Today’s exercise in cartoon understanding

Today’s Wayno / Piraro Bizarro — Wayno’s groan-punning title: “Tuffet Luck” — depends on your knowing one thing from popular culture in the Anglosphere (of, roughly, the past 200 years). If you don’t know that, you’re SOOL; the spider, curds, whey, and tuffet are just weird stuff.

(#1) The spider as ambulatory assault victim; apparently, the spider’s prey was not frightened away, but instead used what they’d learned in self-defense classes (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are (only) 2 in this strip — see this Page.)

Yes, it’s a nursery rhyme. “Little Miss Muffet”, said to have been first recorded in 1805. Traditionally, part of growing up for most children in the Anglosphere (though I wonder if that’s still true), but probably little known elsewhere. And largely opaque to the children who chant it, though I suspect that modern kids are inclined to interpret it as a tale of a male imposing himself on female, and her fleeing from him. Kids would probably understand it as a boy annoying or grossing out a girl with creepy-crawlie things. Older people will think of unwanted advances on the subway, Tyrone F. Horneigh pursuing Gladys Ormphby on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, and the like.

The Bizarro version, on the other hand, is much more up-to-date: Muffet Fights Back.  Muffet, in fact, Kicks Ass.

(Note that the main character in #1 is both a spider (in its web, with multiple legs and compound eyes) and also a human being (much wounded, and treated with a variety of bandagings and medical devices, not to mention speaking English and having considerable knowledge of our culture.)

The nursery rhyme. In my 3/6/17 posting “No whey in hell”, about a Dan Thompson cartoon: information about the nursery rhyme, curds, and whey, with this illustrated version of the rhyme:


From NOAD on the noun tuffet:

1 a tuft or clump of something: grass tuffets. 2 a footstool or low seat.

The story could then be located outdoors (as in #2) or indoors, though the traditional scene was surely out-of-doors.

Bonus: Gladys and Tyrone. From Wikipedia on Ruth Buzzi:

Her most famous character [on the American tv show Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In] was “spinster” Gladys Ormphby, clad in drab brown with her bun hairdo covered by a visible hairnet knotted in the middle of her forehead. … In most sketches, she used her purse as a weapon, with which she would flail away vigorously at anyone who incurred her wrath. She most often was the unwilling object of the advances of Arte Johnson’s “dirty old man” character Tyrone F. Horneigh.

Gladys in action against Tyrone:


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