Archive for the ‘Linguistics in the comics’ Category

Eat the sugar bomb for the beanie

February 27, 2019

A series of three Calvin and Hobbes strips (re-run on the 25th, 26th, and 27th) in which Calvin undertakes to eat four boxes of Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs to get a gee-whiz official beanie. A return to cartoonist Bill Watterson’s attacks on sugary breakfast cereals and the way they are marketed to children, especially through the stratagem of describing them as part of a healthful breakfast (in #2 below):

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Inhaling pop culture

February 27, 2019

Today’s Zits, featuring teenage boys goofing off, but in a specific way:

(#1)

Thereby presenting an exercise in cartoon understanding that’s a snap if you’re plugged into American pop culture of the past century, but is something of a challenge otherwise.

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Annals of misreadings: the Cthulhu caper

February 26, 2019

From linguist Avery Andrews on Facebook:


(#1) Avery: “My first reading of this was ‘Cthulhu Towers’, indicating that whatever the top-down constraints on my linguistic processing may be, real world plausibility has at best a delayed effect”

To judge from my own misreadings — some of them reported on in the Page on this blog with misreading postings — real-world plausibility has virtually no role in initial misreadings; we tend to notice these misreadings, in fact, because they are so bizarre.

On the other hand, they sometimes clearly reflect material currently or persistently on the hearer’s mind — if you’ve been thinking about cooking some pasta for dinner, Italian pasta names are likely to insert themselves into your peceptions; if you’re a gardener, plant names will come readily to mind, even if they’re preposterous; and of course it’s common to see sexual vocabulary where none was intended —  but often they look like the welling-up of material from some deep chthonic place in memory, inexplicably in the context.

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Grammar pirate

February 25, 2019

The title of this cartoon, which turned up yesterday in FB’s Our Bastard Language group:

(#1)

The captain is both a pirate and (as it turns out, once you figure out what the man intends to say) a grammar nazi, bent on correcting his crew’s inferior (as he sees it) English — hence the portmanteau grammar pirate. So the cartoon is, primarily, about (stereotypical) pirate talk (which will take us to the West Country of England), but also about peeving.

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In the land of supertitles

February 22, 2019

Revived on Facebook recently, this 2/20/12 Cyanide and Happiness cartoon by Jay A.:

(#1)

The first three panels are routine (but annoying): Character 1 produces an example of AccConjSubj (the non-standard Accusative Conjoined Subject me and Steve) and Character 2 reacts with hysterical peeving, becoming physically sick from experiencing the AccConjSubj.

But then we discover that we’re not in anything like the real world, where someone speaks and someone else hears what they say, but instead in the Land of Supertitles, where someone produces a banner with writing on it and someone else reads it. That has to be what’s going on — since otherwise how could Chr2 know how Chr1 was spelling what they said? YOUR instead of YOU’RE, ALLERGYS insead of ALLERGIES, AFFECT instead of EFFECT, THEIR instead of THEY’RE, ITS instead of IT’S — they’re all homophones, so how could Chr2 know that Chr1 was spelling them wrong? UNLESS CHR2 COULD READ WHAT CHR1 WAS SAYING.

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For gay penguins, science and Canada!

February 21, 2019

A few days ago, this full-page magazine display made the rounds of Facebook:


(#1) Deriding the “Libtard Agenda” while imitating the Johnson Smith Co.’s ads for novelty items in the back pages of comic books and other publications aimed at children

The first copies I saw didn’t identify the creator or the publication the page came from, and there was some question whether it was (as George V. Reilly, invoking Poe’s Law, put it) “a right-wing parody of progressive views, or a left-wing parody of right-wing opinions of progressive views”. Parody, certainly, but from what viewpoint?

So in its form it’s a parody of a genre of advertising hucksterism. And then in its specific content it’s a parody of a style of political talk (either mocking what’s framed as a preoccuption with kale, gun control, facts, and the like, or mocking those who engage in such mockery).

Much has now become clear. To start with, the copy of the page in #1 identifies the creator as Mary Trainor, and that provides enough context to eventually sort things out.

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News for penises: notes on phallophilia

February 20, 2019

(This posting will go lots of places, some of which — a Greek military re-enactors’ group in Melbourne — you’ll find astonishing, but there’s no denying that, as the title suggests, it’s penis-dense. Without actually depicting them — those images are in my posting this morning on AZBlogX, “Gay Heart Throbs” — but still. However, without penises strewn along the road every few feet, there’s no getting to the fun stuff (like allusions to Miss Anne Elk and to Sonnets from the Portuguese). So use your judgment.)

Phallophilia I: self-regard. A recent Daily Jocks ad (for Kasper Military shorts from the Helsinki Athletica company) showing a hunky model gazing fixedly down at his bulging crotch, with a title and a caption supplied by me:


(#1) On contemplating his penis

Could I just say here for one moment that
I have a new theory about the penis?
Yes, well you may well ask, what is my theory.
And well you may. Yes my word you may well
Ask what it is, this theory of mine.

Well, this theory that I have — which is mine —
This theory which belongs to me is as follows.
Ahem. Ahem. This is how it goes.
Ahem. The next thing that I am about to say
Is my theory. Ahem. Ready?

My theory is along the following lines.
All penises are round at one end,
Tubular in the middle, and then
Anchored in hair at the far end.

That is the theory that I have
And which is mine, and
What it is too.

— excerpts from an interview with noted penis scholar Gay H. Throbs, DPhS. (Doctor of Phallological Science)

On the nose, GHT!

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Wading with Vladimir and Estragon

February 19, 2019

That, at least, is where it started, with this bit of playfulness on Facebook:

(#1)

One among a great many available versions of Wading for Godot (like this one, hardly any have an identifiable origin, but just get passed around on the web, along with jokes, funny pictures, and the like: the folk culture of the net). I’m particularly taken with #1, as a well-made image and as a close reworking of lines from Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot:

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Three exercises in cartoon understanding

February 18, 2019

Two from the 2/18&25/19 New Yorker — a Seth Fleishman (wordless) and a Lars Kenseth (a captioned meta-cartoon) — plus a vintage Gary Larson (considered both without caption and with).

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Eat it! The oral humiliation you deserve

February 17, 2019

Yesterday’s Wayno & Piraro Bizarro:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page.)

A play on desserts (on the menu) vs. the deserts of just deserts. Plus a small cascade of idioms on oral humiliations. With a nod to the nasty rough edges of the verb eat (and, while we’re on the subject, suck). (Eventually, this will lead to some very plain-language talk — not for kids or the sexually modest — about some social and sexual practices among gay men. I’ll warn you when the topic is imminent.)

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