Show me the way to go home

Yesterday’s New Yorker daily cartoon, by Kaamran Hafeez:

(#1) “There is no home button. You just click your heels three times.”

Another cartoon in which two disparate worlds intersect in a surprising or absurd fashion: in this case, the worlds of The Wizard of Oz (the 1939 movie) and of technological devices (smartphones). Intersecting in the notion of home and going home, with a different sense in each world.

To understand the cartoon, you need to know a famous quotation from the movie:

Then close your eyes and tap your heels together three times. And think to yourself, ‘There’s no place like home’.

And you need to know about the home button on devices, taking you to a home screen or a home page.

In fact, fully appreciating the cartoon requires that you know something crucial about the recently released Apple iPhone X, namely that it has no home button.

#1 shows the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, Dorothy, and the Tin Man clustered around Dorothy’s smartphone, which, she observes, has no home button.

Excerpts from the YourDictionary site:

home button: (1) A physical button on a smartphone or tablet that takes the user to the home screen. (2) An icon on a Web page that takes the user to the starting point of the site. The tradition for websites has been to make the company’s logo at the top of the page also function as a home button, but it is not always followed. In many applications, a home button icon is also used to go to the starting point. (link)

home screen: The first screen of information displayed when a smartphone or tablet is started. Also called the “home page” and “main menu,” it typically displays a group of icons that are clicked or tapped to activate applications and internal functions. (link)

home page: The first page retrieved when accessing a website or the first screen displayed when a smartphone or tablet is started. It provides the main menu and starting point for the rest of the content on the site or device. (link)

Then Apple’s latest:

With iPhone X, the device is the display. An all‑new 5.8‑inch Super Retina screen fills the hand and dazzles the eyes… Familiar gestures make navigation natural and intuitive. Instead of pressing a button, a single swipe takes you home from anywhere.

The home in all these expressions is a metaphorical extension of the ‘origin’ sense of:

noun home: the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household …; a place where something flourishes, is most typically found, or from which it originates (NOAD2)

The main sense of home above is the operative one in the Wizard of Oz quote, given here (from the MovieQuoteDB) with some context:

(#2) Dorothy (with her little dog Toto in her arms) and Glinda

Dorothy: Oh, will you help me? Can you help me?

Glinda: You don’t need to be helped any longer. You’ve always had the power to go back to Kansas.

Dorothy: I have?

Scarecrow: Then why didn’t you tell her before?

Glinda: She wouldn’t have believed me. She had to learn it for herself.

Scarecrow: What have you learned, Dorothy?

Dorothy: Well, I — I think that it, that it wasn’t enough just to want to see Uncle Henry and Auntie Em — and it’s that — if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with! Is that right?

Glinda: That’s all it is!

Scarecrow: But that’s so easy! I should’ve thought of it for you –

Tin Man: I should have felt it in my heart –

Glinda: No, she had to find it out for herself. Now those magic slippers [the ruby slippers] will take you home in two seconds!

Dorothy: Oh! Toto too?

Glinda: Toto too.

Dorothy: Now?

Glinda: Whenever you wish. … Then close your eyes and tap your heels together three times. And think to yourself, ‘There’s no place like home’.

(This bit is usually quoted with “click your heels” rather than “tap your heels”.)

And she taps the heels of her ruby slippers together and is transported from Oz, home to Kansas. Apparently the same maneuvre will bring up the home screen of Dorothy’s wonderful iPhone.

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