I have no idea what this all means, but I’m adding an Arlo tag just in case

Cidu Bill on Jul 20th 2016

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Filed in Arlo Page, Bill Bickel, CIDU, Mark Parisi, Off the Mark, comic strips, comics, humor | 29 responses so far

29 Responses to “I have no idea what this all means, but I’m adding an Arlo tag just in case”

  1. larK Jul 20th 2016 at 10:24 am 1

    Wow, for a simple toothbrush, he sure married a high maintenance wife!

  2. 1958Fury Jul 20th 2016 at 10:42 am 2

    I believe he’s supposed to be an electric toothbrush, which sometimes have interchangeable heads. Some of which could possibly have sexual applications, if you’re a toothbrush, I guess. Anyway, the Arlo tag was probably a good idea.

  3. Kilby Jul 20th 2016 at 10:49 am 3

    I wish I hadn’t researched this at all(*), but I still don’t think there’s anything arlo-ish intended. In human terms a man might ask for a different outfit (such as a particular negligee); the equivalent in terms of this appliance is to change the brush.

    Of course, when it’s her turn to ask for a change, she’s going to have to chuck all of her one-piece partner in the trash, and replace him with a beefier model. After all, he is pink(**).

    (*) P.S. @2 - There appear to be some companies that manufacture replacement appliances for electric toothbrushes, effectively converting them into vibrators.

    (**) P.P.S. Not to be confused with “strawberry”.

  4. John Small Berries Jul 20th 2016 at 11:08 am 4

    I don’t really have anything to add about the meaning of the comic itself, but I did find it interesting that 1958Fury went with the traditional (for the US, anyway) “pink = female” coding, and Kilby rejected it.

  5. JHGRedekop Jul 20th 2016 at 11:08 am 5

    What makes people think the speaking toothbrush is male and the electric one is is female?

    Going by traditional 20th century gender colours, it’s the other way around; going by traditional comic book use of eyelashes to represent females, it’s a gay couple…

  6. mitch4 Jul 20th 2016 at 11:12 am 6

    Electric toothbrushes very generally do have switchable heads, for two reasons: (1) replacement when it gets worn down; (2) multiple family or household members.

    The request seems to me more serious than “could you wear a different outfit?” .. it’s “could we please replace your face?” !

    Are we confident about the gender identification most commenters seem to have been assuming? Although the request seems more what a callous male might say, the use as a vibrator might be seen as more frequently sought by females.

  7. James Pollock Jul 20th 2016 at 11:30 am 7

    I don’t think an Arlo tag is required. Married couples have had that awkward moment when they tell their spouse “go brush your teeth” because they are the first or last person close enough to detect bad breath. Well, this couple ARE toothbrushes, so what they do about bad breath is to switch out heads.

  8. Winter Wallaby Jul 20th 2016 at 11:42 am 8

    I feel pretty sure the blue one is male, and the pink one is female - why would Parisi reverse the standard convention?

    I could be to switch to a vibrator mode, but I had thought it was more like dress-up games.

  9. yellojkt Jul 20th 2016 at 11:46 am 9

    It’s about sexual roleplaying games. He/she wants the partner to pretend to be somebody else.

  10. Proginoskes Jul 20th 2016 at 02:12 pm 10

    I think yellojkt (9) has it. The toothbrush speaking is smiling. If it was frowning, I’d lean towards James Pollock’s (7) explanation.

  11. James Pollock Jul 20th 2016 at 02:38 pm 11

    “If it was frowning, I’d lean towards James Pollock’s (7) explanation.”

    If it was frowning, I wouldn’t. If my interpretation is correct, then a frowny face would have different phrasing in the dialog bubble. As is, it’s polite and hopeful. If it were frowny, the dialog would be more like “Do it” than “please do it”.

    As to the gender identification, I don’t think it matters, not least of which because I’m unaware that toothbrushes HAVE gender identification. (For that matter, they could be siblings rather than romantic partners.)((although, I’m also unaware that toothbrushes have either siblings or romantic partners.))

  12. Judge Mental Jul 20th 2016 at 04:34 pm 12

    My interpretation was the same as Winter Wallaby/yellojkt in that I think it is just a simple role-playing/changing facial appearance. However, I recognized the opportunity for the more Arlo-y interpretation right away and knew some readers would opt for that explanation.

