Archive for the ‘Pragmatics’ Category

Foswelch in Formstone

July 3, 2018

Today’s Zippy has Mr. the Toad recruiting a Pinhead named Foswelch — Toad uses the name as an address term in every panel of the strip except the last — as a Formstone siding salesman in Baltimore:

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There’s the name Foswelch, another in a series of F-initial family names that Bill Griffith seems to be fond of. And the combination of siding and Baltimore — a natural for Formstone, but also evoking the movie Tin Men.

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World UFO Day

July 3, 2018

… celebrated yesterday. From Wikipedia on UFOs:

Fanciful illustration of alien spacecraft (Chris Clor / Getty Images / Blend Images): saucer shape, ring of lights on the rim of the saucer, searchlight projecting from the bottom of the craft as it hovers

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Deterrence, lessons, and examples: pour encourager les autres

June 26, 2018

A typical report on recent approaches to those seeking entrance to the U.S. at the Mexican border, “Here Are the Facts About [REDACTED]’s Family Separation Policy” by Maya Thodan in Time magazine on the 20th:

Administration officials have often characterized these policies [of interviews and hearings] as “loopholes” that are exploited by those seeking to enter the U.S. Some administration officials have suggested that the “zero tolerance” policy could serve as a deterrent for other migrants who are seeking to come to the U.S.

The idea is that applicants should all be rejected, and in a way so savage that others would be deterred from applying. The aim of the policy is, in Voltaire’s pointed phrasing, pour encourager les autres.

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In case of cartoons, see therapist

June 11, 2018

It started with this John Deering cartoon from 11/23/12 (passed on by a series of Facebook posters):

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In the tradition of the signage

IN CASE OF FIRE, BREAK GLASS

and introducing the cartoonist Deering, who’s fond of the Psychiatrist cartoon meme.

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Bromuniqués

June 4, 2018

About the N bro, used first as an address term and then as a referential N with several senses, and available as an element in N + N compounds: as the first element in Bro Code and bro subculture, as the second element in code bro (roughly) ‘guy into coding’ and (hat tip to Tyler Schnoebelen) the academic-cool character named Philosophy Bro. Then, thanks to Ben Barrett on ADS-L (on May 23rd), on to crypto bro / cryptobro, which looks like it might be a portmanteau of cryptocurrency (or cryptocoin(age)) and bro, but is probably better analyzed as a straightforward compound of the clipping crypto and the N bro.

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What happened in vagueness?

June 3, 2018

Available in a number of designs on the net:

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From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s “Ambiguity” entry (edited by Adam Sennet, first published 5/16/11, last substantive revision 2/8/16):

Fun fact: the word ‘ambiguous’, at least according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is ambiguous between two main types of meaning: uncertainty or dubiousness on the one hand and a sign bearing multiple meanings on the other. I mention this merely to disambiguate what this entry is about, which concerns a word or phrase enjoying multiple meanings.

In the technical literature on these things, the first notion is known as (among other things) vagueness, while the second is known as (linguistic) ambiguity. Ouch.

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More porn for the holidays

May 28, 2018

(About gay porn, but not wildly racy. Edgy for kids and the sexually modest.)

On the 26th, about the Lucas gay porn sale for Memorial Day 2018: “Memorial mansex” on AZBlogX; and “Porn for the holidays, with narrowed eyes” on this blog, about offering gay porn for various holidays (for Memorial Day as a cultural celebration of summer, in particular), and about interpreting narrowed eyes and drooping eyes.

Now, in “More Memorial mansex” on AZBlogX today, two more gay porn ads for the holiday: one from TitanMen featuring Liam Knox; and one from Dirk Yates featuring Rod Peterson. Here I’ll pick up some themes from those ads: from the Titan, Knox’s tats, and what tats convey; from the DY, a note on palming off pros as amateurs, plus reality vs. fiction and the playful invention new cummer.

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Fenwich, come here, I need you

May 28, 2018

There’s Fenwick, and then there’s Fenwich, a Zippy name to conjure with: used as a narrative semi-generic address term, and in explicit discussions of names and their uses.

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The art class

May 23, 2018

Edward Steed cartoon in the May 21st New Yorker:

It’s about point of view (pov), especially as this reflects selective attention, an inclination to focus on certain things in the context over others.

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Charmed, I’m sure

May 20, 2018

The Bizarro/Wayno from the 18th, another exercise in understanding cartoons:

   (#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 5 in this strip — see this Page.)

Three things to recognize: the figure of Medusa, the figure of the (Indian) snake handler, and the politeness formula charmed. And then, of course, you need to know that such snake handlers are conventionally known as snake charmers in English and that  the politeness formula is part of the social ritual of introduction, where it serves as an alternative to Pleased / Pleasure / Nice to meet you, formal How do you do?, and the like.

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