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Stupidities (Why cartoons have animals 3)

We don’t just consume animals for nutrition, but consume them culturally. They are “painted, written, construed, arranged, stuffed, chained, trained, dissected, imagined,” according to cultural theorist Randy Malamud, and this happens “with an iron-fisted sense of entitlement and control on the part of the cultural hegemons, that is, us” (2). Malamud outlines evidence of the “digital approximation of taxidermy” … Continue reading

Why cartoons have animals 2

Watching pet owners coach their pets to talk provides one of the more amusing diversions on YouTube. Apparently you can train a dog to say “hello” as a kind of vocalised yawn, or to growl out something like “sausages.” In a post in May 2012 I outlined 9 reasons why cartoons feature animals. Here’s a 10th reason: getting animals to talk. It’s obvious: animals (non-human) … Continue reading

Why cartoons have animals

Why do adults and children like to see animals as characters in fictional stories and cartoons, especially when stories about animals are so confusing? Everyone knows that Micky Mouse (a mouse) lives in a house and has a pet Pluto (a dog) and a friend Goofy (a dog that talks). I recently caught up with … Continue reading

The treehouse

A treehouse provides both prospect and refuge. It’s built to position its residents some distance above the ground. A treehouse is organic and improvised, structured to oblige its particular and uncertain superstructure — the tree. The structure is usually additive. It looks as though it could extend further into the tree canopy, and even connect … Continue reading

Trash talk

Like most urban commuters I have learned to tune out other people’s mobile phone conversations. But when I’m forced to attend to one-sided overloud jibber-jabber the interlocutor may as well be speaking in code. “She said that? … He did it then. … Ask him to give it to me when I’m there.” Deixis Deictic … Continue reading

Everything is code

“He doesn’t give you questions. He doesn’t give you orders. He speaks in a code. I understand the code because I’ve been around him for a decade” said convicted ex-lawyer Michael Cohen about his ex-boss (Trump) before the US House Oversight Committee on Wednesday. As any student of semiotics knows, speaking in code is what … Continue reading

Hustle, twitter, bells and banter

Free beer! C.S. Peirce and semioticians make much of the meaningful call out of someone like a street vendor. A cry or call out from someone giving away, selling or hustling goods at a market fits one of Peirce’s sign categories. To be precise, it is a kind of dicent indexical legisign. The sign is complete … Continue reading

Cracks and flaws

I enjoy Keith Olbermann’s weekly YouTube tirades against the US presidential incumbent, who he describes as “f*cking crazy.” See The Resistance with Keith Olbermann. Crazy is what you say about old ships “Full of cracks or flaws; damaged, impaired, unsound; liable to break or fall to pieces; frail, ‘shaky’” (OED). The metaphor translates to a state … Continue reading

Extreme tweeting for professionals

The presence of an unregenerate tweeter in the White House places social media in the spotlight. The current state of the White House reveals it as an extreme locus of power, division, anxiety, instability, temper, ignorance, deception, self-interest, and antipathy. Trump’s use of Twitter provides an excellent case study illustrating what people can do with social media, and what it can do to them. Why should any … Continue reading

Pokémon Go versus Ingress

Everyone is talking about Pokemon Go. So I may as well join in. While on holiday last week in the town of Menton in the south of France I aimed my mobile phone camera at a cat in a laneway. Two young men glanced in my direction as they walked by, and I distinctly heard one of … Continue reading

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