Archive for the ‘Pragmatics’ Category

Our reclusive pangolinists

May 4, 2020

On the dangler watch, a report by Ben Zimmer on 4/29 about this Reddit posting, which seems to have appeared without any preceding context:

TIL [Today I Learned] Due to their reclusive nature, scientists are unsure how long a pangolin lives in the wild.

(now entry Z4.87, coded SUB(due to)-I-EMB-3P, in my collection of examples)

The writer of Z4.87 was no doubt intending to write about the endangered animal the scaly anteater, or pangolin, and the creatures were paramount in their consciousness; and they also wanted to introduce an observation on scientists’ knowledge about pangolins. All of that is fine. But we can’t be mind-readers, and what they wrote fell afoul of a general strategy in sentence comprehension that leads even well-intentioned readers to understand, at least for a perceptible moment, the claim to be that scientists, not pangolins, are reclusive.

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A pandemic meta-cartoon

April 25, 2020

By JAK (Jason Adam Katzenstein), the New Yorker daily cartoon from yesterday:


“Personally, I worry that, with everyone wearing masks, readers won’t be able to tell who in the cartoon is speaking.”

The masks are part of daily life in plague time, and they conceal the wearers’ mouths. So in a cartoon you can’t tell who’s speaking. (In real life, there might be other clues, like vocal timbre.)

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The therapist is in French

April 20, 2020

The following cartoon, in French and unattributed, has been making its way around Facebook in the last few days:


(#1) “How do you [polite] feel this week?” – “Much better.”

Therapist and patient, both cowering in the anxiety of persecution. But this week is better. Much better.

Presumably, it’s being passed around as a pointed commentary on the fix we are all in currently. Even better is appalling.

It doesn’t take a keen eye to see that #1 is a rip-off of a Bizarro cartoon: the drawing style, the content (the Psychiatrist meme is a Bizarro evergreen favorite), the two odd Dan Piraro symbols. And so it is, from 2/15/11, almost a decade ago.

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The Desert Island Psychiatrist

April 5, 2020

Today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro combo is also a cartoon meme combo: Desert Island + Psychiatrist:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 7 in this strip — see this Page.)

You notice the empty clinical couch, with its colorful pillow, because it’s the biggest thing in the drawing, and it’s right in the middle of it. You notice the psychiatrist, because he’s a human figure, of some size, with a significant face (our attention is drawn powerfully to faces).

Only then do you follow the therapist’s gaze and take in the little figure in the lower righthand corner: the tiny castaway under a miniature palm tree, on a desert island — charmingly presented as being in a colorful planter, so that it’s also one of the plants in routine office decor, matched by the ornamental foliage in the planter in the opposite corner.

We are both in a Desert Island cartoon and also in a Psychiatrist cartoon (where the therapist is doing shrink-talk), set in a stereotypical psychiatrist’s office (notably medical, down to the framed diplomas on the wall).

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Where is the fishmonger?

March 8, 2020

(On facial expression and gaze in sexual negotiations between men, definitely mansexually raunchy, so not for kids or the sexually modest.)

Yesterday’s ad from Next Door Studios (specializing in regular-guy boy-next-door types — twinks and swimmer-body young men — enthusiastically engaged sexually with each other, covering a range of acts from vanilla mansex on out to moderately kinky stuff). In it, Dakota Payne is preparing to slip his cock (fuzzed out here) into a deliciously sling-bound Alex Tanner. But these next-door boys aren’t focused on each other; they are instead staring penetratingly into the eyes of their audience, who are pantingly stroking their dicks in appreciation of their performance. This particular image now exploited to illustrate a dialogue for learners of the Spanish language; the by-ways of kink are strange indeed.


(#1) Alex y Dakota, Diálogo 17: ¿Dónde está el pescadero?

Alex: ¡Ay caramba! / Dakota: No lo creo.
Alex: ¡Que desastre! / Dakota: No importa.
Alex: Pero te deseo, mi querido. / Dakota: ¡Vete a la mierda!

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Saluting the presidents

February 18, 2020

(A posting on gay porn for Presidents Day in the US (yesterday, February 17th, this year), so awash in male genitals and mansex, described in raunchy street language — so entirely unsuitable for kids and the sexually modest. The actual male genitals are vividly depicted in my posting yesterday on AZBlogX, “Hail to the chief”, but this posting is scarcely decorous.)

It starts with the main Falcon ad for its 2020 Presidents Day (#1 on AZBlogX), featuring a carefully composed image of pornstar Paddy O’Brian with his dick at full salute, that is, hard (O’Brian, meanwhile has his right hand over his heart, as during playings of the national anthem). A cropped version of this ad:

(#1)

In this case, unusually, the dick is actually important. O’Brian (Irish-born, but now saluting the symbols of America), billed as a versatile top with a PSD (Porn Standard Dick) of 7″, is looking earnest while performing what has gone beyond cock-tease to cock-reveal, with the hard dick neatly following the line of the waistband on his pulled-down briefs. It’s that bit of visual play that makes O’Brian’s dick in the ad not just your ordinary sturdy pornstar object of queer desire.

Ultimately, this posting is about O’Brian himself and two other pornstars, Sebastian Kross and Rex Cameron, and how they project (perhaps fictive) personas through displays of their naked bodies —  performances in which their cocks, however impressive, play surprising small roles.

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Amado Spears and his husband, fulfilled by Peter

January 17, 2020

(Queer linguistic playfulness, but with plain talk about men’s bodies and mansex, so probably not suitable for kids or the sexually modest.)

From the latest avalanche of comments spam on my blog this morning (thousands a day at the moment, traceable to Russia, though knowing a bit about the source is not at all useful), what happens when programs randomly paste together personal names, family names, and small chunks of text all assembled from truly gigantic databases: sometimes you get goofy gay porn scenarios.

So it was that my morning was improved by the appearance in this gigantic spam queue of the obviously massively queer Amado Spears, the bearer of a wonderfully two-barreled porn name, with the following eccentric message from him about his racy adventures with his husband and a phallic friend:

My husband and i have been absolutely fulfilled when Peter managed to finish up his investigations from the precious recommendations he had from your own weblog.

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Briefly noted: NAILS

January 10, 2020

The name of a business establishment in this cartoon by Adam Douglas Thompson in the January 13th New Yorker:

A wry, and potentially ominous, play on the central ambiguity in the noun nail; and implicitly a reflection on how business establishments are named: what products or services are provided at a place called NAILS?

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A syncretic religious holiday

December 8, 2019

Recently posted on Facebook, this melding of the traditions of Judaism with the traditions of Jedi-ism for the holiday season, in French:


(#1) ‘May the light be with you’: the Jedi Master Yoda wields a lightsword menorah for Hanukkah (Fr. Hanoucca) — Happy Hanukkah! (Joyeuse fête de Hanoucca!)

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NO PENGUINS

December 4, 2019

A generic penguin ban sign (sold on Amazon, a CD Visionary no-penguins button):


(#1) What’s banned? Spheniscid birds. Why? Who knows. (They smell. They steal fish. They get underfoot. Whatever.)

and a ban — in a list of prohibitions against public vice or indecency — on the door of Loretta’s Authentic Pralines on N. Rampart St. in New Orleans (photo from the TripAdvisor South Africa site):


(#2) What’s banned? Who knows. Why? Because they’re a vice (like drinking or smoking) or are indecent (like profanity or nudity), presumably the latter.

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