Looks like it’s only a two-day Frazz Halloween challenge this year

Cidu Bill on Oct 30th 2017


Filed in Bill Bickel, Frazz, Halloween, Jef Mallett, comic strips, comics, humor | 55 responses so far

55 Responses to “Looks like it’s only a two-day Frazz Halloween challenge this year”

  1. Carl Oct 30th 2017 at 06:13 am 1

    I don’t see a CIDU tag, so I’m assuming we aren’t supposed to get it until at least tomorrow?

  2. DemetriosX Oct 30th 2017 at 06:15 am 2

    Yeah, I wish Mallett would start this arc a little earlier when Halloween is so early in the week. Somebody at GoComics suggested Watson, but literary Watson isn’t the clueless fool from the old movies. Homes wouldn’t have put up with somebody like that. I’m also pretty sure that Caulfield’s line in the last panel is a clue. Unfortunately, all it makes me think of is the Koolaid Man.

  3. Stan Oct 30th 2017 at 06:38 am 3

    All it makes me think of is Yello.

  4. Olivier Oct 30th 2017 at 07:13 am 4

    Chief Bromden from ‘One flew over the cuckoo’s nest’?

  5. padraig Oct 30th 2017 at 09:58 am 5

    Arthur Dent from Hitchhiker’s Guide? (50th anniversary and all that…)

  6. Soup Dragon Oct 30th 2017 at 10:30 am 6

    50th anniversary of what? HHGTTG first appeared as a radio play in 1978, that will soon be 40 years ago.
    But yeah, Arthur Dent could be it.

  7. larK Oct 30th 2017 at 11:45 am 7

    That raises an interesting question: when does something become “Literature” (let alone “great”)? Immediately upon publication? After a certain amount of years a) from publication? b) from author’s death? (And the related question, Does anything in the sci-fi genre ever become Literature? ;-)

    Much as I love the Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, my immediate reaction is that I’m not going to fight for calling it “Literature” because I know too many high-brow philistines will oppose me such that unless I want to undertake a moral crusade, it’s just not worth it… But I do see it becoming revered as a Great in the canon of Literature eventually, just not yet. Maybe I need another question, After a certain amount of years after the death of everyone who was alive when it was initially published?

    (Actually, my immediate reaction was, “50 year anniversary?! No way!”, and not because it’s actually the 40th anniversary…)

  8. Winter Wallaby Oct 30th 2017 at 01:22 pm 8

    larK #7: I would say that if something is “Great Literature,” then it’s “Great Literature” immediately upon publication - but it’s obviously difficult to identify whether something will be considered “Great Literature” immediately.

    “Does anything in the sci-fi genre ever become Literature?”

    I’d reverse this question, and ask what possible justification there could be for making a blanket exclusion of any entire category of literature from being “Great Literature.” Certainly SF has a lot of garbage (and despite the claim of Sturgeon’s “Law,” I would say it contains a greater fraction of garbage than fiction on average). But I can’t see why someone would want to automatically exclude all of it. Brave New World, 1984, and Frankenstein are all SF, but I think they’d make most lists of Great Literature.

  9. James Pollock Oct 30th 2017 at 04:39 pm 9

    “when does something become ‘Literature’ (let alone ‘great’)?”
    When it gets written down.

    “Does anything in the sci-fi genre ever become Literature?”
    Yes. Genre fiction can be (capital-L) Literature. Much, probably most, genre fiction is written for an audience of genre fans rather than for the approval of nameless academics whose consensus makes a work one of “Literature” rather than (insert dismissive term for specific genre here).
    Among the works I’d consider “Literature”:
    Flowers for Algernon
    The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas
    Mimsy Were the Borogoves
    Stranger in a Strange Land
    The Omni-Lingual.

    Frankenstein is fantasy, not SF.

