Three Pearls

… Before Swine(s), with language play. From 10/6/18, exploiting the ambiguity of /flu/ as flew or flu ‘influenza’; and two testicular cartoons, from 11/1/18 (nut sack) and (yesterday) 2/5/19 (go nads).

The cartoons:




Pastis goes in for elaborate puns, sometimes involving long and complex set-ups (#3 is only of middling complexity here). He’s also fond of meta-cartoons, in which the characters are aware that they are in fact in a cartoon;  the cartoonist and others from outside the cartoon world (like the censor in #2 and #3) put in appearances; and characters from other cartoons occasionally intrude.

Greta Goose. Says “Flu shot”, but Pig hears telegraphic “Flew. Shot”. Confusion ensues.

Testicular vocbulary. On the relevant vocabulary, from my 9/8/15 posting “Go for the nuts!”

Apparently, Google counts nuts and balls as equivalents.

Well, as slang synonyms for testicles, they pretty much are, though in secondary uses they diverge…

Slang for testicles. People are tremendously inventive in coining expressions for the testicles (as for the penis, the breasts, etc.), but the collection of testicular slang expressions that are widely known and used isn’t very large. For modern English, nuts and balls — both metaphorical — lead the pack; they are, in effect, “standard slang”, the everyday words for this purpose. But other words referring to spherical or ovoid objects of roughly the right size will serve as the basis for a metaphor, and stones and rocks are reasonably common in this use (and also in extended uses, as in have stoneshave the stones (to) VP, parallel to have ballshave the balls (to) VP ‘have courage, guts’; and in get one’s rocks off ‘ejaculate’).

… One more metaphor, the euphemistic family jewels. And a specialization of an anatomical term for ordinary-language purposes:

gonads  an organ that produces gametes; a testis or ovary. ORIGIN late 19th cent.: from modern Latin gonades, plural of gonas, from Greek gonē ‘generation, seed.’ (NOAD2)

What’s remarkable here is that gonads is now taken to be vulgar slang, perhaps less so in its American clipped version nads.

And some later nutsac playfulness, in my 3/10/16 posting “The news for testicles”, about the NutSac company, which makes man-bags.

The testicular cartoons. #2 plays on a subtle ambiguity of /sæk/, distinguished only in spelling: as a bag in general, or as a more specialized kind of bag, both from the same historical source. From NOAD:

noun sack: 1 a large bag made of a strong material such as burlap, thick paper, or plastic, used for storing and carrying goods… ORIGIN Old English sacc, from Latin saccus ‘sack, sackcloth’, from Greek sakkos, of Semitic origin.

noun sac: [a] a hollow, flexible structure resembling a bag or pouch: a fountain pen with an ink sac. [b] a cavity enclosed by a membrane within a living organism, containing air, liquid, or solid structures. ORIGIN mid 18th century (as a term in biology): from French sac or Latin saccus ‘sack, bag’.

#3 manages to get from clipped nads back to full gonads, by combining the clipping with imperative go in the sports cheer Go TEAM-NAME! (though gonads has primary accent on its first syllable, while Go Nads! has primary accent on the second).

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