Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Bingo!

May 16, 2022

Today’s morning name, which led me back to an onomatomanic Zippy strip from 7/3/21 (yes, I work extremely slowly):


(#1) Zippyesque repetitive phrase disorder, aka onomatomania, fixated on exploding magic bingo bombs

This being a Zippy strip, exploding magic bingo bombs are a real thing; Bill Griffith doesn’t just make up stuff like this.

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The discovery of smoke

May 8, 2022

A Mick Stevens cartoon from the New Yorker of 4/18:


(#1) The giant black cloud of smoke, largely obscuring its discoverer, made me laugh out loud when this issue arrived last month

But I didn’t post about the cartoon because it seemed to have neither a linguistics point nor a gender & sexuality point (nor to engage with other of my passions — music, art, food, plants, animals, mathematics, men’s bodies, shapenote singing, Switzerland, my medical conditions, and so on).

Ah, man of little faith. There is almost always a linguistics point to be found; and, if I’m willing to exercise some ingenuity, a gay point too. And so it is here.

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Bro-xclamation

April 23, 2022

If you wanna be one of the guys, you gotta talk like one of the guys. The lesson of this masculinity cartoon by Hartley Lin in the New Yorker of 4/25 & 5/2:

Being one of the boys here is fitting into (what I’ve called) a male band, a group of mutually supportive, like-minded, and like-acting bros. (See the section on “The social organization of men in modern America” in my 1/6/21 posting “Another 1996 Superbowl moment”.) Like-acting because the band monitors its members’ behavior and enforces the band norms, which the band members see as matters of masculinity display.

Two kinds of masculinity display. A core type that I’ll call negative masculinity display, characterized by avoidance of anything that smacks of women or girls. And a more purely conventional type — positive masculinity display — characterized by adhering to local norms of behavior that are simply “how guys do it” — stuff that males pick up from other males. (The terminology is loosely based on negative and positive politeness; see the Wikipedia section on the politeness types, following Brown & Levinson.)

Green Hand (who’s a green ‘inexperienced’ ranch hand) has come up short on a linguistic bit of positive masculinity in this band of ranch hands: as the older hand explains to him in an avuncular way, the appropriate bro-xclamation there for expressing exuberance is yee-haw, not yahoo. Now, if Green Hand had used yoo-hoo, he would have been off on two linguistic counts: in negative masculinity (yoo-hoo is fairly strongly gendered, for use primarily by women); and in actual semantic content, yoo-hoo being a call, not an expression of emotion.

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LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS BLACK WOMEN

April 15, 2022

What I posted to Facebook on 4/8, on the occasion of Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation as an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court. My follow-up said that, yes, the reference was to Agee (the book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, on which more below) and added:

 I can’t begin to say how pleasing KBJ’s appointment is to me.

To amplify a bit. This is not the Promised Land, but it is nevertheless a Big Fucking Deal. One of the things about my hero John Lewis that moved me especially was that he truly believed that we could reach the Promised Land in this life (not in an afterlife on Jordan’s other bank) — just not in his life, it would take some time. [More below on Lewis and this astonishing bit of faith on his part.] Meanwhile [Lewis believed], we have to keep moving on the path. KBJ is a highly visible step on the path, and that’s a big thing, a moment of joy.

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Three cartoons for 4/12/22

April 12, 2022

(Warning: as is my way, a soupçon of smart-ass street talk.)

Two on gendered topics, plus another cartoon that’s incomprehensible unless you recognize one of its elements (and only incidentally has a gendered bit in that element).

Masculine identity for young teens in a One Big Happy (a re-play from 4/26/10 in my comics feed today); a display of femininity in today’s Rhymes With Orange; and then, in today’s Wayno / Piraro Bizarro, on the equipment needed for a night lighthouse (with an incidental display of maleness).

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Epitaph for a mammoth

March 8, 2022

… and the ferocity of gatherers. In the heat of the moment, it all came down to:

IT WAS IN THE WAY

The Sunday (and so landscape rather than portrait, also Piraro-only) Bizarro from 2/26, posted here for International Women’s Day, 3/8:


(#1) Mammoths, hunter-gatherers, and the power of women (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are, omigod, 13 in this strip — see this Page.)

Apparently, she took the mammoth down with a sharp stick, something she was perhaps gathering as firewood. Wow.  Don’t mess with Bess.

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Whoopee spicy beef and celery soup

March 2, 2022

Seizing a moment of pleasure in yesterday’s deeply despairing hours: the little bit that I can still manage by way of cooking, which is really just assembly and using kitchen appliances (a rice cooker, the microwave), in a conscious imitative realization of the delightful verse by Maurice Sendak, “Chicken Soup with Rice” (1962):

Whoopee once
Whoopee twice
Whoopee spicy beef and celery soup
With rice

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Garden Prince

February 27, 2022

A Vicki Sawyer greeting card (on Sawyer’s animal art, see my 2/5/22 posting “The groundhog and the scallion”) from Ann Burlingham, Troublemaker (that’s what it says on her business card) — written on the 20th, postmarked in Pittsburgh on the 22nd, arrived in Palo Alto on the 26th — with a reproduction of Sawyer’s composition “Garden Prince”:


(#1) The Garden Prince wears a crown of carrots and a royal neckchain of peapods, which together serve both as symbols of his authority and as indicators of his tastes in food (also note the conventional simile like peas and carrots ‘getting along well together, being compatible’)

In #1, Ann “saw something akin to a Renaissance portrait. Crossed with Watership Down?” YES!

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velour

February 26, 2022

Another too-cold day, no going outside, because it hurts too much for me to breathe (that’s been a problem for 40-50 years, it’s why I moved from Ohio to California, but now it’s much worse because I have some chronic respiratory thing, all sinus and bronchial distress, that might be long Covid, or just my body giving up), so I bundled up at 4 a.m. — breakfast time — in my excellent blue velour bathrobe, sweetly worn, smelling a bit like me, warming to my body, pleasing to the touch, bearing the satisfying luxurious name velour. A delicious word. Velvety amour.

I mused on the word. And its fabric family: velour, velvet, velveteen, plush.

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VDay kisses

February 15, 2022

For Valentine’s Day, sexual (rather than social) kisses. And since this is my blog, male-male kisses, which have moved me since I was a child. The spurs being some male-male kisses recently in the news, plus a Daniel Mendelsohn piece in Out magazine, “Gay TV and Me: How my life would be different if boys were kissing boys onscreen 40 years ago — like they are today” on 9/20/12.

First, some boys kissing:


(#1) Cover photo for the YA (young adult) novel Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan (2013), a much-challenged book

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