  10. Ted from Ft. Laud Oct 30th 2017 at 05:58 pm 10

    I think that a number of SF novels are generally considered Literature - aside from 1984 and Brave New World, there’s A Clockwork Orange and perhaps Fahrenheit 451 - I’d personally also include A Canticle for Leibowitz, 334, and Neuromancer, but they are not nearly as well known (a lot of disutopia there - I wonder if that makes it more Literature-y?). None of these are hard SF, and that may also be related - hard SF concerns itself with areas that are likely not of interest to Literary sorts, and often at the expense of the “style” that is. There are probably quite a few others, but I am far from conversant with Literature, so I’m not really in a good position to judge.

    I won’t question most of James Pollock’s list, except to say that I personally wouldn’t include Stranger, and I’m pretty sure Heinlein wouldn’t either. Also, there is disagreement as to whether Frankenstein is science fiction or not - and perhaps also if it is high Literature or not.

  11. Arthur Oct 30th 2017 at 06:22 pm 11

    You will find that a lot of people will say things such as:

    ‘First, let’s address the sci-fi thing. Yes, “Battlestar
    Galactica,” henceforth “BSG,” prominently features evil robots,
    some of which are sexy. […] Yes, there are numerous rousing
    space battles. And yes, there are enough discussions of airlocks
    and jump coordinates and FTL drives that mentioning the show in
    public will get you made fun of by at least one person within
    earshot. / But, other than providing yet another warning about
    why not to create artificial intelligence, it’s not really a
    science fiction show.’
    - (Troy Reimink, Mlive.com tv review, 19 March)

    ‘The prescience of Mr. Ballard’s work and its harsh conflation
    of the present and the future often resulted in comparisons to
    writers like Huxley and Orwell. “His fabulistic style led people
    to review his work as science fiction,” said Robert Weil, Mr.
    Ballard’s American editor at Norton. “But that’s like calling
    ‘Brave New World’ science fiction, or ‘1984.’”‘
    - (Bruce Weber, _New York Times_, 21 April)

    ‘It would be wrong to position this as a science fiction novel,
    even though it is set in the future and deals with technologies
    that do not yet exist …’ (Bill Thompson, _New Humanist_,
    September/ October 2009)

    And there are many more expamples in the annals of David
    Langford’s zine, Ansible (TM). They are, in essence saying,
    “It’s good so it can’t be science fiction.”

  12. Brian Oct 30th 2017 at 07:03 pm 12

    I remember a story where an English professor claimed that SF can’t be Great Literature, and when a student asked about _The Handmaiden’s Tale_ he basically said that since it was so good it couldn’t be SF.

  13. James Pollock Oct 30th 2017 at 07:50 pm 13

    “They are, in essence saying, ‘It’s good so it can’t be science fiction.’”

    I think that comes back to the “different audience” point I offered earlier. Fans of “science fiction” are looking for a different experience than fans of “Literature” are looking for, even when someone is in both camps. The things that make something appeal to science fiction fans are not the same things that make something appeal to “Literature” snobs (the same is true of other genres, as well.) It IS possible to appeal to both, if the writer is talented and skilled, but it’s easy to miss one one (or both). The same thing applies to works that are multi-genre, like science-fiction mysteries. There’s a lot of stuff out there that gets labelled as “science fiction” because it uses a science-fictional setting, but really is something else… a western, a war story, an adventure story, even a romance (see, for example, the center section of Asimov’s “The Gods Themselves”). A lot of media “science fiction” takes old plots and characters and simply places them in a science-fictional setting. In the sense that they are stories about people, and people are people wherever they happen to be, that doesn’t matter much, but I’d argue that SF is misnamed, because it’s about engineering, not science. The story develops along the lines of “here is a problem” and the characters struggle to find a solution within the limitations of actual physics. So “Alien” is SF.. the problem is “how do we survive being hunted by the Xenomorph within the limited confines of the Nostromo?”. That same movie is ALSO horror, because (spoiler alert for a 40-year-old movie) guess who’s coming to dinner? Meanwhile, the sequel is a straight up war story, but also SF.

