Two from the 2/8/21 New Yorker

… both about N + N compounds: about weather bar in a Roz Chast cartoon, (implicitly) about bear hug in a wordless Will McPhail cartoon.

The Chast. The cartoon:

(#1) The compound weather bar, parallel to sports bar

From NOAD:

noun sports bar: a bar where televised sporting events are shown continuously

So a weather bar is a bar where televised weather news is shown continuously.

From FSR [Full Service Restaurant] magazine “Why it’s a New Era for America’s Classic Sports Bar” by Gay M. Stern in the 10/18 issue, this illustration of a classic sports bar:

(#2) (FSR’s caption:) Most Arooga’s [sports bars] showcase 80–100 TV’s on site, enabling patrons to watch all the NFL games going on at one time.

It turns out that that there are several types of compounds of the form X bar, according to the sense of bar in them. In particular, a large type c, with NOAD‘s sense [c] of bar, “an establishment where alcohol and sometimes other refreshments are served”; a more heterogeneous type d, with NOAD’s sense [d] of bar: “[usu. with modifier] a small store or booth serving refreshments or providing a service: a dairy bar“; and then there’s dive bar ‘bar that is a dive’ (NOAD: “a disreputable nightclub or bar”).

These types (and 4 subtypes of type c) are enumerated in my 10/18/14 posting “X bar”, which takes off from a goofy Bizarro cartoon about a hippo bar, a bar catering to hippos (similar to a gay bar), gay bar being of subtype c1.

From that posting, on type d, which is

especially characterized by food served, though the establishment is not necessarily small and can in fact be a restaurant (bar & grill): sushi bar, tapas bar, snack bar, hookah bar (not a bar and not providing food)

And then on the subtypes of type c, numbered for reference here:

[c1] X characterizes patrons, ‘bar for Xs’: gay bar, queer bar, leather bar (leather people, esp. leathermen), hustler bar, twink bar, lesbian bar (all involving gay people); biker bar, singles bar (others); Turkish bar, Japanese bar, etc. (bars for Turks, Japanese, etc.)

[c2] X characterizes accompanying activities, ‘bar at which X goes on’: dance bar (dancing), karaoke bar (karaoke), pool bar (playing pool); jazz bar, country / C&W bar, blues bar (types of music played at the bar); backroom bar (with a backroom for sexual activity), blowjob bar (where you can get/give a blowjob), topless bar (with topless dancers), stripper / strip bar (with strippers) [sports bar, and hence also Chast’s weather bar, are of type c2]

[c3] X characterizes the kind of alcohol served: wine bar, beer bar, cocktail bar

[c4] X denotes the location: beach bar, rooftop bar

The McPhail. The cartoon:

(#3) On the compound bear hug (bear hugs coming in several varieties, one of them illustrated in panel 3); and on playing dead as a strategy for avoiding an attack by a bear (illustrated in panel 2)

Playing dead for bears first. From the New York Times Health section, “Really? The Claim: If Attacked by a Bear, Play Dead” by Anahad O’Connor on 10/4/05 (in print):

THE CLAIM — If attacked by a bear, play dead.

THE FACTS — As bear populations from New Jersey to Yellowstone rebound, so do reports of tense human encounters with them.

Common wisdom holds that the way to react, when all else fails, is simple: curl up in a ball and play dead.

But that is not always the best idea. Attacks can generally be divided into two groups: predatory and defensive. Each calls for a different strategy.

Black and grizzly bears are capable of both types of attack. Those involving grizzlies tend to be defensive, when the animal feels threatened, according to Stephen Herrero, a bear expert at the University of Calgary and the author of “Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance.” Playing dead then lets the bear know you’re not a threat and can cause it to back off.

Black bears usually flee from humans, but when they do attack the motive tends to be predatory, and playing dead doesn’t work. Neither does running away, since bears are much faster than humans.

If the bear is after food, it is best to drop it and back away, Mr. Herrero says. If the animal presses, he adds, be aggressive: shout, bang on objects or use pepper spray to scare it off. The National Parks Service and the National Wildlife Federation recommend similar measures.

THE BOTTOM LINE — Experts do not recommend playing dead if a bear attack appears to be predatory.

Then on bear hugs. The (very) brief version, from NOAD:

noun bear hug: a rough, tight embrace.

On the semantics of this N + N compound: the compound is subsective (a bear hug is a type of hug); and the semantic relationship between the head N, N2, and the modifier N, N1, is the metaphorical one of resemblance (a bear hug is like the hugs that bears give, usually rough and tight)

But if the bears in question are cute teddy bears, they can be affectionate, either loving or reassuring; and this is true of human hugs too. As in this unattributed illustration from Pinterest:


(Note: illustrations of teddy bears hugging are almost always gendered, with the two teddies clearly marked with conventional indicators of feminine and masculine genders. #4 is a rare gender-neutral illustration.)

Then back to the McPhail. In panel 1, a bear threatens a man. In panel 2, the man has dropped to the ground and is playing dead, in the hopes of averting the bear’s attack. And then in panel 3, the surprise: against all accounts of real bear behavior, the bear has turned teddy, and has wrapped itself around the man, in an affectionate and comforting embrace.

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