Archive for the ‘Signs and symbols’ Category

Shouting songs

May 19, 2022

Continuing a series of recent postings on the music of joy, now specifically joyous praise to God, and even more specifically “shouting songs” from the Sacred Harp tunebook.

This is loud, passionate praise, rooted in the evangelical camp meetings of early 19th-century America (and England and Scotland before that), capable of seizing your body and sliding you towards ecstatic engagement with the message and the music. Somewhat tamed by being captured on the pages of a hymnbook rather than being created live in the fervor of a camp meeting, but still standing out as something special in the Sacred Harp.

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The heifer executive

May 17, 2022

Yesterday’s wry Rhymes With Orange strip, wordless and spare-looking, but packed with tons of meaning on two fronts, the dairy and the managerial; meanwhile, it presents a challenging exercise in cartoon understanding.


(#1) If you see that there’s something sweetly funny about a dairy cow managing a business, well, that will do — but the pleasure of the cartoon is in the details

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Underwear model with tire

April 22, 2022

Today’s ad mailing from the Daily Jocks homowear company came with an artistic allusion (plus some fairly routine ad copy):


(#1) [ad copy:] 20% OFF – FETISHWEAR Welcome to The DailyJocks Backroom, from harnesses to wrestling suits, check out some of the most intimate products from your favourite brands including DJX, Nasty Pig & many more

It’s a grease monkey homage! To the Herb Ritts oeuvre, specifically to Fred with Tires, Hollywood 1984.

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Easter Morning redux

April 17, 2022

Some close analysis, and some reflections, on the Jacquie Lawson animated greeting card “Easter Morning”, that I posted about yesterday, in “Sheep grazing among the Paschal roses”. There I looked at purple hellebores (and some other other crucifixion-symbolic flowers) and at Bach’s aria “Sheep May Safely Graze” (a performance of which accompanies the animation).

Now about the details of the animation’s images (especially, but by no means only, the plants).

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Riffs on squat

April 3, 2022

(There will, as the title tells you, be riffs on squat, well, on squat. Since I’m given to finding my material in louche and faggy places, there will be brief encounters with squat — short and thick, fireplug-like — male organs and with a squatting position for receptive anal intercourse. But no visible body parts.)

I glanced at today’s incoming e-mail, which included a mailing from the New York Times with a link to a story of theirs offering life advice:

(#1)

I found it remarkable that the paper was giving pointers on how to embark on living in uninhabited buildings without the legal right to do so. But then we live in precarious times, and millions are having trouble coping.

Then I found the fine print of the mail header:

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A festival of the worst excesses of consumerism

March 19, 2022

The Iconsiam luxury shopping mall in Bangkok, which is both mind-bogglingly immense (like the Mall of America) and absurdly high-end (like the Stanford Shopping Center), so resembling South Coast Plaza in Orange County, except that it takes over-the-top golden glitziness to a level I don’t think has ever been attained in North America. This in a 3/16 Facebook report from my old friend Ry Schwark, who is being touristic in Bangkok and sending reports back to us. The Iconsiam complex, in the center of the city:


(#1) It all glows gold, as if the Man with the Golden Toilet had run amok along the Chao Phraya River (the two hotel towers are part of the complex)

Then two photos by Ry from the interior:

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The construction workers that bloom in the spring, tra la

March 4, 2022

(It’s Tom of Finland time again, and this posting doesn’t shrink from the men’s sexual parts and man-man sexual acts that crowd ToF’s drawings, nor from street language for talking about these things, so this is very much not for kids or the sexually modest.)

Things were way too busy on Trois Lapins de Mars (which was both St. David’s Day and Shrove Tuesday), so I didn’t get around to posting the March page in my 2022 Tom of Finland calendar then. But here it is, in all its vernal working-class splendor:


(#1) In a 1988 drawing, three construction workers, on the right, experience the rising sap of spring — look, a footlong springing up! in early March! — while appreciating a police / military guy from (as you can see on his shoulder patch) the Tom’s Men force

Key observation: the scene is framed as a fantasy sexual encounter in which Uniform Guy displays himself as a lust object for Construction Guys, but in that encounter the wave of cruising is actually streaming in both directions.

Points to come:

— the construction-worker theme in ToF’s work

— ToF’s presentations of homomasculinity

— on categorization and labeling: a conceptual category I’ll call FORCES — which has no ordinary label in English — embracing the police and the military together

— on signs and symbols: the Male Triad symbol on the Tom’s Men shoulder patch worn by the uniformed guy and on his lapel

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Magritte’s #9 Son

February 25, 2022

(Somewhat astonishingly, this is going to end up in over-the-line raunchy territory — not for kids or the sexually modest — with a celebration of a character who’s both a feminist and a dirty slut, who deserves the right to fellate men “in the bathroom at Acme on a Wednesday” (from Rolling Stone). I’ll issue a warning when it comes up.)

It starts with today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro, with yet another cartoon riff on Magritte’s painting The Son of Man:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 5 in this strip — see this Page.) That’s a green M&M candy where Magritte’s painting has a green apple (so the doctor’s message is that the Magritte character has been consuming too many sweets, like that piece of candy, and needs to substitute fresh fruit, like an apple)

Two things here. Thing one, this is (by my reckoning) the 9th cartoon riff on Magritte’s painting that I’ve posted about. Thing two, about M&Ms, and the green one in particular, which has its own life as a character in ads: a life as a sexy, seductive woman. So M Magritte (the cartoon character) might well desire to take her body into his mouth and, figuratively, eat her.

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The gumball aliens

February 23, 2022

Sunday’s (2/20) Bizarro strip, rich in symbols, references, and allusions (“semiotically dense”, as I’ve started to say):


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 9 in this strip — see this Page.) One of Piraro’s secret symbols is a miniature space alien, which you can find in the upper righthand corner of the cartoon

First things first. What the strip is primarily about is an encounter between two space aliens and a gumball machine (a 25¢ machine, which means it’s a modern one), which the aliens recognize, because of its physical resemblance to them, as one of their kind. Eliminating everything except the encounter:


(#2) The encounter as a free-standing gag cartoon

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Vincent Price and his sushi at the Boulevard

February 17, 2022

Today’s Zippy strip has Griffy and Zippy inside the Boulevard Diner in Worcester MA while snow falls outside:


(#1) The two men exchange opinions about their two favorite things, which are definitely not raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens: Griffy’s (diners and snow) are more conventional, and are linked to their context; while Zippy’s (Vincent Price and sushi) are decidedly eccentric, and have no connection to the context or to each other

And now the time has come to speak of many things.

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