    Back to the point: When something is sufficiently “Literature” to attract the attention of the literature snobs, that may mean it is insufficiently genre enough to appeal to genre fans. So reviewers might be tempted to say “yes, the literature snobs are loving this, but you (presumably addressing genre fans) will probably like it, too, because (reasons).

    “Literature” made inroads into SF starting with the “New Wave” SF that began appearing in the mid-to-late 60’s. The iron grip of the magazine editors that lasted from the 30’s to the early-60’s was broken, as it was finally possible to sell a book to a publisher (and thus, to the public) without having it appear serialized in a magazine first. The New Wave authors brough with them such niceties as character development, descriptive, even poetic prose, and, yes, realistic character motivations. I’ll go out on a limb and say that stories are better when they have these things in them, and while the New Wave brought some weirdness into the genre, the genre as a whole got better. Of course, some writers had been writing in this more literate style all along (Heinlein, for one, and all of Heinlein’s pen names, for, uh, also one, I guess.)
    You can see a similar effect in comics… read some comic stories from the 50’s, and compare them to Marvel’s titles starting in the 60’s. In the early days, good guys were good because… well, just because. Superman’s the hero, so of course he’s noble and true and stands for Truth, Justice, and the American Way. And Lex Luthor is a bad guy because… he blames Supes for losing his hair. By contrast, until the Batman animated series gave him an origin story, Mr. Freeze was just a guy with a cool weapon. The animated episode “Heart of Ice”, however, gave him a backstory that explains why Dr. Mr. Freeze does what he does, and, furthermore, the audience can say “yeah, well, maybe if that happened to me, I’d terrorize Gotham with a freeze-gun, too.”
    It can be hard to read old-school SF. A lot of it is flat and lifeless, the characters are stock and cliche, and the “science” used to solve problems isn’t considered accurate any more. And a lot of it is fairly sexist. Sturgeon’s Law applies I read through the Lensman stories when I was a teenager. I couldn’t recommend them to my daughter, though, because of the rampant sexism which is not redeemed by the later appearance of Clarissa MacDougall Kinnison. Even Dune, which is firmly New Wave, is pretty sexist. But Heinlein has smart, capable women as characters… Podkayne, everyone in Tunnel in the Sky, and the space cop in Have Space Suit Will Travel is, er, sort of female. Good stuff to nurture a strong, capable girl, which is what I had then, into a strong capable woman, which is what she is now.
    Also “Little House on the Prairie”, which isn’t SF at all, and “A Spell for Chameleon”, which is fantasy, and “Little Fuzzy”, which is SF.

  14. Mark in Boston Oct 30th 2017 at 08:14 pm 14

    I think there are lots of generally baffled main characters. It’s not uncommon at all for the main character to be a placeholder around which all the rest of the action happens. Joseph Heller deliberately did not describe Yossarian in “Catch-22″ because he is practically a faceless entity around which the story happens.

    Little Nemo in Slumberland
    Ishmael in Moby-Dick
    Nick in The Great Gatsby
    Alice in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and (especially) Through the Looking Glass

    But aside from the more-or-less baffled main characters, the most generally baffled character I can think of is Mr. Snagsby, the stationer in Dicken’s “Bleak House”, who seems to be constantly finding himself at the center of conspiracies without being able to find out anything about what is going on.
    Is that too obscure a character?

  15. Mark in Boston Oct 30th 2017 at 08:16 pm 15

    Hmmm … everyone seems to think Caulfield says “a character from great literature.”

    There must be something wrong with my computer. What I see is “a great character from literature.”

    That doesn’t eliminate “Bleak House” but it rules out Mr. Snagsby.

  16. BeckoningChasm Oct 30th 2017 at 11:53 pm 16

    I think some of J.G Ballard’s work probably would be considered “literature,” perhaps even “great literature” and he certainly employed some SF tropes.

  17. Winter Wallaby Oct 30th 2017 at 11:54 pm 17

    Ted #10: That’s an interesting point about hard SF. Your characterization is sort of focused on literary “style” or snobiness, but I’d view it a little differently.

