so often on this blog, in one form or another — most recently, on the 15th, where I referred to

a  Magrittean disavowal (Ceci n’est pas une pipe): This is not a penguin.

Or president, as the case may be.

As for the title, the question “Qu’est-ce qu’il a fumé?” ‘What did he smoke?, What has he been smoking?’ was all over the French press after POTUS invented a terrorist act in Sweden. A translation from former Swedish prime minister [Carl Bildt] mocking the man on Twitter: “What has he been smoking?” (Translated into French, because Magritte was French.)

#1 neatly combines Magritte’s original pipe with the slang idiom What have you been smoking?, conveying (by a complex implicature) ‘you’re acting strangely, you must be stoned’, as from Jackie Chan here:


Saying, not saying. In #2, Jeremy has managed to say things to Sara that resonate with her, but also to edit out the lustful thoughts about her that she wouldn’t like to hear. What Jeremy needs is this adaptation of a famous prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to leave unspoken the things I should not say,
Courage to say the things I should,
And wisdom to know the difference.

From Wikipedia:

The Serenity Prayer is the common name for a prayer authored by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971). The best-known form is:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Niebuhr, who first wrote the prayer for a sermon at Heath Evangelical Union Church in Heath, Massachusetts, used it widely in sermons as early as 1934 and first published it in 1951 in a magazine column. The prayer spread both through Niebuhr’s sermons and church groups in the 1930s and 1940s and was later adopted and popularized by Alcoholics Anonymous and other twelve-step programs.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: