Archive for the ‘Language and the sexes’ Category

The cartoon milkman

September 11, 2018

… and a bad grandpa pun, in the One Big Happy from 8/14:

(#1)

(The characters, left to right in the first and last panels: the neighbor boy James; the son of the OBH family, Ruthie’s older brother Joe; and Joe’s grandfather.)

Grandpa reproduces a bit of culture lore, about liaisons between housewives and milkmen. The boys are no doubt somewhat vague about what would be involved in a woman’s running off with the milkman. But, more pressingly, they don’t know what a milkman is: the N +  N compound is scarcely transparent semantically, so unless you’ve actually had milkmen in your experience, tales of women and milkmen are just baffling.

(more…)

Three weekend cartoons: POP goes the caveman couple, recursively

April 8, 2018

A Bizarro/Wayno (the POP), a Rhymes With Orange (the Caveman meme plus relations between the sexes), and a One Big Happy (the recursion):

(more…)

The Hollywood sign in a time of troubles

December 8, 2017

Among recent editorial cartoons on sexual harassment cases are three that use the Hollywood sign as a symbol of things gone wrong in la-la land.

(more…)

Husbands and wives

September 22, 2017

Three veins of spousal humor, starting in the early 19th century and ending in an edgily close-to-life comic stereotype realized in cartoons, tv shows, and movies.

(more…)

Sports Monday Linguistics

September 20, 2017

Surely a record for the NYT sports section: both stories on the front page of Sports Monday this week were about language — language, televised sports, and gender; and language learning, baseball, and tv shows:

“Safest Bet in Sports: Men Complaining About a Female Announcer’s Voice” (on-line head) by Julie Dicaro.

“‘Friends,’ the Sitcom That’s Still a Hit in Major League Baseball” (on-line head) by James Wagner.

(more…)

Revisiting 7: NL:W

September 17, 2017

Yesterday, a posting on the story of a joke (Not Lady: Wife, NL:W for short) whose canonical form is

A: Who was that lady I saw you with last night?
B: That was no lady; that was my wife.

The vector for the spread of the joke seems to have been the vaudeville team Weber & Fields, who allegedly used it in their stage routines over a century ago. But I found no first-hand reports, so I appealed to the hounds of ADS-L for attestations. This netted a clear occurrence from 1859, but embedded in a long and complex back story (though again with the stage German accent of W&F). And an earlier British antecedent.

Then Larry Horn chimed in with some astute observations on the semantics and pragmatics of NL:W.

All will be reproduced here.

(more…)

The NL:W punchline

September 16, 2017

The lead-in tag to my recent posting on marmots:

That’s no beaver, that’s my marmot!

A take-off on a punchline to a vaudeville joke from long ago, a line that’s been played with many thousands of times in the last century. The No Lady: Wife (NL:W) formula, in two common instantiations in a two-man exchange:

1 A: Who was that lady I saw you with last night?
B: She was no lady. She was my wife.

2 A: Who was that lady I saw you with last night?
B: That was no lady; that was my wife.

(more…)

Lauren la flâneuse

March 15, 2017

In the NYT Book Review on 3/5/1 7, under the heading “Walk on By” — subtitle (in print) “A tribute to the pleasures of aimless urban exploration, female style”, (on-line) “A Celebration of Women’s Pleasure in Wandering a City” — a review by Diane Johnson of Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London by Lauren Elkin (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2016).

(#1)

The cover art captures well Elkin’s reconfiguring the identity of the flâneur, for nearly 200 years the exclusive property of men, as a female identity, the flâneuse. Still urban and modern and primarily European in outlook, but now available to women (of independent spirit).

(more…)

Animal instincts

November 7, 2016

Today’s Bizarro:

(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 2 in this strip — see this Page.)

Lionesses do most (but not all) of the hunting for a pride, often in groups, so it’s appropriate that Piraro’s character, retired from the hunt to take up office work, is depicted as a female secretary.

Then there’s the idea that hunting down and devouring prey is an almost uncontrollable animal instinct, urge, or drive — in the very nature of lions — which requires constant effort to keep in check.

Ah, we’ve seen an analogous idea in a very different sphere.

(more…)

Sexual advance?

October 3, 2015

A Dilbert from a while back (9/23) with co-workers Alice and Ted at cross-purposes:

People are inclined to sexualize social relations between the sexes, to the point where some people are dubious that men and women can have non-sexually tinged friendships, and this inclination seems to be particularly strong among men. The rather dim-witted Ted is a pretty extreme case.

(more…)