Promissory note: a cascade of fishy puns

(I am wretchedly sick again and in great pain, for complicated reasons I won’t explain here. Had nevertheless hoped to show that I could do a posting using only my damaged right hand. This is as much as I’ve been able to get together, but I have to admit temporary defeat on the larger project, so this is another promissory note about pun cartoons.)

Through friends on Facebook yesterday, a Chuck Ingwersen cartoon with a cascade of four flagrantly imperfect puns — with a fish theme:

The pun census: halibut punning on hell of it; cod punning on god; haddock punning on headache; herring punning on hearing

A couple of these puns are phonologically very distant, but they can be understood easily because the context provides rich clues: halibut, in particular, is in the context of the idiom ‘(do something) just for the hell of it‘.

Though the word play is intricate, it’s merely phonological: despite the piscine theme of the puns, the cartoon is firmly located in just one world, that of diners in a restaurant; the characters are not also various species of fish, interacting in a metaphorical world. This isn’t a defect; almost all pun cartoons are merely phonological. But a few are also what I’ve come to call semiotically satisfying, evoking a parallel metaphorical world that complicatedly maps onto the base world. More on this below (I’m always on the lookout for semiotically satisfying cartoons).



2 Responses to “Promissory note: a cascade of fishy puns”

  1. Michael Vnuk Says:

    And a fifth: ‘grouper’.

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