Archive for the ‘Linguistics in the comics’ Category

An infestation

January 19, 2020

A quirky Joe Dator cartoon from the January 20th issue of the New Yorker:


(#1) “We’re not a seafood restaurant–this building has a pretty severe lobster infestation.”

NOAD‘s account of the everyday usage of infestation (with notes added by me in square brackets):

noun infestation: the presence of an unusually large number of insects or animals [not plants or microbes] in a place, typically so as to cause damage or disease [of concern to human beings]: infestation with head lice is widespread | efforts were made to deal with an infestation of rats in the building.

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Cartoonists at leisure

January 15, 2020

With a heads-up from Bob Eckstein, Michael Maslin’s Inkspill column for 1/14/20, “Fave Photo of the Day: New Yorker Cartoonists At Lunch”. The photo:

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Just one peanut

January 13, 2020

(Lots of off-color jokes, some of them gay-inflected, along with a number of peanut cartoons. So: crude, and perhaps not to everyone’s taste.)

Today’s Rhymes With Orange — entertaining if you get the crucial pop culture allusion, incomprehensible if you don’t:


(#1) An elephant at the doctor’s office, with an x-ray showing the contents of his stomach to be a top hat, a monocle, and a cane; in the face of this evidence, the doctor asks the patient if he’s sure that all he ate was one peanut (presupposing that the patient has claimed just that)

How does this even make sense, much less be funny? Even granting the poploric association between elephants and peanuts — which is actually pretty baffling (see below) — why do peanuts come up in #1 at all? We have a trio of men’s accessories and no visible peanuts.

There’s a hint in the bonus commentary on the left: elephant to elephant, “It’s a medical Mister-y”, where the clue is Mister. But the clue is useless if you don’t know your way around the symbolic figures of American commerce.

You have to be a friend of Mister Peanut.

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The lure of Zip’s

January 12, 2020

Today’s Zippy toon, at Zip’s diner in Dayville CT, with Zippy spreading his love for taco sauce:

(#1)

At least the eighth appearance of Zip’s in Zippy.

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Briefly noted: NAILS

January 10, 2020

The name of a business establishment in this cartoon by Adam Douglas Thompson in the January 13th New Yorker:

A wry, and potentially ominous, play on the central ambiguity in the noun nail; and implicitly a reflection on how business establishments are named: what products or services are provided at a place called NAILS?

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There was a singer had a dog

January 8, 2020

The Epiphany Rhymes With Orange is an exercise in cartoon understanding:

(#1)

Without the title and the comment balloon (on the left), the cartoon is still compensible, and funny — this material adds some extra humorous depth — but none of it works at all unless you know the song.

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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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Back to the swamp

January 3, 2020

Liana Finck in the January 6th New Yorker, with a seasonal evolution cartoon:


(#1) Going back: devolution + home for the holidays

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The year in spam

December 31, 2019

The most recent posting on this topic: on 3/5/19, “Another 100k spams”, where I noted that the number of spam comments here (since the blog started in December 2008) passed 5,600,000 on 3/3. Some were automatically deleted by WordPress software, a great many more were made available for bulk deletion (or individual inspection) by me, and some were submitted to me individually for moderation. In periodic spam attacks, comments spam arrives at the rate of more than one per second (until the software wrestles it to the ground again).

That was 3/3. On 7/23, the count passed 5,700,000. And then, yesterday (12/30), 5,800,000. 6 million beckons! (Probably not next year, but soon.)

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The time of mildly debasing yourself

December 29, 2019

Nathan W. Pyle’s Strange Planet cartoon for this season:


(#1) The pleasures of the Christmas season, followed by resolutions for the New Year

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