    For Literature to be “Great,” it needs to have its main focus on human emotions, human dilemmas, and human interactions, because that’s the topic that’s of general interest to the widest class of readers. (It’s fine if the “humans” are actual Cylons, or puppeteers, so long as their dilemmas cast light on our own.) With genre writing - SF, romance novels, Westerns, etc. . . - there’s a focus on something that a particular class of readers particularly likes, but it loses it’s generality, and that makes it harder to be Great Literature. e.g. if you’re intersted in physics, having a large section of a book dedicated to the physics of Ringworld is great. But I don’t think it’s just a stylistic preference to feel that it makes the book more specialized, and less “Great.” Hard SF can have a tendency (not always, just a tendency) to focus on technology at the expense of human interactions. Soft SF can just use the different technology or culture as a vehicle for exploring human interactions in a different context, which makes it a better vehicle for being “Great.”

  18. Winter Wallaby Oct 30th 2017 at 11:56 pm 18

    Mark #14: I don’t see anyone who says Caufield says that. All the discussion involving “great” is about a mutant topic from larK, not about the comic. But FWIW, IIRC, Caufield generally does pick literature that could plausibly be considered “Great.”

  19. Kilby Oct 31st 2017 at 12:04 am 19

    I think that MiB’s discovery @14 of the twist from the customary wording of the conditions makes the discussion about “whether SF can be considered literature” irrelevant, but “great charaxter” would also seem to rule out Arthur Dent.

    P.S. YMMV, I’ve never liked “Hitchhiker”.

  20. Cidu Bill Oct 31st 2017 at 12:08 am 20

    How about it becomes literature when English teachers make you read it?

  21. Cidu Bill Oct 31st 2017 at 12:41 am 21

    How about Alfred E. Neuman?

    He said “great character,” after all, not “great literature.”

  22. Olivier Oct 31st 2017 at 04:54 am 22

    I’ve always considered science fiction to be very good tales but poor literature. It’s gripping the first time I read it and that’s it. No point re-reading it. That’s why I borrow a lot from the library and haven’t bought anything in years for myself. I’m partial to sci-fi books I’ve read as a child/teenager because of the fond memories these bring back but I admit they’re no better than more recent ones.
    On the other hand great literature without a good story bores me (good being an opinion): I see why it’s great (the teachers mentioned @19 do a good job) but once is enough, thank you.
    I like sci-fi for the imagery. I like poetry for the same reason but the latter is great literature because it works on more levels than the former.

  23. Kilby Oct 31st 2017 at 09:48 am 23

    @ Bill (20) - We may have trouble agreeing on whether science fiction can be classified as “literature”, but I don’t think anyone could object to leaving Mad Magazine out of that category.

  24. larK Oct 31st 2017 at 10:32 am 24

    @ Winter Wallaby (16): “…but it loses it’s generality, and that makes it harder to be Great Literature. e.g. if you’re intersted in physics, having a large section of a book dedicated to the physics of Ringworld is great. But […] it makes the book more specialized, and less “Great.””

    Have you never read Moby Dick, with its entire chapters on Cetacean species? Or would you just not consider it Great Literature?

  25. larK Oct 31st 2017 at 10:50 am 25

    Oh Kilby (22), I object! Seriously! While it denigrates itself, and certainly being a continually published magazine the quality does vary, but Mad revolutionized a whole generation’s critical thinking ability, and completely exposed and deconstructed advertising and the insidious techniques it employs. Harvey Kurtzman, who was almost single-handedly responsible the comic version of Mad and its transition into a magazine and the sensibilities that have informed it ever since, has been called “one of the most important figures in postwar America” by The New York Times.

    I think this one is clearly one for the category “not until a a certain amount of years after the death of everyone who was alive when it was initially published”, because without a doubt, historians looking back to the latter half of the 20th century will have to deal with the Great influence Mad played over that time period.

  26. Winter Wallaby Oct 31st 2017 at 11:07 am 26

    larK #23: I said that when a book is written with specialized sections that are only of interest to a select group, that makes is harder to be Great Literature. “Harder” is not “impossible.”