    I think the mis-step towards the more explicit interpretation is to erroneously apply the human view point that electric toothbrushes are similar in appearance (and in action) to vibrators. My guess is that an anthropomorphic toothbrush would not think of himself/herself that way. They know that they *are* toothbrushes.

    To Mr./Mrs. Toothbrush, switching out the toothbrush head is more akin to putting on a new face than it is about “modifying the type of attachment”.

  13. Mr. Grumpy Jul 20th 2016 at 05:00 pm 13

    I thought the blue one looked scowling male — as well as bulkier.

  14. Brent Jul 21st 2016 at 12:41 am 14

    @JHGRedekop (5): I think you mean 21st century tradition. For a good part of the 20th, the colours were reversed (red is a passionate colour of men, not cool headed like women (or association with the Virgin Mary, whose colour is blue)… really, that flipped too, after all, part of the reason given for why women weren’t allowed to be actors was that they weren’t emotional enough to convey emotion on stage). For other chunks, there was no real tradition… either because people didn’t really care (in the 19th century, kids wore whatever they had… this included boys wearing dresses passed down from their sisters and it was no big deal), or both were present. It is not a longstanding tradition… the reverse is still in living memory.

  15. Meryl A Jul 21st 2016 at 01:32 am 15

    As late as the 1990’s pink was for girls and blue for boys - and as far as I know that continues. When I made baby quilts and sold them at craft shows the pink/girls and blue/boys was a definite thing (hence I made a lot of “neutral” green and yellow quilts also).

    In addition it seems to me (here’s a strange thought) that in many cartoons the wife is on the left side (as we look at them) of the bed and the husband on the right - a couple of examples are Arlo and Janis and Dennis the Menace’s parents.

  16. Winter Wallaby Jul 21st 2016 at 02:51 am 16

    Brent #14: Even if that story of color-flipping is true (and I’m skeptical that it did), the color reversal is alleged to have occurred sometime between the 1920s and the 1950s. Perhaps in living memory for some, but still a longstanding tradition.

  17. Kilby Jul 21st 2016 at 03:47 am 17

    @ JSB (4) - I think the reason I assigned the gender roles the way I did @3 had nothing to do with the colors, but simply the address as “Honey…“. My snide comment about the “unmanly pink” was an afterthought. Looking at it the other way around (with the man being asked to change his appearance and/or utensil) takes it much closer to Arlo territory.

    @ WW (16) - A real color flip took place much more recently. When I was a kid, all the political maps had the democrats as red, and the republicans as blue, but as far as I can recall, those colors were only on the maps. Now that the reversal has become so anchored in political discussions (with people talking about “red” and “blue” states), it’s unlikely that the map colors will change again anytime soon.

  18. Carl Jul 21st 2016 at 06:24 am 18

    @Winter Wallaby:

    “I feel pretty sure the blue one is male, and the pink one is female - why would Parisi reverse the standard convention?”

    You think Parisi colors his own comics? I’m assuming someone in Malaysia who couldn’t read the word balloons did it.

  19. larK Jul 21st 2016 at 09:13 am 19

    Kilby: Yeah, that red state / blue state thing really came out of the blue (no pun intended) for me, too; I must have been out of the country a while, and suddenly EVERYONE is talking about “Red States” or “Blue States” like it’s this thing I should know, and as far as I can tell, it’s based on the arbitrary colors some network assigned the parties? And not from anytime I remember — I remember green and yellow in addition to blue and green, different on different networks, and it was basically just colors of convenience, not permanently assigned to any one party. It especially irked me because it seemed they purposely went against tradition where the left leaning party gets the shades of red, so I really had problems at first understanding that “Red State” was code for “right leaning conservative state”. Or maybe they got the code as “Redneck state”, which would bother me even more than just the sloppy painting of the entire population as a particular stereotype just because 51% of those who bothered to show up at an election (usually no more than 40% to 60% of the population) happened to vote a particular way.
    And then that those so brushed don’t object to the color (after all, better dead than red!).

    Basically, it bothers me because obviously no one consulted me.

  20. Mitch4 Jul 21st 2016 at 09:41 am 20

    larK, I also was familiar with red == left or communist (and pink == kinda red, a sympathizer) . So I figured the now-standard colors were chosen to avoid that older association, and not seem to be calling any rando Democrat a communist.

