Outrageous POP

🐅 🐅 🐅 tiger tiger tiger for ultimate September; tomorrow the inaugural rabbits of October will bound in

In today’s Wayno / Piraro Bizarro, set in the Schmancy auction house — think Christie’s or Sotheby’s — a Mötley Crüe cruet POPped (phrasal overlap portmanteaued) to  Motley Crüet (somehow the first röck döt got lost in the compression process):

(#1) Wayno’s title: “Tinny Aftertaste”, combining the metal of heavy metal with the taste of a cruet’s contents (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 4 in this strip — see this Page.)

To understand this, you need to know about fancy-schmancy auction houses and how they operate; about cruets and their function in dining; and about heavy metal music and the heavy metal band Mötley Crüe and their reputation for vulgarly outrageous behavior, which clashes with the civility of oil-and-vinegar dressings for salads, so yielding the humor of anomalous juxtaposition.

The Schmancy auction house gets its name from the reduplicative adjective:

adj. fancy-schmancy: informal North American extremely or excessively fancy. Ben has some fancy-schmancy job. (Oxford Languages dictionary)

On shm-reduplication, from Wikipedia:

Shm-reduplication is a form of reduplication originating in Yiddish in which the original word or its first syllable (the base) is repeated with the copy (the reduplicant) beginning with shm– (sometimes schm-), pronounced /ʃm/. The construction is generally used to indicate irony, sarcasm, derision, skepticism, or lack of interest with respect to comments about the discussed object.

With a noun base, the shm-reduplicated form usually functions as an exclamation (A: He’s just a baby! / B: Baby-shmaby, he’s five years old!). With an adjective base, the shm-reduplicated form usually functions as an intensifying adjective (Whenever we go to a fancy-schmancy restaurant, we feel like James Bond.)

To get the name of the auction house, fancy-schmancy is clipped down to its crucial part, the reduplicant.

Cruets. From NOAD:

noun cruet: 1 a small container for salt, pepper, oil, or vinegar for use at a dining table. …

As here:

(#2) A Sudbury glass cruet set, 6 1/2 in high (on amazon.com)

Mötley Crüe. The Wikipedia summary:

Mötley Crüe is an American heavy metal band formed in Los Angeles in 1981. The group was founded by bassist Nikki Sixx, drummer Tommy Lee, lead guitarist Mick Mars and lead singer Vince Neil. Mötley Crüe has sold over 100 million albums worldwide.

… The members of Mötley Crüe have often been noted for their hedonistic lifestyles and the androgynous personae they maintained. Following the hard rock and heavy metal origins on the band’s first two albums, Too Fast for Love (1981) and Shout at the Devil (1983), the release of its third album Theatre of Pain (1985) saw Mötley Crüe joining the first wave of glam metal. The band has also been known for their elaborate live performances, which feature flame thrower guitars, roller coaster drum kits, and heavy use of pyrotechnics (fireworks) (including lighting Sixx on fire).

… [about the name:] while trying to find a suitable name, Mars remembered an incident that occurred when he was playing with a band called White Horse, when one of the other band members called the group “a motley looking crew”. He had remembered the phrase and later copied it down as ‘Mottley Cru’. After modifying the spelling slightly, “Mötley Crüe” was eventually selected as the band’s name, with the stylistic decision suggested by Neil to add the two sets of metal umlauts, supposedly inspired by the German beer Löwenbräu, which the members were drinking at the time.

From the band’s own site, the bad boys boasting about their vulgarly outrageous behavior and the sheer level of noise they can produce, while only hinting at their enormous commercial success and not even mentioning their pyromania:


No still photo can capture the Mötley Crüe experience. Just one sample: the song “Dr. Feelgood”(about the neighborhood drug dealer), the title track from from a 1989 album; you can watch the official music video here. About the album, from Wikipedia:

Dr. Feelgood … is the fifth studio album by American heavy metal band Mötley Crüe, released on August 28, 1989. … In addition to being Mötley Crüe’s best selling album, it is highly regarded by music critics and fans as the band’s best studio album.

Chorus 1 from the song:

He’s the one they call Dr. Feelgood
He’s the one that makes ya feel all right
He’s the one they call Dr. Feelgood
He’s gonna be your Frankenstein

A little more on the name. Two notes: on motley, and on röck döts (aka metal umlauts).

— on the adjective:

adj. motley: incongruously varied in appearance or character; disparate: a motley crew of discontents and zealots. (NOAD)

— on the diacritics, see my discussion in the 7/12/21 posting “A snowfall of diacritics, an avalanche of röck döts”

2 Responses to “Outrageous POP”

  1. arnold zwicky Says:

    Meanwhile, on Facebook, a What Fresh Crudity Is This? posting by Aric Olnes, who reports on drummer Tommy Lee’s having advanced from exhorting women to show their tits to exhorting men to flash their dicks (yes, he sees these as equivalents):

    I just saw Mötley Crüe with Def Leppard, Poison and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts at the Oracle Ballpark in SF. It was a long music festival where the drummer Tommy Lee from Mötley Crüe, who is known for asking women in the audience to show their tits at concerts, turned it around in San Francisco and asked guys in the crowd to whip out their dicks. [Tommy Lee had recently gone on social media (!🍆!) to share his own dick pic] and apparently this revealing moment at the SF show made the news over some people who were offended by such exposure.


    Now, it’s admittedly hard to tell when performers are putting on a show — enacting their stage personas — and when they’re just giving free rein to their own impulses (and the line between those presentations is far from crisp), but in this case it’s hard not to think that Tommy Lee really is the vulgar narcissistic prick he plays on stage. (Look, I’m a tremendous dick fan, but not shoved in my face by random strangers with no care for my pleasure and desires and likely harboring contempt in their hearts. And beyond that, I have no problem with the enactment of raw animal urges in performance — but it’s *performance*, so I expect it to manifest style and craft, to be aesthetically satisfying.)

  2. Mitch4 Says:

    Among the words I can pinpoint where I first noticed encountering them, is “cruet”. There was (I think still is) a brand of salad dressing powder mixes called “Good Seasons”. The product is a packet of spices, herbs, and probably fillers or suspension agents, which you mix up with your own oil and vinegar. They give instructions for how much vinegar and oil to use; but also sometimes sell the packets bound together with a CRUET (identified as such) that has lines on it for measuring the liquid ingredients.

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