    Athough to answer the specific question, I have never read Moby Dick, and thus have no opinion on it’s Greatness.

  27. Winter Wallaby Oct 31st 2017 at 11:09 am 27

    Bill #19: Quite a lot of books I plodded through when my English teachers assigned them, barely making it through the assigned reading each week, I loved when I reread them as an adult. I’m not sure if the difference is from having more life experiences, or just from it no longer being assigned reading.

  28. Wendy Oct 31st 2017 at 11:10 am 28

    Well, if human emotions and interactions are at the heart of Great Literature, then some SF entries I’d nominate are Ender’s Game and The Ship Who Sang (both spawned series but stand alone well, too). They are unquestionably SF novels, and they are all about humanity, and they are worth reading more than once because you see them differently at different ages. Or at least I did. But then what do I know, I’m a math person.

  29. James Pollock Oct 31st 2017 at 03:34 pm 29

    “They are unquestionably SF novels, and they are all about humanity”

    Looping back to my list, try “Flowers for Algernon”. If, at the end, you have not shed a tear for poor Algernon, you are a block of stone. And Algernon is a mouse, and that’s not the point.
    “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” is about fundamental humanity, too. So is the original “Blade Runner” novel, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”
    To add a new entry, Perhaps try on of Heinlein’s lesser-known works, “Jerry Was a Man”.

  30. Kilby Oct 31st 2017 at 04:31 pm 30

    Of all the massive tomes that I was assigned during my senior year of high school English, I liked only two, and I would have gladly skipped the last 20% of “Huck Finn”(*). The other one was “Return of the Native”.

    I recently discovered a copy of “The Great Gatsby” on the English shelf of our local library, and decided to give it another chance (and was not disappointed), but all the rest of those “literary” books seemed painfully dull(**), and I cannot imagine ever re-attempting them.

    P.S. (*) - After Tom Sawyer shows up, the story is over.

    P.P.S. (**) - I was supposed to read “Moby Dick”, too, but ended up resorting to Cliffs Notes.

  31. Mark in Boston Oct 31st 2017 at 11:10 pm 31

    “After Tom Sawyer shows up, the story is over.”

    Which is why the sequels “Tom Sawyer Abroad” and “Tom Sawyer, Detective” are forgotten today.

  32. Cidu Bill Oct 31st 2017 at 11:35 pm 32

    Yes, Winter (25), English teachers can make even Tale of Two Cities dry and dull.

  33. James Pollock Oct 31st 2017 at 11:53 pm 33

    “English teachers can make even Tale of Two Cities dry and dull.”

    Mr. Dickens did that.

  34. Meryl A Nov 1st 2017 at 01:29 am 34

    My absolute favorite book was/is “Little Women. I thought I knew all about the family.

    My parents took me to Louisa May Alcott’s house in Concord, MA when I was around 11 or 12. I just about got thrown out of the tour by disagreeing with the guide, as of course the book was based on their real lives.

    I went back to the house with my husband some time later - and several times. I had a better understanding then of the difference between their real life and their fictional life. We went there every trip to Boston - I used to joke that husband made the trip to Concord for me every trip we made to Boston,whether I wanted to go or not. We drove past homes of hers that were not open to the public. We went to their graves. (Husband, who hates going to cemeteries which are still in use for burials walking ahead of me yelled back “There is one stone for the family name and their initials are on their individual stones. I hope you know Louisa May’s initials” - Think about it a minute.

    Decades pass. I have an extensive library of books by and about her. In the Colonial Williamsburg books shop a few years ago Robert found a relatively new bio of her and her mother and another of her and her father and we bought them. I found out that the book was very little like their life and I now know even so much more about her and the dynamics of the family. I also reread the sequel books - Little Men and Jo’s Boys over the past few years (the latter I admit I am still in the midst of). One picks up a different perspective when one knows where inspirations came from and why the books were written as well as what was going on the lives of the family at those times. As a reenactor (of an earlier period) I find it fascinating to read term used in the book - bus? Pre automobile? Yes, a horse drawn wagon with the seats facing inward. Bathroom is used for the room used for same and related, in their house - so I know that sometime in the 110 years between the period I interpret and when the books are written the terms have come into use as has the term Gotham for NYC.

