Zippy for President

Am I elected yet? Am I re-elected yet? Zippyclone examples from the US presidential elections in 1984 and 1988. The big campaign poster from 1984, with the former variant:

(#1) Taco sauce in hand, Ding Dongs at the ready, Zippy throws his topknot into the electoral ring, challenging President Ronald Reagan and former Vice President Walter Mondale (Hat tip: Tom Frenkel)

It looks like Zippy is a perpetual independent candidate, but most of the campaign literature is in comic books, calendars, and posters, rather than in the strips. I’ve found one strip on his presidential runs, from 2012 (in the mainstream: incumbent President Barack Obama vs. former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney):

(#2) Politics and religion

Most of the material on-line has to do with the races in 1984 and 1988 (mainstream candidates: incumbent Vice President George H. W. Bush vs. Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis). From those years, both with the Zippyclone in the form “Am I re-elected yet?”:



A short course on the Zippyclone. Starting with a re-play of my 8/31/10 posting “Dingburgers having fun”, about:

Zippy that leads with the question “Am I having fun yet?”

This is familiar territory for the strip. On Language Log, we’ve had “Am I empathetic yet?” on 1/20/07; “Are we playing “Risk” in an underground bunker beneath th’ White House yet?” on 7/14/07, with some discussion of the models for the Are We X Yet snowclone (the children’s question “Are we there yet?” and the Zippy catchphrase “Are we having fun yet?”), a quick survey of the many fillers for X, and a variant with now (“Are we middle-aged now?”); and “Am I questioning all accepted notions of gender marking & display yet?” on 6/24/08 and again on this blog on 4/20/09.

The first of these postings also has Zippy protesting,

But.. But.. You can’t legally copyright a saying! What about “Are we having fun yet?” ..It’s everywhere!

Bill Griffith, who writes the strip, should know. As he told it in a 2003 talk at the UF Comics Conference,

Asking the Unanswerable Question, “Are we having fun yet?” (link)

(talking about the strip “Back to Pinhead, the Punks and the Monks” from Yow #2 in 1979):

Says Zippy in [one] panel, screaming, while he’s playing the violin, “Let me do my tribute to fishnet stockings, are we having fun yet? Fishnet, fishnet, fishnet, fishnet.” These two groups of people, the punks and the cultish monks, and they are desperately trying to understand what Zippy is saying so they can achieve some sort of enlightenment. Anyway, that’s the first time he said, “Are we having fun yet?” Certainly not intended by me to be anything more than another non sequitur coming out of Zippy’s mind.

But I decided to exploit my saying a little bit, and in 1985, I did what is the closest thing I’ve ever done to a graphic novel — a book called, Are We Having Fun Yet? — a book in which Zippy goes through a whole series of adventures which are vaguely connected and do have a kind of conclusion at the end.

Since then people have been offering him examples endlessly. Not copyrightable, as Zippy protested to the Easter Bunny in 2007.

Apparently Griffith is the source of the catchphrase that he later began ringing variations on. If you think you have examples from before 1979, show us your money. (It’s possible there were earlier uses in the relevant sense, but it seems pretty sure that Griffith’s use crystallized the formula.)

Then these postings:

on 7/1/12 in “The Cartoon Character Assisted Living Facility”:

On “Are we having fun yet?”: this is a genuine Zippyism, whose history is noted in this posting. Griffith used the phrase in 1979 and then rang a series of changes on it, turning it into a snowclone Are We X Yet? that’s been picked up by many others.

on 8/8/13 in “Are we at Pirate’s Cove yet?”, a Zippy meta-strip on “Are we having fun yet?”

on 3/15/14 in “Labeling”:

Then there’s Zippy in the last panel with another of his yet questions (the lineage of the formula goes back to Are we having fun yet?, a Griffith invention discussed every so often on this blog) [“Am I ready for a niche market yet?”]

on 1/13/15 in “Zippy in two moods”:

In #2, Zippy announces Je ne suis pas s’amuser (‘I am not having fun’, alluding to his famous query “Are we having fun yet?”)

on 2/21/15 in “The Zippyclone again”:

And then we get “Am I th’ divorced father of 2.3 kids with visitation rights yet?!”, a 1sg variant of the Are We X Yet snowclone with a complex X

on 3/1/16 in “Two Z language cartoons”:

plus “Are we having a Nerf ball yet?”, a play on Zippy’s signature line “Are we having fun yet?”

on 10/27/18 in “The holidays of our lives”:

in the third panel, a play (“Am I regressing yet?”) on “Are we having fun yet?” as a famous Zippy catchphrase, played with repeatedly in the strip. See my 8/31/10 posting “Dingburgers having fun”

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