Archive for the ‘Pop culture’ Category

Il Castello del Formaggio

June 22, 2021

The 6/21 Zippy strip takes us to Kenosha WI, on the highway between Chicago and Milwaukee, along the shore of Lake Michigan — to the location of Mars Cheese Castle, which is why Zippy is there:


(#1) Nothing directly to do with the two principal foci of this blog — language and linguistics, gender and sexuality — but plenty on food, pop culture (along the roadside), and absurdist comedy

As for my interests, Kenosha does have the headquarters of Jockey International — hail to men’s underwear! — and a local woolly mammoth skeleton in its museum — my totem animal! — and, best of all in mid-America’s Land of Cheese, an annual fall Cheese-A-Palooza festival (devoted to the grilled cheese sandwich and to mac and cheese). But best of all is Mars Cheese Castle.

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Annals of commercial naming: Bear Naked Granola

June 18, 2021

Brought to me by Facebook in recent days, advertisements for two playful trade names: one — for the Boy Smells company, offering scented candles, unisex fragrances, and (unscented) underwear, all for LGBT+-folk — covered in my 6/16 posting “Annals of commercial naming: Boy Smells”; and now, for the Bear Naked® Granola company. The two cases turn out to be very different.

Boy Smells belongs with a series of postings on this blog on dubious and unfortunate commercial names — some clearly unintentionally racy, some playfully suggestive, some openly, even brazenly, suggestive, given the nature of the establishments (Hooters). The Boy Smells company is almost painfully earnest about its LGBT+ mission, which makes its name — so evocative of teenage pong — especially unfortunate.

Bear Naked Granola, in contrast, is knee-deep in playfulness, starting with the pun on bare naked, so that on the one side, you get a reference to bears, with their fondness for nuts and fruits and honey (all relevant to granola); while on the other side, you get bare naked, suggesting purity and simplicity. And you also get the pop-culture view of bears, as cute and entertaining.

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A free cartoonist in Paris

April 27, 2021

Today’s Zippy strip has Griffy (Bill Griffith’s counterpart in the strip) drawing up a cartoon storm in fin de siècle Paris, in competition with a disdainful local painter (call him PP, for peintre parisien):

(#1)

Their dispute is about cartoons, in terms familiar to Griffy:

… but is it art?

(here, asked about cartoons). PP emphatically says no, calling them “gaudy daubings … dégoûtant!” — while Griffy returns the insult by referring to PP’s work as “post-fauvist, pre-cubist, elitist scribbling”, while Griffy’s own work “recognizes th’ absurdity of life”.

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leprobates

March 12, 2021

Today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro (Wayno’s title: “Mythical Miscreants”):


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 6 in this strip — see this Page.)

leprobate, a portmanteau of leprechaun reprobate. Naughty, naughty boys.

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genealogy, genie-ology

March 10, 2021

The 2/10 One Big Happy, recently in my comics feed:


(#1) Bonus word play: the genie’s fabulous bottle and the idiom hit the bottle ‘drink heavily

Ruthie understands genealogy as genie-ology, or at least as a word with first element genie, the name of a mythological spirit that has come to play a significant role in American popular culture (and she recognizes both lamp genies and bottle genies). But genealogy is new to her.

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Smell the roses in a field

February 26, 2021

Two cartoons in my comics feed on 2/25 (otherwise known as Yay! Pfizer1 Day! at my house) on language play: a Wayno/Piraro Bizarro playing on formulaic language (the metaphorical idiom / cliché stop and smell the roses), and a Piccolo/Price Rhymes With Orange with a play on the ambiguity of field.

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The Connecticut mystery structure

August 27, 2020

A Zippy sequence that began back on 8/3 in this strip (reported on in a section of my 8/3 posting “The art of everyday objects”):


(#1) The premise is that this little house just appeared one day in Bill Griffith’s Connecticut neighborhood, provoking some bafflement as to its origin and function (note: in Bill Griffith’s neighborhood, not in the Dingburg area where the cartoon character Griffy is to be found)

That posting argued that the sliding door with a Z on it is just a standard Z-series barn door.

There followed three strips in which the door slowly opens, revealing someone inside — in fact, Zippy, presenting himself as a real person (like BG (Bill Griffith) rather than Griffy). Then a sequence of 8 increasingly surrealistic strips turning on issues of fiction and reality. Finally, two strips in which it turns out that Zippy is running a farm stand of the mind from that little shed.

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Hot wings on a paper plate

July 12, 2020

In my comics feed for the day, this One Big Happy from 6/15, featuring a Dad Tall Tale, DTT for short (here an elaborate poetic burlesque):

(#1)

The original: Joyce Kilmer’s famous (and famously sentimental) poem “Trees” — also famously parodied, most notably in Ogden Nash’s “Song of the Open Road”.

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I made some art

February 5, 2020

Passed on by John McIntyre, this poignant, or even mordant, eat the rich comic:


(#1) Artie (the artist) and Audie (his audience)

A possible continuation: in panel 5, Artie reluctantly says yes; and in panel 6, Audie goes, well, then, it’s not worth anything, so forget it.

Lessons in modern culture: one, the (only) reason to create things is to make money; and two, to survive, a creator has to sell themselves and their product.

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Three little digits

January 22, 2020

Today’s Wayno/Piraro collabo, another little exercise in cartoon understanding:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 2 in this strip — see this Page.) Wayno’s title: “Number, Please”

No doubt you recognize the speaker as Satan / the Devil / Beelzebub, but the cartoon will still be incomprehensible unless you know that there’s a particular three-digit number that’s sometimes said to belong to Satan.

Pursuing this topic on my man Jacques’s birthday, today, will lead us, through a favorite verse of his, on a circuitous route passing through a mysterious British village, Chicago, and Santa Monica, on its way to the Big Gay Village, where men hug, spoon, and screw. (There will eventually be a content warning. I’ll warn you when the screwing is imminent.)

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