    So, to me great literature is books which continue to be relevant to people long after the time they were written and each reading reveals new ideas and things to the reader.

  35. Kilby Nov 1st 2017 at 03:09 am 35

    @ Meryl A (34) - “great literature is books which continue to be relevant…long after…they were written and each reading reveals new ideas…

    I’m not sure that everyone will see that nice concise definition when it’s hidden behind two monster paragraphs.

  36. Mitch4 Nov 1st 2017 at 09:43 am 36

    Meryl, while I was working as consultant / contractor with our public school system, when I would visit various schools around the city one thing I was always curious about was their relationship to the namesake, if famous or worth learning about. Some had extensive displays, others hardly anything.

    At Alcott, it was disappointing they seemed to be almost disowning her. Not only was there no informational display, they always called it Alcott, never “Louisa Alcott” or “L. M. Alcott”.

    Perhaps because her reputation is stuffy and old fashioned, and not sufficiently modern. But the school librarian (the staff member we were working with most closely) made a case that the author could be seen as proto-feminist and a good figure for today’s girls to learn to relate to. She had made this case to the administration but to no avail.

  37. Cidu Bill Nov 1st 2017 at 10:52 am 37

    As Potter Stewart more-or-less said, “I can’t define great literature, but I know it when I see it.”

  38. Kilby Nov 1st 2017 at 11:59 am 38

    @ Bill (37) - I thought he was talking about “art” rather than “literature”. ;-)

  39. Dave in Boston Nov 1st 2017 at 02:31 pm 39

    *throws down gauntlet* Moby-Dick is not Literature. It is crap. It would make a nice novella if retold by a good writer, like say Mark Twain or Jane Austen.

  40. James Pollock Nov 1st 2017 at 04:22 pm 40

    ” Moby-Dick is not Literature. It is crap.”

    These are not mutually-exclusive identifications. (or value judgments).

  41. Kilby Nov 1st 2017 at 04:56 pm 41

    Thanks to Dave in Boston (@39) for confirming the suspicions I had back in high school (@30).

  42. James Pollock Nov 1st 2017 at 05:00 pm 42

    In terms of uselessness, I struggle to imagine the educational usefulness of reading “Ethan Frome”. I mean, “To Kill a Mockingbird” was also assigned reading that same year of school, and these were the low and high points of assigned reading for HS English class, of which I had 4 (required) years.

  43. Arthur Nov 1st 2017 at 08:34 pm 43

    The rationalist Moby-Dick (from HPMOR):
    “Revenge?” said the peg-legged man. “On a whale? No, I decided
    I’d just get on with my life.”

  44. Olivier Nov 2nd 2017 at 04:27 am 44

    Meryl A @34:”great literature is books which continue to be relevant to people long after the time they were written and each reading reveals new ideas and things to the reader”: Amen to that.
    Which is why I think Moby Dick is great literature ; I see it as a catalog of writing styles, like The Canterbury tales, Ulysses, The ring and the book, etc. It’s the kind of books I open at random from time to time and get lost in.

  45. Mark in Boston Nov 3rd 2017 at 08:57 pm 45

    Mitch4@36: Any elementary or secondary school named “Alcott” is almost certainly named for Bronson Alcott, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amos_Bronson_Alcott a great educator and transcendentalist philosopher associated with Emerson and Thoreau. And father of Louisa May Alcott.

  46. Winter Wallaby Nov 4th 2017 at 02:54 am 46

    Mark in Boston #45: And if “Transcendental Wild Oats” is any indication, Louisa May Alcott wasn’t too impressed with her father.

