Ed (the) Ped

In yesterday’s Zippy, the Walking Man — Zippy knows him as Ed Ped — returns to Zippytopia:


First theme: Ed used to be otherwise, but now he’s naked, amanous, and apodous: Deal with it! Get over it! Get used to it! We are everywhere.

Second theme: Zippy moves the focus to France, causing Ed to morph into a stereotypical Frenchman (with beret and cigarette, probably Gauloises), who announces Je suis partout ‘I am all over, I am everywhere’.

Side effect:  French Ed evokes, in Zippy’s mind, Jerry Lewis in The Nutty Professor. (Zippy is a wildly associative thinker.)

The We Are Everywhere subtheme. We are everywhere is a hyperbolic expression, but it’s the general hyperbole of universal expressions, which are commonly used to convey (merely) a high degree. Dandelions are everywhere, but that doesn’t mean they’re in Antarctica, or on my patio in Palo Alto (though there are some just around the corner).

Still, NOAD thought the ‘many’ understanding was significant enough to merit a subsense:

adv. everywhere: [a] in or to all places: I’ve looked everywhere | everywhere she went she was feted. [b] in many places; common or widely distributed: sandwich bars are everywhere.

Beyond that, though we are everywhere can be understood as a simple assertion of common occurrence, it’s likely to be heard as something more than that: through conversational implicature, it can serve as a boast, warning, or threat (depending on the context). Indeed, any assertion of wide presence, however expressed in words, can carry this implicature. From the tv tropes site on We Are Everywhere (as an idea, not necessarily as expressed in a specific catchphrase or slogan):

“Hi! You’re going to call off your rigorous investigation. You’re going to publicly state that there is no underground group. Or we are going to take your balls. Look. The people you are after are the people you depend on. We cook your meals, we haul your trash, we connect your calls, we drive your ambulances. We guard you while you sleep. [pause] Do not fuck with us.” — Tyler Durden, Fight Club

When a malicious group is investigated and busted, a member brags how the group is everywhere. The group member will further claim that their movement is growing, and will rule supreme someday, leaving the heroes concerned that there will be more trouble in the future.

The most common associations are with right-wing militia movements, which became a trope of their own following the militia scare in the media after the Oklahoma City bombing.

Note also that the same claim may be made by the heroes when they are the resistance to a despotic regime. Naturally, the message is inverted this way.

Meanwhile, the specific wording we are everywhere has become something of a formula, understood as asserting widespread occurrence and conveying a boast or warning, and more easily available to the user than other expressions with this content, like we are all over (the place), you can find us everywhere, etc. It’s a catchphrase or slogan, and it’s historically been used by certain groups — lgbt people, in particular — to proclaim the strength of their group identity. In that context, it’s part of the verbal armamentarium of being publicly gay. From my 7/25/10 posting “A few words from Sir Ian”, about Ian McKellen and his slogan t-shirt:

the slogan [Some People Are Gay. Get Over It.] comes in two parts, together replacing the gay pride slogan of my youth (a few years ago):

We’re here / We’re queer / Get used to it

The in-your-face first part of the older slogan has been replaced by a simple statement of fact (and modest, too, making an existential claim well short of the universal We Are Everywhere), the second part by a more currently fashionable exhortation

So the combination of deal with it and je suis partout in #1 led me to the queer world (probably not Bill Griffith’s intention — but I make my own conceptual associations) and so to entertain the idea that Ed Ped is in fact Ed Pédé ‘Ed the Fag’. If that familiar character Ed Ped  is queer, then truly We Are Everywhere.

Digression: a related catchphrase. Another way of conveying that we are many, and everywhere: my name is Legion, our name is legion; I/we are legion. From Wikipedia:

The Christian New Testament gospels of Matthew (8:28-34), Mark and Luke describe an incident in which Jesus meets a man, or in Matthew two men, possessed by demons who, in the Mark and Luke versions, when asked what their name is, respond: “My name is Legion, for we are many.”

And from NOAD:

adj. legion: great in number: her fans are legion. ORIGIN The adjective dates from the late 17th century, in early use often in the phrase my, their, etc. name is legion, i.e. ‘we, they, etc. are many’ (Mark 5:9).

