Archive for the ‘Pop culture’ Category


October 7, 2016

(About gay porn, but without explicit images — these are in an AZBlogX posting — or even detailed discussion of man-man sex, but men’s bodies and sex between men are certainly topics of this posting, so it’s not for children or the sexually modest.)

Yes, a racy portmanteau, of bareback (referring to condomless sex) and Dracula (the legendary vampire), naming a gay porn flick from the Michael Lucas studio in which the legend of Count Dracula is re-worked with cum instead of blood as the life essence. (On the name, compare the 1972 American blaxploitation horror film Blacula.) Front and back covers of the DVD (featuring man-man sex and heavy eye shadow) on AZBlogX.


A conundrum

October 5, 2016

From Kim Darnell, this puzzle, which she found on Tumblr (no one seems to know the ultimate source, as is usual in such things):


You can see this as a puzzle, or you can see it as a wordless cartoon. In either case, it draws on a piece of popular culture, and if you don’t have that, you’re lost.

For Kim, the big point was phonological, but the cultural reference is crucial.


Beefcake on screen

October 4, 2016

(Little of academic or social significance, but mostly about shameless displays of the male body. Not, however, X-rated, either visually or verbally.)

A while back, links on Facebook to Hollywood Beefcake, a public group on Facebook featuring movie and tv actors dsplaying their bodies. Shots of, among others, Guy Madison, Randolph Scott, Gary Cooper, Hugh O’Brian, Robert Conrad, Johnny Weissmuller, Clint Eastwood, Tab Hunter, Marc Singer, Burt Reynolds, Lee Majors, Jeff Goldblum, Alexander Skarsgard, Matt Bomer, Ryan Phillipe, Shia LaBeouf, Danny Pino, and Chris Meloni. And Charlie Hunnam, who’s appeared on this blog before because he revels in sexy shirtless displays.

Then an appendix on three of the notable shirtless hunks on the television series Glee, who I don’t think had made it onto the Hollywood Beefcake site when I last checked it.


Return of the Sam Gross balloon dog

September 10, 2016

In the latest New Yorker (September 12th), Sam Gross’s clown and his balloon dog return to the magazine:


Oh no! Not the chair!


“What you done, sunshine, is criminal damage”

August 21, 2016

The 1975 quotation (in Green’s Dictionary of Slang) is from a (British working-class) policeman, who “levelled a finger at” a man and made this accusation. My interest here is in the address term sunshine, which has become familiar to me though British (occasionally Canadian) police procedural tv shows, where the cops (or private detectives) often use this form of address, aggressively, to male suspects. From the New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English (ed. Tom Dalzell & Terry Victor, 2015), p. 2192:

used as a form of address, often patronizing with an underlying note of disapproval or threat UK, 1972

A (very natural) extension of literal sunshine to ‘cheerfulness, happiness’ has been around for some time, as has the extension to someone who exhibits or elicits cheerfulness or happiness, in both referential and vocative uses. Then, the address term sunshine (like any other) can be used sarcastically, aggressively, or truculently, but the conventionalization of such uses specifically in British (and not American) English, for use to men by men, especially by official authorities, is yet a further development, one that I hadn’t experienced until I got into modern police procedurals, in books and on tv.


Arthur Godfrey and friends

July 27, 2016

Today’s Zippy appears to be just a surrealist melange of pop-cultural absurdity (and can be enjoyed at that level), but in fact many of those absurdities are knit together in a web of allusions to elements of pop culture — probably even more densely than I appreciate.


It all starts with Arthur Godfrey, who appears transformed as the central character of the strip, Siddartha Godfrey, with Arthur replaced by the phonologically very similar name SiddarthaSiddharth or Siddhartha is the birth name of the founder of Buddhism, Gautama Buddha.

Meanwhile, the title “Jerry Van Dyke Lives” introduces a secondary, parallel, theme having to do with Jerry Van Dyke.


The giant lava lamp of Soap Lake

July 23, 2016

(Not much about language here, just weirdness.)

Today’s Zippy, with a bow to a novelty item of the 1960s and a modern piece of visionary Americana:


This being a Zippy strip, of course there is a giant lava lamp (roughly 60 ft. high), complete with observation deck, in the middle of the little town of Soap Lake WA — but it’s still a vision (of local resident Brent Blake), a prospect not yet realized. It’s a spectral lamp, a companion to Zippy the heartburned spectral rutabaga and the overripe parsnip he longs for:



Word play for 7-11

July 11, 2016

Three cartoons today (July 7th, or 7/11 in American usage; this will be important): a perfect pun (from Rhymes With Orange), using an ambiguity in local; a more distant pun (from Mother Goose and Grimm), linguistically and visually combining Bonnie and Clyde with Blondie ad Dagwood; and a Scott Hilburn (from The Argyle Sweater today) using the 50th anniversary of the Slurpee to float an almost-perfect pun
perches / purchase
(/z/ vs. /s/).


The fallen V

July 6, 2016

In today’s Zippy, Bill Griffith continues his long exploration of American pop culture, especially roadside culture — diners, motels, and (very often) big fiberglass advertising figures:


(Note outrageous pun in the title, playing on Norse/nurse.)


Two tests in cartoon understanding

June 22, 2016

From the July 2016 issue of Funny Times, two cartoons that are real tests of understanding, the second more so than the first. From Bob Eckstein, a cartoon that is funny on the grounds of sheer silliness:


And from J.C. Duffy, a cartoon that is just incomprehensible unless you have two pieces of (pop-)cultural information: