Every meme is better with a pumpkin in it

🐇 🐇 🐇 (NOVEM! NOVEM! N-O-V spells VON! Von who? No, No, that’s Doctor Von Who! Doctor Von Who’s on first? Doctor Von Who’s on first of November, oh god this is where we came in)

Bob Eckstein’s charming cartoon-trope cartoon (a new cartoon for Halloween this year @AltaJournal, also posted yesterday on Facebook along with a trick-or-treating story; and note that National Pumpkin Day went by on 10/26):

(#1) Three cartoon memes (I will no longer attempt to distinguish memes from tropes, given the extraordinary variation in the usage of the two terms): Sisyphus, Desert Island, Seeker and Seer

From Bob’s own drawing-board:

(#2) Sisyphus

(#3) Desert Island, in the New Yorker, 10/8/12

(#4) Seeker and Seer, from the Chronicle of Higher Education; #2 in my 6/24/16 posting “Bob Eckstein”

In my experience with the comics (which is neither a full survey of what’s out there nor a random sampling from it), the big three of cartoon memes is Psychiatrist, Desert Island, and Grim Reaper, but there are plenty more, among them:

Caveman, Ahab and the Whale, Dog in Bar, Ascent of Man / Evolution of Life, Pavlov, Noah’s Ark, Pirate, Slow Snail, Maze Rat, Clown and Balloon Animal, Potato Head, Batman

And for your seasonal pleasure, there’s even a Pumpkin Spice cartoon meme; see my 10/23/17 posting “The pumpkin spice cartoon meme”, with 8 examples (none, alas, from Bob Eckstein).

Closely related to cartoon memes are cartoon parodies / burlesques of artworks, with a few models especially favored for parody:

Nighthawks, The Last Supper, American Gothic, The Scream, The Mona Lisa, (Michelangelo’s) David, The Birth of Venus, Whistler’s Mother, The Starry Night, Girl with a Pearl Earring

The cartoon memes are typically used as vehicles for jokes that have nothing in particular to do with the settings of the cartoons; Psychiatrist and Desert Island are especially useful for this purpose. While the cartoon parodies often serve as a kind of art criticism, pulling out some aspect of the artwork for exaggeration.

But the two effects intertwine easily, notably in the rich vein of cartoons taking off from two paintings by Magritte: in the cartoon memes Not a Pipe and Son of Man. On the former, there is a Page on this blog on Magrittean disavowals. On the latter, see my 1/18/22 posting “The infested apple”, with 7 riffs on Magritte’s painting (with its green apple), plus another in my 10/13/22 posting “Apple men”.

And then, today’s Wayno / Piraro Bizarro, with a Hawaiian pineapple variant:

(#5) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 4 in this strip — see this Page.)

Bonus. What’s with “NOVEM! NOVEM! N-O-V spells VON!” (accompanying November’s inaugural rabbits at the head of this posting)? (I’m assuming you can work out Doctor Who and “Who’s on first?”.)

This is a play on “Nova, nova! A-V-E spells Eva!” — an English (free) translation of the Latin “Nova, nova! Ave fit ex Eva”, ‘News, news! AVE [‘hail’] has been made from EVA [‘Eve’]’,  in the Christmas hymn:

Nova, nova!
Ave fit ex Eva.
Gabriel of high degree,
He was sent from the Trinity,
To Nazareth in Galilee.
Nova, nova!

You need to know that the Virgin Mary is sometimes called “the new Eve” (Latin Eva), and that the Rosary prayer begins, in Latin, Ave Maria ‘Hail Mary’. Yes, this is intricate and also really, really Roman Catholic.

One Response to “Every meme is better with a pumpkin in it”

  1. Robert Coren Says:

    Re #5: While I’m aware that the Pipe is fairly common among Piraro’s “odd symbols”, I assume it’s not entirely coincidental that he included it in a Magritte-referencing cartoon.

Leave a Reply