Three memic moments

… in the cartoons. Two — a Joseph Dottino and a William Haefeli — from the latest (1/24/22) New Yorker, plus a Wayno/Piraro Bizarro from 1/19. Recognizable penguins, upscale gay-male couples, and crash test dummies, oh my!

Dottino’s penguins. The cartoon:

(#1) Sometimes, apparently, even penguins have trouble telling each other apart

This is the (Indistinguishable) Penguin meme, which first appeared on this blog, I believe, in my 6/9/16 posting “Tom Toro”, in #4 there:

(#2) The conceit is that while all penguins look alike to us, to other penguins, every one is a distinguishable individual, with its own characteristics (beauty, in this case)

Another cartoon by Dottino (from the New Yorker of 10/16/17), who’s new to this blog:


Haefeli’s gay-male couple. The cartoon:

(#4) Not just a gay-male couple, but also an interracial one, and in bed (though admittedly just reading in bed together — a domestic, rather than affectionate, scene)

(The pleonastic book title “Redux Again” is a nice invention.)

I don’t know how far back Haefeli’s interracial gay couples go, but I posted about one in 2019 and there was one I found wryly entertaining in 2020.

From my 12/19/19 posting “Zeitgeisty”:

By William Haefeli in the 12/2/19 New Yorker, this entry in his chronicles of fashionable urban upper middle class gay men, especially in couples… :


Meanwhile, both men are on the cutting edge of the Zeitgeist in fashion for men. Black guy with dreads and a neck tattoo on the left, white guy with a short ponytail and an ornate curly beard on the right. (I won’t even go into the clothes and accessories.)

Then in the New Yorker on 11/30/20:

(#6) The doubly cursed couple prepares to endure a family event together (note that they have, probably pointedly, chosen not to dress in straight drag for the occasion)

Haefeli’s cartoons are affectionate comedies of manners, mostly dealing with relationships among the young, urban, upper middle class: parents with their children, mixed-sex couples, same-sex couples. At 68 (born 8/14/53) he’s no longer young himself, but he’s still urban (now in LA) and upper middle class, drawing for the stereotypical publication of the American urban upper middle class, the New Yorker — and of course gay.

It would be pushing the envelope to treat gay-male couples as a elaborated cartoon meme; instead, it’s just a favorite broad theme for certain cartoonists — like dogs, or Vermont, or doctors. But it is a signficant theme of Haefeli’s.

Bizarro‘s crash test dummy. The cartoon:

(#7) The crash test dummy wants the taxi driver to drive as fast as possible to Wall St., presumably so that they can crash into the wall, which is what vehicles with crash test dummies in them do (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 5 in this strip — see this Page.)

On the Crash Test Dummy cartoon meme, see my 11/14/21 posting “Memic dummies at home”.

2 Responses to “Three memic moments”

  1. Danny Boy - London Derriere Says:

    That Bizarro also had me thinking about Wall Street financial crashes. Could the dummy be anticipating one of those, and somehow casting his presence at one as appropriate?

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