Never-ending rock & roll

Today’s Wayno / Piraro Bizarro is a Sisyphus cartoon — the Greek mythological king (punished by having to endlessly roll a rock uphill) made into in a cartoon meme (many examples listed on the Page on this blog on comic conventions) — and also an echo of rock & roll music as a continuing theme in Bizarro cartoons (most recently in my 9/16 posting “Original Rockers”, about AC/DC), these two elements joined in a pun on rock and roll:

(#1) A classically Greek Sisyphus (muscular, wearing only a Greek tunic), rolling his rock while musing on the end of rock & roll as the dominant form of popular music (if you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page)

Out of all this, two topics for a little more comment: the end of rock & roll (“so over this fad”); and cartoonist’s favored memes (for Wayno & Piraro, these include the Psychiatrist meme, in almost any form you can imagine; for Bob Eckstein (“bob”), these include the Sisyphus meme, with various things standing in as the rock and various characters standing in as the roller).

The end of the fad. The end of rock & roll, rock for short. From Dan Brooks, “More Than a Feeling: Måneskin [AZ: a Roman rock band with a Danish name meaning ‘moonlight, ‘(It.) chiaro di luna‘] has become a global sensation by giving Gen Z a taste of what rock used to be”, New York Times Magazine, in print on 9/17, after a summary of the history of rock:

Let us say … that the era of rock as [popular] music lasted from 1951 to 2011. That’s a three-generation run, if you take seriously rock’s advice to get drunk and have sex in the car and therefore produce children at around age 20.

Rock no longer comes in at the top of the charts; now it’s pop and hip-hop. Rock survives in big stadium concerts; in performances by aging rock icons; and (mostly) in all that history from the early 1950s on, instantly available on streaming services like Spotify (where you can also find crooners, cool jazz, polka bands, and much more). But as a central feature of Western popular culture, rock is gone. Not dead, but living in a niche.

A personal note. The era from 1951 to 2011 is my public lifetime, my time of living as a social being with a public life: from secondary school (in the 1950s) through young adulthood (in the golden age of rock) to the end of my public academic life (in the twenty-teens), rock provided the soundtrack. Now, like rock, I live in a niche. And Gen Z people experience rock musicians as just another species of old folk, along with Joan Baez, Frank Sinatra, Spike Jones, Benjamin Britten, Glenn Miller, Ella Fitzgerald, John Coltrane, John Philip Sousa, Igor Stravinsky, Louis Moreau Gottschalk, Franz Liszt, Giuseppe Verdi, Muzio Clementi, Franz Joseph Haydn, and god knows who else.

Some Bob Eckstein Sisyphus cartoons. It’s a great meme for bob. Three examples, identified by the object filling the role of Sisyphus’s rock:

The giant doughnut (with sprinkles). From the New Yorker of


(#2) Pushed by a cop, illustrating the conventional cop-doughnut association

The corona virus.

(#3) From my 4/13/20 posting “The labors of Corónsyphùs”

The pumpkin. In the first of three memic moments:

(#4) From my 11/1/22 posting “Every meme is better with a pumpkin in it”

One Response to “Never-ending rock & roll”

  1. Mitch4 Says:

    At the “Comics I Don’t Understand” blog, we have a post from 2020 on Sisyphus cartoons, still receiving new comments with discussion or most often newly-found examples.
    It’s at

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