Zippy and Ed Ped, together before. In my 7/16/15 posting “Zippy and the Icon at the Bluebonnet”, a strip entitled “Ed Ped dead ahead”,


showing Zippy at the Bluebonnet Diner in Northampton MA, trading warning signs at the counter with an icon representing a (generic) person:

(#3) Ed Ped, the Walking Man (naked, handless, and footless)

Digression: Ed the Ped. Apparently quite separately from Bill Griffith, author Jim Belmessieri, selling his short stories (33 so far) on Amazon for Kindles (at 99 cents each), hit on the name Ed the Ped for a children’s story about pedestrian safety, “Ed the Ped” (2013):

(#4) In the story Ed is a person, a kid — not a symbol, as elsewhere

The charming tale of Ed, who is, quite simply, a Ped – that is, a pedestrian. Ed is a happy and independent little boy who likes to take afternoon walks. However, a pedestrian crossing (or, a Ped Xing) the street can be a tricky business, what with cars and trucks and Men Working. Ed the Ped must learn to recognize and obey the various traffic safety signs he finds along his way to know where he should walk along a busy street. And where he shouldn’t.
Best if read aloud to your child. Children’s Safety. 1080 words, in verse.

Ed and his family. In panel 2 of #1, we see the symbolic entity, or symbent), Ed as a boy, when he still had hands and feet and wore clothes. Here he is as a teenager:

(#5) From the Clipart Library #2187124

When the time came for his metamorphosis, he was denuded, demanuated, and depodiated, had his head circulified, and so became a full Ped, fiercely proud of the service he provides to people on the streets and sidewalks.

Other branches of the Trafficae family of symbents take quite different forms. The Aupeds of Australia, for instance, are disembodied lower extremities: legs from the knees down, with trousers and shoes:

(#6) Pedestrian crossing sign from Global Spill Control: Australian spill and safety equipment

There are several subfamilies of luminescent Trafficae. The American Lights WALK and WALK:



And their British Light counterparts, known colloquially as Green Man and Red Man:


In recent years there have been many experiments in breeding new hybrid forms of luminescent Trafficae. For instance, the London Pride Lights, introduced in 2016:

(#10) Transport For London replaced the traditional GO sign with same-sex symbols in 50 traffic lights in June 2016 around the Trafalgar Square area to recognize those taking part in London Pride

Odds and ends. Bill Griffith is never content to make some point, but nearly always embroiders things with playful routines and allusions and chains of conceptual associations.

In the first panel of #1, Zippy doesn’t just greed Ed Ped, but breaks out in doggerel:

Ed Ped! You fill me with dread! Sometimes I wish you were dead!

If you say this with strong accents on the two syllables of sometimes (parallel to the two syllables of Ed Ped), you get a little bit of highly metrical verse, two tetrasyllabic lines of S S  WS WWS (plus four /ɛd/ rhymes).

Then there’s the mention of France that leads to Jerry Lewis, an allusion to French appreciation of Lewis as an auteur — and then to the film generally recognized as his finest work, The Nutty Professor (1963).

Addendum: We Are Everywhere on this blog. The catchphrase has been generalized to what looks like a snowclone X is Everywhere, as in my 7/25/11 posting “We are everywhere”, with a Zippy strip “Pinheads are everywhere!”

Meanwhile, I’ve used we are everywhere to refer to various groups, not only lgbt people but also (playfully) Zwickys and mammoths.

Queer uses:

on 3/23/18 in “Gayupid’s Arrow: We are everywhere, and now you are too”, on fanciful means for turning men gay

on 6/5/18 in “We are everywhere, and we have penguins”, on a Pride event in Antarctica

Other uses:

on 7/15/16 in “Time to refuel”: “as for Zwickys, We Are Everywhere.– out of Switzerland, to cover the world — We Can Do Anything, and We Deliver [fuel]”

on 7/16/16 in “To be floral, bearded, and young”: again, “as for Zwickys, We Are Everywhere, We Can Do Anything, and We Deliver [rock music]”

on 9/5/18 in “Attack of the mammoth penguins”: “Mammoths. We Are Everywhere”

One Response to “Ed (the) Ped”

  1. JJM Says:

    Faceless, neckless, handless, footless Ed is everywhere here in Canada too.

    I live way out in the Ottawa Valley countryside on a gravel road and not 20 metres from my house is a yellow road sign warning drivers about (horse) riders.

    And – yes! It’s neckless Ed on a horse!

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