  47. mitch4 Nov 4th 2017 at 09:57 am 47

    Mark and Winter, #45-6. — Your point is well taken, that you can’t expect to accurately guess an identity from a surname alone. (Ask Senator McCain why “his ship” was in a collision this fall.)

    But I may not have been clear that this school is one that my crew and I went and worked at for a few days, on site, saw rthe school’s signage, and talked with the school librarian about the administration downplaying Louisa May Alcott, whom she knew to be the actual namesake.


    Those are the CPS (district) standard data pages for the elementary and high school; you can see the full name “Louisa May Alcott College Preparatory ES / HS” on these pages. But if you follow the link to the school operators’ own site, http://www.alcottcollegeprep.net/ and http://www.alcottelementary.net/ , the string “Louisa” does not show up!

    BTW, do you understand the term “namesake” the same as I do? In my usage, the older or original person or identity is the namesake, and we don’t have quite as convenient and compact a term for the later or younger person who has been named for the namesake. But some people seem to take it as optionally symmetrical.

  48. Mark in Boston Nov 4th 2017 at 08:31 pm 48

    Mitch4: Webster’s New International Dictionary, Second Edition (the best “prescriptive” dictionary of American English) defines “namesake” as “One that has the same name as another,; esp., one named after the other.” Also verb transitive, “To give the name of another to.” Derivation: “For name’s sake; i.e. one named for the sake of another’s name”.

  49. Mitch4 Nov 4th 2017 at 08:45 pm 49

    Right you are! I was confused this morning.

    But now there is still a missing term. What do you call the earlier or original bearer of a name? Not exactly “predecessor” in most cases.

  50. Kilby Nov 4th 2017 at 11:47 pm 50

    @ mitch4 - Perhaps “progenitor”?

  51. Mark in Boston Nov 6th 2017 at 09:25 pm 51

    A cognominal is one who bears the same name as another, going either way.

    An eponym is a person after whom something is named, such as the Ronald Reagan airport, or after whom a tribe or race or other group of people is named, as the Semites, Hamites and Japhethites after Ham, Shem and Japheth, the sons of Noah. The word “eponym” does not seem to be used for a person for whom another person is named.

  52. Kilby Nov 6th 2017 at 10:23 pm 52

    @ MiB (51) - The locals who actually use that airport still call it “National”.

  53. Meryl A Nov 7th 2017 at 04:05 am 53

    Mark in Boston - the thought that it was named for Bronson and not LM immediately entered my mind.

    He as also the father of May Alcott an artist who if she lived longer would have been extremely well known. She was the first art teacher of Daniel Chester French.

  54. Meryl A Nov 7th 2017 at 04:05 am 54

    That should be he WAS also …

  55. Meryl A Nov 7th 2017 at 04:19 am 55

    Winter Wallaby -

    Last year I read a bio of LM and her mother - who should be well known for her work in women’s rights. This year I read a bio of LM and her father. Bronson was an idealist. He was not, hmm, what should I say about him, enough of a realist (?) to support his family and do what was necessary to keep a job. The family mostly lived off funds from Mrs. Alcott’s brother. (The May family - Mrs. Alcott’s family - dated back to the early colonists, one of their ancestors was a judge in Salem at the witch trials. Mrs. Alcott was related to the Quincys (as in John Quincy Adams) and John Hancock’s wife. Bronson was from a newer arrived family.

    The family would send Bronson off on speaking tours and he would come back broke. It was only late in his life after LM was famous that he was able to make money touring as the father of the author of “Little Women”. The thinkers and writers that the family associated with reads like a who’s who of writers in the period.

    LM and Bronson shared a birthday and she died very shortly after he did - her health being poor after a short stint as a military nurse in Virginia during the US Civil War.

    Transcendental Wild Oats was based on their time at Fruitlands in Harvard, MA when Bronson and a gentleman he met in England started a commune. The idea was to have no slave or animal labor (mostly work done by Mrs. Alcott and the older girls) nor eating of meat. It did not work out well. One can tour the grounds - we have been there.

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