Archive for the ‘Pop culture’ Category

Appearances

December 14, 2018

Two recent items about men trying to look attractive (to other men): on the Kitsch Bitsch Facebook page today, 1950s physique model Mel Fortune festooned for Christmas (the image is entertaining but just barely not X-rated, so if such images trouble you, leave this posting); and a William Haefeli cartoon from the latest (12/17/18) New Yorker, featuring a pair of his upscale urban gay men negotiating a date / trick.

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A grotesque word

November 29, 2018

Tuesday’s Zippy:

(#1)

Another chapter in word attraction: Zippy’s (and Griffy’s) enjoyment of “funny words”. Here, gargoyle, which Zippy, absurdly, analyzes as a compound of the nouns gar (referring to a kind of sharp-toothed fish) and goyle (a rare, mostly dialectal, term for a deep trench) — so, roughly ‘fish ravine’. Turns out the actual etymology of gargoyle is entertaining enough on its own.

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Halloween detritus

November 6, 2018

A bit late for the train, a recent snack treat from mccormick.com  — McCormick & Co., the spice, seasonings, and condiments firm — that appeared on a Pinterest board for Halloween:

(#1)

Combining two pop-cultural items: zombies and nasal mucus, especially in the form of green boogers. Plus popcorn, of course.

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Mike Lynch

September 27, 2018

A cartoonist and cartoon enthusiast who hasn’t appeared on this blog before.

The barest of brief Wikipedia information:

Mike Lynch [born January 18, 1962, in Iowa City IA] is a cartoonist whose work can be seen in Reader’s Digest, The Wall Street Journal, Playboy and other mass media markets.

Lynch maintains a substantial blog on cartoons, with material of his own and compilations of other cartoonists.  For example, a 9/24 posting on gag cartoons, from Dick Buchanan; a 9/21 posting on women cartoonists of the New Yorker, from Liza Donnelly; a 9/20 posting on cartoonists drawing on the wall at the Overlook Lounge in NYC.

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Uneasily cute

September 2, 2018

Today’s Zippy, on cute vs. horrifying, two territories sometimes separated by a chasm, more often by an uneasy borderland:

(#1)

The central figure is either a cartoon character or a roadside fiberglass figure, but either way I haven’t found the original. Suggestions welcomed.

Elsewhere in Zippyland, there’s a domain of fun and dreams fulfilled, coexisting uneasily with, next to, a land of terror and nightmare — in amusement parks.

Outside of the darkly cute areas of Zippyland, there’s a huge sweetly cute world, centered on Japan and South Korea, but with a soft pink haze of Hello Kitty, Pinkfong (Baby Shark!), and more blanketing much of the world.

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Another puzzle in cartoon understanding

August 19, 2018

It appeared on Facebook today, with this note from Chris Hansen:


(#1) CH: From another list we have a cartoon that takes a heckuva lot of background knowledge to understand. Arnold may want to deconstruct it, if he hasn’t already. I don’t know the cartoonist.

Well, I certainly wanted to deconstruct it, but not without knowing who the artist was. Quickly, however, Chris himself, Brian Guerrero-Kane, and Roger Phillips all supplied that information — Leigh Rubin (who has a Page on this blog) — and led me to fuller versions of the cartoon, with a title that considerably aids understanding. But the stripped-down version in #1, though challenging,  is soluble, so I’ll do that first.

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The crystal ball of cartoon understanding

August 17, 2018

Today’s Mother Goose and Grimm takes us through the murky realms of cartoon understanding:

(#1)

At the surface level, the fortune teller offers a preposterous prediction about how Grimm will be reincarnated, and Grimm says he doesn’t believe in reincarnation. Entirely comprehensible (so long as you know about fortune tellers, and can recognize a stereotype of one —  woman in gypsy costume with crystal ball — and so long as you know what reincarnation is), but not funny, unless you also know about Carnation brand evaporated milk (sweetened powdered milk that comes in cans). It’s a joke, son.

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Death by staircase

July 25, 2018

This week’s Drunk Cartoon from Bob Eckstein:

(#1)

It is in fact Discovery Channel’s 30th SHARK WEEK — they always use all-caps — running from Sunday July 22nd through Sunday July 29th. (I’ve avoided it so far, but I’m sure to be sucked in again soon.)

And then there’s the Death by Staircase mystery trope in the movies and (especially) on tv. Were they pushed, did they commit step-suicide, or was it an accident? If pushed, by human hands or by supernatural forces?

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The musician, the mayor, his instrument, and their vermin

June 24, 2018

The Bizarro/Wayno collaboration on the 21st is another exercise in cartoon understanding (but a relatively easy one):


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 4 in this strip — see this Page.)

You need to know the basic outline of a European legend (the major clues to which are the reference to ridding a town of rats and the unusual word pied in the title), and you need to know something about musical instruments (to recognize that the sousaphone — named in the title — plays the role of the (musical) pipe in the legend).

Then there’s more to be said about the parallels between the cartoon world and the legend world, with special reference to wind instruments (of which the sousaphone is the largest). Which leads me to the rich world of the legend and its connection to the real world. And the fictivity of stories; there’s a fair amount of factuality, or at least real-world context, in the legend. And from there — surprise! —  to St. John and Paul’s Day next week (June 26th). And from there — another surprise! —  to eunuchs and the social world of the Roman Empire.

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Dramatic exits

May 31, 2018

A Leigh Rubin cartoon from the 22nd, illustrating an exit and a dramatic exit:

(#1)

First, this is a play on the ambiguity of exit, as a N referring to a concrete object (a door, used for exiting) or an act (of exiting). Then there’s another ambiguity, in the  sense of dramatic in the nominal dramatic exit: it could be taken literally, as ‘pertaining to a play’, but here it’s used with a figurative sense ‘melodramatic, stagey, flamboyant’ (note the man’s gesture). In its second use, dramatic incorporates a figurative sense of the N drama seen also in the (originally US gay) slang compound drama queen.

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