Seeker of wise spud, rudely rebuffed

The Wayno / Piraro Bizarro for New Year’s Eve Eve is a goofy amalgam of two different cartoon memes with an egregious pun; Wayno’s title is “Reclusive Russets” (russets being a type of potato). No, of course it doesn’t cohere; that’s what makes it delightful (remember that this strip is called Bizarro).

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

The Potato Head meme (all three characters are Potato Heads) and the seeker and the seer meme (one character is seeker, the other two seers), plus some CRAB / CARB play on the compound noun hermit crab, mountain-top seers being hermits who have removed themselves from ordinary life, and potatoes being carbs, specifically starches (complex carbohydrates )

A social note. Before I get into the wonderfully entangled elements of the cartoon, a note on the social world of these Potato Head hermits.

— the seers are a pair of hermits; usually there’s just one (what reclusive takes a companion along?)

— they’re a same-sex pair of hermits / Potato Heads, a male pair (ah, buddies or boyfriends?); Potato Head couples are common, but are standardly of mixed sex

— they’re an interracial pair; Potato Head couples are standardly of the same race, insofar as potato races can be distinguished (but these differ in skin color, and the darker one has dreadlocks — yellow ones, but dreadlocks — signaling his blackness)

On the last point: in the real world, people are mostly into assortative mating, partnering with those who are like them socially, in class, race, ethnicity, religion, etc. The generalization holds for same-sex couples as for mixed-sex ones. There are, however, interracial, interfaith, etc. couples in both worlds, and my impression is that BWM (black and white men) coupling — as in the cartoon — is a significant minority pattern in the same-sex world. Certainly in my same-sex world. Especially among the bears. (This might just be a consequence of the sort of person I am, but there it is.)

The two cartoon memes.  First, the Seeker and the Seer. From my 6/24/16 posting “Bob Eckstein”, with an example from Bob:


a wordless cartoon that requires you to recognize two things: the Rubik’s Cube (and how you deal with it) and the cartoon meme of the seeker after the knowledge of a seer — scaling a mountainside to seek englightenment (and perfection) from the master. The seeker is a Rubik’s Cube in its jumbled state, as you would get it in a store. But the master (sitting in the lotus position) is a perfect, solved cube.

Second, Potato Head. From my 5/5/17 posting “Potato Head strip poker”, with this Bizarro example:


Potato Heads, as toys with detachable body parts, are frequent subjects for cartoonists. The detachable penis is one theme. The cannibalistic nature of Potato Heads eating french fries is another. Dan Piraro is fond of the Potato Head cartoon meme.

The egregious pun. CRABS / CARBS. Certainly an imperfect pun, and probably as much orthographic as phonological, but easily graspable. The lexical background, from NOAD entries:

— noun carboydrate: … 2 food consisting of or containing a lot of sugars, starch, cellulose, or similar substances that can be broken down to release energy in the human body, and make up one of the main nutritional food groups: my blood sugar level rises when I eat carbohydrates | [mass noun]: make sure you feed them lots of carbohydrate. [AZ: cellulose is insoluble, non-digestible carbohydrate; (digestible) dietary carbohydrates are either chemically simple sugars or complex starches]

— noun carb: (carbs) dietary carbohydrates: all of our products are naturally low in carbs | [as modifier]: consumers are really watching their carb intake. ORIGIN 1980s: short for carbohydrate.

— compound noun hermit crab: a crab with a soft asymmetrical abdomen, which lives in a castoff mollusk shell for protection. In several kinds the shell becomes covered with sponges, sea anemones, or bryozoans. Superfamily Paguroidea. [AZ: a crab that is metaphorically a hermit]

(#4) From the National Geographic site on hermit crabs, the land hermit crab Coenobita brevimanus, native to Indonesia. (photo: Joel Sartore, National Geographic Photo Ark)

— noun hermit: 1 [a] a person living in solitude as a religious discipline. [b] any person living in solitude or seeking to do so. …

— noun crab-3: informal an irritable person. [AZ: putting the two nouns together to make the novel compound noun hermit crab ‘reclusive irritable person, irritable recluse’]

Putting it all together. I love the dismayed expression on the face of the seeker Potato Head, as he is rudely rebuffed by the reclusive pair of Potato Head seers. Rough days on the side of the mountain.


2 Responses to “Seeker of wise spud, rudely rebuffed”

  1. Stewart Kramer Says:

    I particularly liked the K2 symbol on a mountain in the background (K2 also being the name of the 2nd-highest mountain on earth), and the potato with one eye in the UFO.

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