Two cartoons on the 30th

… in today’s comics feed, both connecting to earlier postings on this blog: a Rhymes With Orange on an ambiguity in the verbing to dust; and a Zippy on Magritte’s painting The Son of Man.



A Rhymes on dusting. From Wikipedia:

Aerial application, or what is informally referred to as crop dusting, involves spraying crops with crop protection products from an agricultural aircraft.

That is, the crops are provided with a kind of dust.

The new hire, however, has come prepared to do household dusting (note the feather duster and the dustrags), involving a different verb to dust — from NOAD:

verb dust: [with object] 1 remove the dust from the surface of (something) by wiping or brushing it …

In this act, dust is removed from things.

From my 10/13/17 posting “Wrinkle cream”:

there are [N + N] compounds with opposite semantics: removal compounds like acne cream ‘cream to eliminate acne blemishes’ versus provision compounds like tan cream (as a variant of tanning cream) ‘cream to give the skin a tan’. Wrinkle cream is conventionally a removal compound (the cream is intended to eliminate, or at least reduce, wrinkles), and that’s Mother Goose’s understanding [in a MGG cartoon]. But [in the cartoon] Grimm understands it as a provision compound, intended to add wrinkles to the skin.

The provision / removal distinction is familiar from another morphological domain, namely the interpretation of verbings of nouns, where some verbings denote removal (shell the peas) and some denote provision (sauce the roast) — a distinction exploited for humor in the children’s book Amelia Bedelia. From a Mental Floss posting on “Amelia Bedelia-isms”:

In the first Amelia Bedelia book, which is self-titled, Amelia’s employers leave her a list of household chores. This includes “dust the furniture.” She locates the [cosmetics] dusting powder in the bathroom (a sign of the times, I suppose — this was first published in 1963) and carefully spreads it over all of the furniture in the house.

The verbing dust is usually a removal verb, but Amelia takes it to be a provision verb — as it in fact is in a different context, in things like the forensic VP dust the wineglass for fingerprints

A Zippy on a Magritte painting. The Magritte painting The Son of Man (1946) narrates the strip, noting that it presents its bowler-hatted green-apple-faced subject only from a front view — and then shows us its subject from other points of view.

The actual painting:


And in my 7/1/18 posting “Photobombing Magritte”, an inventory of four earlier postings involving the painting; it’s a recurrent subject on this blog.

One Response to “Two cartoons on the 30th”

  1. Robert Coren Says:

    When I saw the Rhymes With Orange in my morning newspaper, my second reaction (after simple amusement) was to think “Ah, there’s one for Arnold.”

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