Higashi Day cartoon 6: Pi Day cartoon understanding

Two cartoons in my 3/14 (Pi Day) feed — a Bizarro and a Rhymes With Orange — that present challenges to understanding; if you don’t get certain cultural references, you don’t get the cartoons at all.

(#1) A Wayno/Piraro collabo; Wayno’s title for it is “Sectarian differences” (if you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 2 in this strip — see this Page). So, a snake and a frog, adversaries in real life; but then…

(#2) At the top level, a variation on woman’s complaints that they are given housewares as gifts on romantic occasions (suspend your gender assumptions); but then…

Then it’s no accident that #1 was published in the middle of March, three days before St. Patrick’s Day, which comes at the end of the mid-March run of special days and events (P2P: From Pi To Paddy):

— 3/14 Pi Day
— 3/15 Higashi Day on Ramona St. (see my 3/12/20 posting “Higashi Day cartoon 1: grim Bliss surprise”), but the Ides of March in the larger world
— 3/16 National Panda Day (see the Page on this blog on panda postings) — TODAY! (Take a panda to munch)
— 3/17 St. Patrick’s Day

#1: the snake and the frog. In the real world, snakes famously prey on frogs (and, occasionally, an ambitious frog will consume a snake). In any case, they’re antagonists.

But, more important, that’s not just any frog in the cartoon, it’s a specifically Irish frog, its ethnicity multiply marked by the green leprechaun hat, the shamrock, the “Kiss Me” slogan (half of “Kiss me, I’m Irish”), and the green beer. Bright green cartoon frogs, with various of these trappings, serve as conventional icons of St.Patrick’s Day, on greeting cards and the like. (Actual frogs are mostly various shades of brown and green, separately or in combination, as camouflage.)

The point is that the cartoon cries out “St. Patrick’s Day”, without mentioning the occasion. The viewer has to supply that.

And then they will understand the him of consider him a saint to be Patrick — which of course the Irish do (consider Patrick to be a saint, that is).

The cartoon still doesn’t make sense — unless you can supply the conventional wisdom that Patrick drove all the snakes from Ireland. Finally, an explanation for the snake’s extraordinary animosity towards the frog.

An trio of details. One, “Kiss me, I’m Irish” on this site, in my 3/17/19 posting “V me, I’m Irish”, on the full slogan and its variants, including some that are much more sexual than kissing.

Two, a green frog as a symbol of Ireland, which leads to the Irish Frog cocktail / shooter, a layering of Irish Cream liqueur on top of a melon liqueur (like Midori); from the Spruce Eats site:


Three, the color reversal of frog and snake in #1. A cartoon Irish frog would be expected to be green (see above), but this one — which is otherwise overdetermined as Irish — is brown. Meanwhile, the enormous snake is green, a common snake camouflage color in real life, but not appropriate for a snake that has specifically been driven from Ireland.

#2: the birthday iron for Godzilla. The Godzilla cartoon character — a cartoon version of a movie monster character — is presented with what looks like a toy building as a birthday present (said to be from New York), but describes it as an iron. This is baffling unless you know (at least) two things:

— (from the movies) Godzilla has an appetite for large pieces of urban real estate, especially buildings

— (from the real world) one iconic New York City building is the Flatiron Building, so-called because of its shape; discussion of the building in my 4/15/17 posting “New Yorker artwork 4/17/17” (with photos and drawings of the building, and a photo of a flatiron)

Then you will recognize the birthday gift as the Flatiron Building, and you will understand why Godzilla says it’s an iron. (It’s a building. It’s an iron. It’s a building and an iron.) And expresses some dismay over that.

All of this on Godzilla scale, of course. The orginal Godzilla was 50m (164 ft) tall, but over the years the monster has steadily increased in height. The actual Flatiron Building is more than half again as big as that, but Godzilla could cope with it. In the cartoon, the monsters are located in an ordinary living room, and the Flatiron Building looks like a model. Well, whatever you need to do to make things fit into cartoon panels.

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