Archive for the ‘Snowclones’ Category

Eustace Tilley for 2022

November 9, 2022

Personal background: I decided to declare today to be a Sick Day and have been doing only the minimal things of life, mostly dozing fitfully in my recliner chair, wrapped up in my bathrobe. (Meanwhile, workmen did serious work on the balcony above my patio, so I had them and their ladders and noisy tools all over my patio, but I just let this activity drift by on the fringes of my consciousness.)

Mingled in with my tortured dreams were actual useful thoughts about postings — I am pretty much incapable of not plying my craft, even in the most unlikely circumstances — including a really neat follow-up to my 11/7 posting “Centennial moments in NYC”, which has a section on the The New Yorker’s first cover illustration, a dandy peering at a butterfly through a monocle — the gentleman now referred to as “Eustace Tilley”, who serves as a kind of mascot for the magazine. Rea Irvin’s original Tilley cover is used every year on the issue closest to the anniversary date of February 21, sometimes with a newly drawn variation in its place.

So, I wondered, what was the 2022 cover like?

Wow! Kadir Nelson’s “High Style”, with Eustace as a proud Black woman in butterfly-ornamented apparel, including a mask for the pandemic.

And then I wondered when you crossed the line from a (new) interpretation, version, or variant of an original cultural item (like the Eustace Tilley image) and moved into the territory of an abstract form, format, or pattern (something you might think of as a meme or trope — Eustace as a vehicle for, or expression of, cultural content). And I even thought of a linguistic parallel to this distinction: in playful variation of a fixed expressions vs. a snowclone.

What follows now is not a posting elaborating on all of this — I’m guessing I have maybe half an hour before I’m poleaxed by exhaustion again — but just a teaser. Please be patient.

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Three peanuts meet in a bar

August 18, 2022

Today’s Wayno / Piraro Bizarro, requiring a boatload of popcultural knowledge to understand:


(#1) The easy part: these are three anthropomorphic peanuts, M, M, F from left to right, and they are sitting at a bar, with drinks in front of them (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page.)

Somehow the meeting of these three exemplifies the N1 + N2 compound N wingnut / wing-nut / wing nut (which has 4 senses in NOAD, plus a bunch more you can imagine). But how?

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What I tell you three times is true

July 16, 2022

Today’s Zippy strip takes us to triple Dinerland in Rockford MI (as it was before it closed in 2011), in a celebration of the rule of three — a narrative principle that favors trios of events or characters in all sorts of contexts:


(#1) The Three Musketeers (in the Dumas novel and the movies), the Three Little Pigs (vs. the Big Bad Wolf in the fable), The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (the 1966 epic spaghetti Western), and the Three Stooges (the vaudeville and slapstick comedy team best known for their 190 short films)

The rule of three in a little while, but first, the diners of Rockford MI (a town of a few thousand people about 10 miles north of Grand Rapids).

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The compounds of commerce and the comics

June 3, 2022

A little study in N + N compounds in English, their great utility and versatility (they pack a lot of content into two-word expressions), and their consequent massive potential ambiguity (so that divining the intended meaning can require vast amounts of background knowledge and appreciating details of the context in which the compound is used). You can have (great) brevity, or you can have (great) clarity, but you can’t have both at once.

From the world of commerce, the compound dog spot (which many of us will not have encountered before, or will take to be a reference to the coat pattern of Dalmatian dogs). From the comic strips, two compounds that have conventional interpretations but can also be understood in fresh and unconventional ways: from One Big Happy, dancing school; from Bizarro, cowboy.

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How do I look?

April 6, 2022

(Yes, this is going to dwell on men’s bodies and man-on-man sex, among other things, much of it in street language, so not appropriate for kids or the sexually modest)

Today’s Daily Jocks ad — headline: KINK PRIDE: IS ‘FETISH’ THE NEW BLACK? [AZ: snowclone alert! snowclone alert!] —  offering their “party-wear poster boy, Jacob, aka DJ Debbie”, as a pinnacle of butch fagginess:


(#1) A fabulous performance that I found at once really hot (in part because of my life history, but also, look at him, he’s fucking cute) and really funny (because he’s toying with (masculine) gender and with (male) dominance of other men, two topics that most guys take very seriously indeed)

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Cooking with gas: a guest posting

November 21, 2021

Grant Barrett (of the Barnette-Barrett radio show A Way with Words — and a real lexicographer, one of the lexicographers I sometimes hang out with, even though I’m not of that tribe) tried to post this as a comment on my posting yesterday, “Now we’re cooking with carrots”, but it appears to have been indigestible to WordPress, so I’m publishing it here as a guest posting. Remember: what follows below the line is Grant, all Grant, not me (except for some formatting).


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Zippy exits, pursued by a board

August 16, 2021

(Warning: high fecality content, which some may find unpleasant.)

Todays Zippy strip, in which Zippy is subjected to stoner / surfer verbal abuse:


(#1) Zippy and his surf iron

As usual, there’s a lot here — I admire Beavis’s one wave shy of a wipeout (see Mark Liberman’s 7/14/05 LLog posting “A few players short of a side” on the Snowclone of Foolishness {small quantity of essential items} short / shy of a {desirable collection}) and the laundry-musician pun in the title “Bleach Boy” — but I’ve picked out the mildly abusive expression iron my shorts for full-bore scrutiny.

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Zippy for President

May 24, 2020

Am I elected yet? Am I re-elected yet? Zippyclone examples from the US presidential elections in 1984 and 1988. The big campaign poster from 1984, with the former variant:


(#1) Taco sauce in hand, Ding Dongs at the ready, Zippy throws his topknot into the electoral ring, challenging President Ronald Reagan and former Vice President Walter Mondale (Hat tip: Tom Frenkel)

It looks like Zippy is a perpetual independent candidate, but most of the campaign literature is in comic books, calendars, and posters, rather than in the strips. I’ve found one strip on his presidential runs, from 2012 (in the mainstream: incumbent President Barack Obama vs. former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney):

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The penguinocalypse

January 3, 2020

Circulating on Facebook (and many other sites) recently, this penguinocalypse cartoon:

(#1)

I call this a cartoon because it’s a marriage of a quite specific text with a quite specific image, circulated as humor. In fact, I haven’t been able to find this text without this image, or this image without this text (right down to the illegible credit in the lower right-hand corner). Nor have I found any variants of this text, or any variants of this image. #1 is a unique artistic creation, just like the other cartoons I post about here — of the subtype in which the image is taken from some other source (in this case, it’s a photoshopped carnivore penguin) rather than drawn by the creator. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to discover who the creator was.

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Revisiting 33: the ambiguity of the truffle

September 5, 2019

Just popped up on Facebook, this old (1/30/07) Bizarro cartoon:

(#1)

See my 8/22/19 posting “Sexy Dark Swiss”, with its section on truffles, fungal and chocolate.

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