Archive for the ‘Linguistics in the comics’ Category

The hurtful dog

September 18, 2019

Back on the 13th, David Horne passed on this cartoon on Facebook:


(#1) Explosm-style dog hurts man with words

This is in fact a Cyanide and Happiness meme, a 4-panel cartoon template with all the artwork taken, as is, from a particular Cyanide (Explosm.net) cartoon, and all the words too — except for the dog’s dagger to the heart in the 3rd panel. Meme sites supply the template; all you have to do is fill in your own nasty words in the 3rd panel; you get to judge what would truly wound your intended audience.

In this case, David’s FB readers included a large number of people who had failed to finish their PhD dissertations, or completed the work over long painful self-doubting years, or finished but without any enthusiasm for the dissertation they somehow squeaked though with, or gave up before embarking on the task at all (believing that they could only be defeated) — or who were close to people who went through such experiences. Waves of pain washed over quite a few of David’s FB friends, me included.

On the other hand, others found the cartoon wickedly funny, which was David’s first response, and I appreciate that reaction too.

To come: more on the Explosm Hurtful Dog meme, and on uncompleted PhD dissertations, and on another Explosm cartoon involving that same dog, whose bark turns out to be much, much worse than its bite, even though its bite is exquisitely painful.

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The outrage of a new menu

September 18, 2019

Today’s Zippy takes us to the banks of the Connecticut River in Chicopee MA, to a historic diner, and to the bizarre foods that Zippy fancies:


(#1) If you’re Zippy, everything goes better with a dollop of Valvoline on it — and, maybe, some canned beets:

(#2)

Zippy and Gladys are in Al’s Diner, a well-known feature of Chicopee, a northern industrial city that took advantage of the falls on the Connecticut to drive mills — which then entangled the place in the slave economy of the early 18th century.

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The amazing talking pirate

September 17, 2019

In the run-up to Talk Like a Pirate Day (TLaPD), on Thursday the 19th, this Rhymes With Orange cartoon from the 15th:


(#1) PirateTalk + ParrotTalk, with a cartoon reversal of roles

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Segregation in the soapy comics

September 15, 2019

Today’s Zippy takes us into the world of soap-opera comics, specifically those by Nick Dallis (with various collaborators):


(#1) Realistic cartoon characters from three Dallis strips: Rex Morgan, M.D.; Judge Parker; and Apartment 3-G (among other well-known soap opera strips: Mary Worth, Brenda Starr)

The characters in realistic cartoons are stylized sketches from life, while those in cartoony worlds are grossly exaggerated, some not even humanoid in form. Zippy himself is human (a Pinhead rather than a Roundhead) but cartoony — though as other Zippy strips have demonstrated, he can be made even more so (cartooniness is a recurrent theme in Bill Griffith’s world).

Then there’s the segregation theme, with realistic cartoon characters mostly taking the position that realistics and cartoonies shouldn’t mix in any way: stick / keep to your own kind! (Note the meta move of having cartoon characters espouse beliefs and attitudes about cartoon characters.) With the predictable tragedy of prejudice against mixed couples, joined by bonds of affection, sexual relationship, or matrimony.

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Him wear saurian monitor

September 10, 2019

The Scott Hilburn cartoon from 10/26/16, with a bit of caveman dialogue:

(#1)

Three things: the Caveman cartoon meme; the simplified register the two cavemen  talk in; and the juxtaposition of two parallel worlds, everyday life vs. a remarkable fictive alternative.

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The news from Nadoland

September 6, 2019

The 9/3 Pearls Before Swine:

(#1)

Great big themes:

anti-intellectualism: the distrust of, and rejection of, learning;

the ignorance of the young, elevated to a form of resolute stupidity;

mass hysteria: the amplification of irrational beliefs and behaviors in crowds

All packaged into dumbnado, with the libfix –nado, that entertaining pop-cultural product of the Sharknado movies.

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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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Ten to one

September 4, 2019

The One Big Happy from 8/7:

Ah, the ambiguity in ten to one, turning on two dfferent uses of to. Ruthie’s grandfather intends one sense, Ruthie gets another (closer to her everyday experience).

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Cavemen of higher education

September 3, 2019

Today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro collabo:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 5 in this strip — see this Page. The HBD — happy birthday — note is presumably for one of Piraro’s two K-named daughters.)

A twist on the caveman cartoon meme, with a Neanderthal pursuing a higher education. And attempting to get college credit for his life experiences.

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bricks ˈnˈ mortar

August 31, 2019

Roz Chast in the September 2nd New Yorker:

(#1)

An exercise in the semantics of N + N compounds, exploiting an ambiguity that might not have occurred to you:

in the semantics of the modifying N, N1 (here, the coordinate N bricks and mortar);

in the semantics of the head N, N2 (here, the understood N store);

and in the semantics of the relation between N2 and N1  (here, ‘N2 for N1, (specifically) N2 selling N1’, in this case ‘store selling bricks and mortar — rather than the ‘N2 (made) of/from N1’ relation in the familiar conventionalized compound brick(s) and mortar store ‘store (made) of/from bricks and mortar’.

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