Archive for the ‘Clichés’ Category

Smell the roses in a field

February 26, 2021

Two cartoons in my comics feed on 2/25 (otherwise known as Yay! Pfizer1 Day! at my house) on language play: a Wayno/Piraro Bizarro playing on formulaic language (the metaphorical idiom / cliché stop and smell the roses), and a Piccolo/Price Rhymes With Orange with a play on the ambiguity of field.

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Slip and pipers

February 14, 2021

Today’s Bizarro offer some transposition (spooneristic) word play, involving the exchange of the initial syllables of the two accented words in the clichéd expression pipe and slippers — giving the eminently depictable slip and pipers:


(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 9 in this strip — see this Page.)

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Frequently asked questions

January 31, 2021

A Roz Chast cartoon in the latest (2/1/21) New Yorker:

Questions asked often enough that they border on clichés. They’re frequently asked questions — but they’re not Frequently Asked Questions, Frequently Asked Questions being an idiomatic expression usually reduced to an alphabetic abbreviation, the noun FAQ.

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cherchez la femme

September 8, 2020

Today’s morning name, a French expression whose literal meaning is straightforward, but whose uses in context are anything but.

From Wikipedia:

Cherchez la femme is a French phrase which literally means ‘look for the woman’. It is a cliche in detective fiction, used to suggest that a mystery can be resolved by identifying a femme fatale or female love interest.

The expression comes from the novel The Mohicans of Paris (Les Mohicans de Paris) published 1854–1859 by Alexandre Dumas (père) [an adventure story, not a detective story]. The phrase is repeated several times in the novel

… The phrase embodies a cliché of detective pulp fiction: no matter what the problem, a woman is often the root cause.

The phrase has thus come to refer to explanations that automatically find the same root cause, no matter the specifics of the problem.

Two plays on the phrase (from among many), below the fold:

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A standout in his shorts

April 27, 2019

(Mesh Man in his underwear, leading us in many directions, but with plenty of sexual content — not suitable for kids or the sexually modest.)

From the 12th: Mesh Man returns to the Daily Jocks underverse, flogging their fabulous Varsity Mesh Shorts, flaunting his famous receptive organ — he’s all man and a foot deep — kneeling with feeling in #1 and flashing a finger gun to his fans in #2:


(#1) Party shorts! (see the ad below) — I go down on one knee to go down on my guy

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Song of the season

December 12, 2018

It’s time for that moving, rousing carol that makes this time of the year so special. I refer of course to the great seasonal song of Okefenokee County, the Pogolicious, Kellytastic “Deck us all with Boston Charlie”:

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Mascots united

June 20, 2018

This week’s Drunk Cartoon from Bob Eckstein brings us the Oddburgercouple.:


(#1) The Burger King and Ronald McDonald share a moment of post-coital bliss

Two creepy mascots for competing burger behemoths seize a moment of forbidden love — Romeo coupling with Julio, Tony with Mario — and share an after-cliché.

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Is that all there is? Just platypi and clichés?

December 19, 2017

Today’s Zippy has our Pinhead hero trading diner thoughts with a Pinhead named Nesbitt:

For two panels, Zippy spouts the idea that nothing represents, or stands for, something else; things are what they are, and that’s all there is. Meanwhile, Nesbitt runs through two idioms that he thinks of as clichés (rock s.o.’s world, takeaway), and the pair ping-pong plural platypi.

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One-hit grinders

October 2, 2017

The Zippy from September 30th, featuring Mary’s Coffee Shop, which also offers grinders:

(#1)

Plays on several senses of grind, plus the idiom one-hit wonder (with its phonological play on /wʌn/).

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On the quote watch

April 14, 2017

An exchange on Facebook a few days ago, provoked by a 4/9/17 piece linking to 4/15/11 story “World’s languages traced back to single African mother tongue: scientists” on PRI (Public Radio International). Various annoyed responses, including, from Ben Zimmer:

No idea why this PRI piece has been making the rounds lately, but it’s about the old 2011 Science paper

My response:

On Facebook, everything old is new again.

— intending to use the boldfaced catchphrase (or cliché) to convey something like ‘fashions and trends are repeated or revived’. Then I wondered about the history of the expression, and found nothing useful in dictionaries of quotations, idioms, and clichés, at least for this wording used in this way. What I found were links to biblical quotations with different wording conveying rather different content; and then, from the 1970s on, a ton of examples of what was clearly recognized as a catchphrase / cliché, used much as I used it above.

As I note here every so often, I am not a lexicographer or a quotes investigator, and I don’t have the resources to pursue the history of expressions in their sociocultural context (though I do hang out with people who do these things, splendidly). So here I’m just setting the problem.

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