    (No matter that the anecdotes about the new pattern make it pretty arbitrary.)

  21. James Pollock Jul 21st 2016 at 12:05 pm 21

    “I figured the now-standard colors were chosen to avoid that older association, and not seem to be calling any rando Democrat a communist. ”

    In the real world, of course, there are a substantial number of people for who “Democrat” and “Communist” are indistinguishable. (If you’re far enough to the right, I could see how these would blend together… kind of the way if you’re counting in single digits, a million and a billion are pretty much both just “big numbers”.)

  22. James Pollock Jul 21st 2016 at 12:08 pm 22

    “I remember green and yellow in addition to blue and green, different on different networks, and it was basically just colors of convenience, not permanently assigned to any one party.”

    Well, I’m pretty sure green is permanently tied to one party now.

  23. DemetriosX Jul 21st 2016 at 12:11 pm 23

    Re the party colorations, it’s only been firmly codified since 2000. Before that, different networks used different schemes, some not even using red and/or blue. Apparently CBS started using the current scheme in 1984 (maybe because red was Nancy Reagan’s favorite color?). NBC must have been using the same scheme in 2000, because it was during that presidential campaign that Tim Russert coined the terms “red state” and “blue state”. They caught on and everybody had to agree on what they referred to.

  24. Kilby Jul 21st 2016 at 03:11 pm 24

    Seeing as the conversation has turned from gender over to party colors, I’d like to mention that one nice feature of German politics is that there are (many) more than two parties, about 5 or 6 of which have national stature, and each of these has a standard “color”: CDU/CSU (conservatives, black), SPD (social dems, red), Lefties (even redder, sometimes magenta), Greens (platform and color are obvious), FDP (libertarians, yellow), and the newly founded “Alternative” party (usually blue, but I would have given them brown). The “Pirate” party made a brief showing, but self-destructed before they could win anything in any election.

    The first two “major” parties dominate, both federally and in virtually every state. However, with rare exceptions (such as “Bavaria”), neither of these “major” parties can form a government without getting one (sometimes two) of the “minor” parties to form a coalition. It is precisely the variations in the federal and state coalitions that make German politics more interesting that the unidimensional (and generally bipolar) American two-party system.

  25. mitch4 Jul 21st 2016 at 03:23 pm 25

    The Danish TV series Borgen http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1526318/combined has a couple set-piece episodes about the plotting and negociations of building coalitions and forming a government following that sort of multi-party parliamentary elections.

  26. DemetriosX Jul 21st 2016 at 03:35 pm 26

    @Kilby: The Pirates (who were orange) did manage to make into one or two state legislatures, which actually contributed to their implosion, since they suddenly had to do more than talk. The AfD is certainly brown underneath their blue coating, but brown is already taken by the NPD (the National Party, who are about as openly Nazi as it is possible to be and get away with in Germany).

    The fun thing about all these colors and the need for coalitions, is that some of them wind up with amusing names. Back when the FDP were still a viable party, you had the Stoplight coalition (red, yellow, green) and Jamaica (black, green, yellow) (neither of which actually occurred, I think). There’s talk of a Kenya coalition (black, red, green) and the current government of Baden-Württemberg, led by the Greens with an assist from the CDU is known as the Kiwi (green and black). There are others, but most of them are highly unlikely.

  27. Kilby Jul 22nd 2016 at 05:04 am 27

    @ DemetriosX (26) - There have been a couple of actual “traffic light” coalitions, but only at the state or community level. However, sometimes just the possibility of such a coalition has a noticeable effect on the negotiations forming alternative coalitions, such as when one minor party has a choice between two different partners, and can use this leverage to bargain for more power (typically departmental positions) in the final agreement.

  28. Lola Jul 23rd 2016 at 06:58 am 28

    My electric toothbrush has an alternate head that is a little rubber cylinder. If that’s what’s being referred to, then the Arlo designation was well warranted.

  29. Patricia Guinther Aug 23rd 2016 at 05:39 pm 29

    Sometimes the writer wanted to challenge his readers. Or he was being intentionally obscure to show off how clever he is. Then there are writers who are actually trying to get on CIDU. People have remarked – quite frequently and not without justification – that I simply don t get any comics that involve cats.

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