Macho Muffler Man vs. the elite geek

Today’s Zippy pits Griffy against a familiar figure in the strip, a Muffler Man roadside fiberglass figure — in this case a lumberjack figure, selling tires rather than mufflers, but still part of an automotive theme:

Not just selling tires, but presenting himself as hypermasculinely disdainful of analytic academics.

MachoJackMan ends with a doubly dismissive sentence of the form:

taste NP, AddressNominal!

— a dismissive imperative of the form taste NP!, plus a dismissive address term.

The imperative echoes other dismissive imperatives, in particular Bart Simpson’s Eat my shorts! (from the tv show The Simpsons), or Eat/Bite me!, with verbs of ingestion rather than taste — conveying either ‘Fuck off!’ or ‘Bullshit! and more distantly echoing dismissive Suck my dick! (cf. Flo’s Kiss my grits! from the tv show Alice, which is most closely modeled on Kiss my ass!).

Possibly hovering around the edges here is the mocking idiom Eat my dust!, directed at a defeated rival, especially in auto racing, which would work the automotive theme into things. Also possibly the automotive idiom lay rubber ‘accelerate a vehicle enough to leave a patch of burnt rubber on the road.

What make the last panel especially delicious is the complexity and specificity of the two nominal expressions in it: the direct object steel-belted radial (note use of radial ‘radial tire’ as a M(ass) N); and the address Nominal over-analyzing culture geek. When MachoJackMan speaks, he’s far from laconic.

3 Responses to “Macho Muffler Man vs. the elite geek”

  1. Ben Zimmer Says:

    Here’s a handy map of roadside muffler men around North America. I live not too far from the carpet-clutching muffler man of Jersey City, who can be seen in the opening credits of “The Sopranos.”

  2. Ben Zimmer Says:

    A good match for the tire-holding lumberjack in Zippy strip is this fellow in East Point, Georgia.

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