Archive for July, 2020

In Pouchland, where body size is irrelevant

July 31, 2020

From Ann Burlingham on Facebook yesterday, a heads-up:

I’ve been seeing this [Hanes Every Bod] ad, which it seems came out last year, and enjoyed the men singing about underwear in a way that women in ads usually sing about [here Ann extravagizes] birth control or antidepressants.


(#1) The end of the Every Bod ad: assorted body types (very heavy on variants of the young and fit) on the street, exulting in their underwear, every one of them displaying a notable pouch: Vouch for the Pouch! (see the sign)

Just to note that mass-market men’s underwear is rarely so pouch-conscious; that’s the province of premium brands, many of which are uncomplicatedly hawking homowear. More below.

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Chaka Khan and post-Freudian psychoanalytic thought

July 31, 2020

Margalit Fox on Facebook on the 29th:

Time to get my hearing checked. This evening’s dialogue:

Husband: “Jacques Lacan is the thinker who merged post-Freudian psychoanalytic thought with Structuralism.”

Me: “Chaka Khan merged post-Freudian psychoanalytic thought with Structuralism?? …”

Jacques Lacan / Chaka Khan — some phonological similarity (same accentual pattern, shared medial /k/ and final /n/, initial /ǰ/ vs. /č/, differing only in voicing, vowels similar but not calculable here because of dialect differences in their quality), but then there’s /l/ vs. /k/), but largely the connection is through their being two relatively exotic proper names of cultural significance.

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Donut alliteration

July 30, 2020

Today’s Zippy takes us to a perished donut shop (in Niceville FL), which gives him play for his well-known fascination with the sheer sounds of words:

(#1)

In panel 1, it’s alliteration with /d/: defunct donut dispensary with dismay. In the other two panels, with /ɛks/ (or with a more reduced vowel): examined the extent of extinguished excretions … not exasperated but exuberant. (In the latter case, the choice of vocabuary items is seriously strained, to get alliterative words.)

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The measure of a man: HTC

July 30, 2020

(Scantily clad men flaunting their bodies, so not to everyone’s taste.)

Two representations of the male body, head to thigh, celebrating masculine faces, masculine bare torsos, and the male genitals. HTC — head, torso, crotch — images.

Previously, in yesterday’s posting on this blog, “Portrait of man: the head and bare torso image”, about HT images:

the head and bare torso image: In a painting, a drawing, a sculpture, a photograph: the face projecting a persona, an identity, a character; the naked torso presenting this character as a carnal being: an embodiment of gender, a sexual object, and an assertion of vitality.

Now add to this the crotch, at least minimally clothed, but containing and hinting at the male genitals within — so substantially magnifying the sexual messages of the torso.

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Portrait of a man: the head and bare torso image

July 29, 2020

On HT (head + torso) images of men.

In a painting, a drawing, a sculpture, a photograph: the face projecting a persona, an identity, a character; the naked torso presenting this character as a carnal being: an embodiment of gender, a sexual object, and an assertion of vitality.

The briefest of introductions to my first response on seeing this photograph of two men on a beach (with surfboards in the background), so that their shirtlessness is natural in the context:


(#1)  Alex Schulze (left) and Andrew Cooper (right)

— which was, basically, “Ooh, how adorable! And hot!” (I am capable of being as superficial as anybody around; though context is everything.) Good-looking faces, though far from movie-star quality, and wonderful crinkly-eyed smiles. Naturally fit swimmers’ bodies — well, they’re surfer dudes — which please me greatly.

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gentoo

July 28, 2020

My morning name for 7/26: the name of a species of penguin:


(#1) From NOAD: noun gentoo (also gentoo penguin): a tall penguin with a white triangular patch above the eye, breeding on subantarctic islands. Pygoscelis papua, family Spheniscidae.

But the name, the name: where does it come from? It sounds a bit like gentile, but then seat-of-the-pants etymologizing is almost always way off the mark, however entertaining the stories might be. But this one might possiby be so, although that’s far from a sure thing; NOAD‘s note:

ORIGIN mid 19th century: perhaps from Anglo-Indian Gentoo ‘a Hindu’, from Portuguese gentio ‘gentile’.

The connection between Portuguese gentio ‘gentile’ (< Latin gentilis ‘of a family or nation, of the same clan’) and Anglo-Indian Gentoo ‘a Hindu’ is firm, however remarkable it might seem to you. What is still unclear is how to get from Hindus to penguins, so other sources for gentoo have been proposed, but, apparently, none with solid evidence.

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Call it by its name

July 27, 2020

In the 9/24/19 One Big Happy, both Ruthie and her mother name fingers, but in different ways:

(#1)

Ruthie gives them (descriptive) nicknames — the proper names Hitchy, Pointy, Big Girl, Wiggles, Wee One — while her mother Ellen provides the common nouns referring to the five fingers: the thumb, the index finger, the middle finger, the ring finger, and the pinkie / pinky (aka the little finger).

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Who were those masked penguins?

July 26, 2020

They are the (rainbow) penguins on a face mask from the Monterey Bay Aquarium — a gift to me from Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky, brought to me this morning by Opal Armstrong Zwicky (providing me with, oh fabulous delight, an actual visit from my grand-daughter, in my own house, where we could chat at length before she goes back to some version of her senior year in high school in western Massachusetts):

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Before or after?

July 26, 2020

In the 9/14/19 One Big Happy, Ruthie wrestles with a workbook question, apparently something along the lines of “Does 4th Street come before 6th Street or after it?”:

(#1)

There’s a lot packed in here. Crudely. the strip is about what before conveys, and that turns out to be dependent on the context. Ruthie takes before to refer to the ordering of a particular 4th and 6th Street in her own actual neighborhood, taking herself to provide the point of view for the spatial ordering (every spatial ordering via before rests on some point of view). But what’s the point of view of a workbook exercise? Who’s asking the question? For what purpose?

Now we’re out in the pragmatic weeds. Crucially, Ruthie has to understand that the workbook question is not an attempt to elicit useful information from her, but instead aims to get her to perform in a test of her sociocultural knowledge.

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The Chinese squeaky-pen dog

July 25, 2020

The One Big Happy from 7/2: yet another episode in which Ruthie copes with unfamiliar vocabulary by assimilating it to familiar (but usually not mundane) vocabulary:

(#1)

Mom says Shar Pei, Ruthie says Sharpie:

/ šàrpé / vs / šárpi /

(different accentual patterns; segmentally identical except for the /e/ vs. /i/ in the final syllable, which are minimally different phonologically)

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