Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Bizarro cannibalism

June 8, 2021

The Bizarro strip from 5/30, which reminds us of the bizarre in 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.)

A grotesque pun that turns on the ambiguity between the common noun peanuts (referring to a food item commonly offered as a snack by airlines) and the proper noun Peanuts (referring to the Charles Schulz cartoon and the characters in it). Instead of honey-roasted peanuts, the attendants are offering honey-roasted Peanuts — Lucy, Charlie Brown, Linus, and so on.

Now, Charlie Brown and the gang are only cartoon children, but they are children, and #1 is a cartoon with human characters, which makes the scene look a lot like cannibalism, in fact cannibalism to satisfy routine snack hunger, not even cannibalism to avoid starvation, or as part of a cultural ritual — so that it inspires revulsion. And some very uneasy laughter.

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The Raw and the Cooked

May 30, 2021

The title of the first book of Claude Lévi-Strauss’s monumental 4-volume work Mythologiques — a title that served as the model for the title of my posting yesterday, “The hairy and the smooth” (referring to male body types) — one of three conceptual oppositions treated in that posting, the other two being raw – refined (referring to crudeness, naturalness, or simplicity vs. artfulness, in the presentation of these bodies in underwear ads) and authentic – synthetic (referring to natural materials, like leather, vs. various imitations, mostly based on plastics, in the garments the models are wearing).


(#1) A cover for a French edition

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Musk, leather, and the lumberjack forest

April 30, 2021

… the smell of men fucking

(Clearly not suitable for kids or the sexually modest.)

The story begins with the Etat Libre d’Orange fragrance Tom of Finland:


(#1) Aromatic, woody, leathery ($149 for 100 ml, $98 for 50 ml)

From the perfumery’s site, with a certain amount of perfumer-talk:

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Tom Stoppard speaks to the meat

March 24, 2021

In the New Yorker, “Tom Stoppard’s Charmed and Haunted Life: A new biography enables us to see beneath the intellectual dazzle of the playwright’s work” by Anthony Lane, in the print edition of 3/1/21:

In 2007, the playwright Tom Stoppard went to Moscow. He was there to watch over a production of his trilogy — “Voyage,” “Shipwreck,” and “Salvage,” collectively known as “The Coast of Utopia.” The trilogy had opened in London in 2002, and transferred to Lincoln Center in 2006. Now, in a sense, it was coming home. The majority of the characters, though exiled, are from Russia (the most notable exception being a German guy named Karl Marx), and, for the first time, they would be talking in Russian, in a translation of Stoppard’s text. Ever courteous, he wanted to be present, during rehearsals, to offer notes of encouragement and advice. These were delivered through an interpreter, since Stoppard speaks no Russian. One day, at lunch, slices of an anonymous meat were produced, and Stoppard asked what it was. “That is,” somebody said, seeking the correct English word, “language.”

Since this is a blog mostly about language, you have no doubt seen where that answer came from.

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Casual Outings

March 17, 2021

The current issue of The G&LR (The Gay & Lesbian Review) — volume 28, number 2, March-April 2021 — is in fact the 150th issue of the magazine, and comes as a book, Casual Outings (plus a minimal, 15-page, supplement of book reviews, without any of the customary articles). The front cover:


(#1) (from p. 64) [The illustrator Hefling] is now a retired professor, having taught theology, philosophy, and Great Books at Boston College for thirty years. Besides drawing and (digital) painting, his artistic pursuits include calligraphy and manuscript illumination.

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Gauld on adaptations for the screen

February 27, 2021

A vein of cartoonist Tom Gauld’s work that I’d been unaware of, but then #3 below turned up on Facebook today: cartoons on adaptations of books for the screen (movies or tv). In chronological order below.

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The bristly brute

February 24, 2021

On Reddit on 2/22, posted by u/Tom7454:

“On the anniversary of Arthur Schopenhauer’s birth, David Bather Woods, a Schopenhauer expert at the University of Warwick, recommends five books on Schopenhauser.”

The typo was quoted on Facebook on 2/22  by Wendy Thrash, who explained the intervention of Schopenhauser:

“Because nobody wants to read about Schopenhauer.”

The pointer is to Five Books, a site with book recommendations from authorities; each recommendation is for five books on a specific subject, in this case David Bather Woods on Arthur Schopenhauer:

(#1)

Which inspired me to light verse:

Schopenhauser
Was a schnauzer
A bristly brute that
Played the flute

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Ambiguities, identities, and bullshit artistry

February 17, 2021

A while back on Facebook, the following exchange — call it X1 — appeared out of the blue:

Dennis Lewis: In Hyacinth’s defense, I doubt many natives of Britain know the Super Bowl is being played tomorrow.

It’s like Mrs. Bucket’s American counterpart asking if the World Cup [AZ: the World Cup, the soccer contest, has a trophy, but it’s not in the form of a cup] has hand-painted periwinkles [AZ: flowers suitable as decorations on teacups].

Hyacinth Bouquet > Dennis Lewis: Sheridan has a large collection of sports cups.

I could recognize familiar stuff in there, but was also baffled by parts of it. Gamely, however, I responded to the developing discussion of ambiguities in cup:

AZ > Hyacinth Bouquet: sports cups (for insertion in an athletic supporter / jockstrap) are rarely made of bone china, for obvious reasons. Sometimes, beauty must give way to practicality.

So I’ll start with that.

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Hello, sailor

February 16, 2021

(This posting is about (real or fictive) sexual encounters between men, sometimes discussed in street language, so it’s not for kids or the sexually modest.)

The Daily Jocks ad from 2/15, under the header:


(#1) With the motor boat emoji (there’s a ferry emoji that might have done the job here, with a bad pun as a bonus)

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The whale and the smartphone

February 10, 2021

The Dale Coverly Speed Bump cartoon of 4/25/18, yet another instance of the cartoon meme of Ahab and the whale, this time showing only the whale —  but the whale in communication with  Ahab via their smartphones:

v

(See the Page on this blog on comic conventions, including the cartoon meme of Ahab and the whale.)

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