Archive for the ‘Deixis’ Category

The elephant and plum

April 9, 2021

Not Frog and Peach, but Elephant and Plum, in a kid joke as told by Ruthie in the One Big Happy strip from 2/22 (in my comics feed on 3/21):

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Four things: kid jokes, of which the Elephant and Plum variant above is a particular clever example; the saying about elephants on which it depends; elephant jokes, of which the joke above is not the classic Elephant and Plum exemplar; and the ambiguity of “When did you laugh at it?”, which turns on the defining property of deictic elements like the interrogative when.

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This is a pipe

May 2, 2020

No doubt inspired by my 4/29/20 posting “Magritte by Banksy”, Mark Mandel commented yesterday on my 8/19/17 posting “Magrittean disavowals”:

I have never — well, not for many years — considered the “Magrittean disavowal” in “Ceci n’est pas une pipe”

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at all paradoxical. It’s quite accurate. That is not a pipe, but rather a painting of a pipe.

It’s a shame that the technical term oxymoron has come to be used for a figure of speech involving an apparent contradiction, since etymologically it’s ‘sharp’ + ‘foolish’ and would be just the label we’d want for claims like Mark’s above: superficially clever, but deeply foolish.

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Another Magrittean disavowal

April 2, 2018

Passed around on Facebook:

The 1929 Magritte original, often riffed on, went Ceci n’est pas une pipe ‘This is not a pipe’, a disavowal that sets up a contradiction between text and image. So here we have another Magrittean disavowal, as I’ve come to call the phenomenon; there’s a survey in my 8/19/17 posting “Magrittean disavowals”.

But they come in two species, and it’s not entirely clear which one the example above belongs to.

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