Caterpillars spinning platters

Yesterday’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro, with songs you just can’t get out of your head:

(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 6 in this strip — see this Page.)

A wonderful collision of worlds, set off by the idiomatic (and colorfully metaphorical) N + N compound earworm: the world of DJs — the ear world (disc jockeys providing sonic pleasures for the ear) — and the world of caterpillars — the worm world (caterpillars being one type of worm in colloquial English).

Earworms. Brief refresher from NOAD:

noun earworm: …  2 informal a catchy song or tune that runs continually through a person’s mind.

On this blog, my 5/30/15 posting “Earworms, snowmen, and parodies”.

The worm part. I’ll start with this because it’s the simpler part (though not without its complexities). From NOAD:

noun worm:  1 [a] any of a number of creeping or burrowing invertebrate animals with long, slender soft bodies and no limbs. Phyla Annelida (segmented worms), Nematoda (roundworms), and Platyhelminthes (flatworms), and up to twelve minor phyla. [b] short for earthworm. [c] (worms) intestinal or other internal parasites. [d] used in names of long slender insect larvae, especially those in fruit or wood, e.g. army worm, woodworm [AZ:the sense in the cartoon]. [e] used in names of other animals that resemble worms in some way, e.g. slow-worm, shipworm. [f] a maggot supposed to eat buried corpses: food for worms. …

The  NOAD entry privileges the use of worm as a semi-technical term by biologists, as if the other senses are metaphorical offshoots of that. But an everyday category of creepy-crawly things referred to by the label worm is of course the older usage, which biologists then adapted to their purposes, as they did with fly and bug, among other labels.

The DJ part. This is really complex. One entry point, from NOAD:

noun disc jockey (also disk jockey): a person who introduces and plays recorded popular music, especially on radio or at a disco [AZ: conventionally abbreviated in the initialism DJ]

From OED3 (Dec. 2013 on: disc ‘recording’ + jockey ‘disc jockey’:

originally U.S.; 1st cite 1941 in Variety; as DJ in a discotheque [see below], 1st cite 1964

DJ (also from OED3), sense 2a:

A person who plays recorded music for people to dance to at a nightclub or party, typically (in later use) using techniques such as mixing, beat-matching, scratching, sampling, etc.; (more generally) a person who plays, records, or produces music using these techniques, esp. a person who plays such music as part of a group of rap musicians … Frequently with distinguishing word, as club DJ, disco DJ, techno DJ, etc.

A DJ in action,from the Always a Party site in Niagara Falls NY, renting services for parties


Ok, now that’s another N + N compound, so that has two parts, the disc part and the jockey part.

On disc (also from OED3), among the specializations of the root sense of disc as a flat circular object:

5. Any of various types of thin circular plate on which sound may be recorded; (originally) = record …; (now chiefly) = compact disc … Also: a piece of music or other audio recording on a record, compact disc, etc. Also: (as a mass noun) such discs as a recording medium (chiefly in on disc). [1st cite 1879 Popular Science Monthy on phonograph disks]

As for jockey, the sense development is from jockey ‘rider in horse races’; to ‘driver of a motor vehicle’ (a pretty straightforward metaphor); to ‘player of recorded music’, managing the discs like a horse or motor vehicle (a somewhat more complex metaphor).

Lubricious footnotes.Two of them.

Number 1, from my 3/30/11 posting “Male vanity”

shock jock [for men’s underwear incorporating a cup insert, enhancing the wearer’s pouch] is adapted from the slang for a radio broadcaster who uses humor that some of the audience might find shocking, with jock clipped from jockey, itself truncated from disc jockey.)

Number 2, the obvious queer extension of the image of a jockey riding his horse to tops riding bottoms in gay anal sex.Surprising to me, GDoS seems to lack the items ass jockey and  butt jockey, though Urban Dictionary has them both.






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