15 Comments

  1. This panel seems singularly un-funny. My best guess is that it might be a sort of “op-ed” piece, playing on racial tension, along the lines for “fear of black(s) and/or white(s)“. It might even be more political than that.
    P.S. Here’s another comic in which the purpose of the “chiaroscuro” was a little less cryptic:

  2. Person afraid of chiaroscuro drawn in chiaroscuro and looking afraid.

    Person looking afraid labelled “Fear of being a character in single panel comic” would have been a little funnier to me. Funnier still if also paired with an unlikely sesquipedalian faux Greek, Latin or German derived word, which would also give us more to discuss.

  3. Do people still hear the “foot-and-a-half” that underlies sesquipedalian, or does the applied metaphor meaning of “fancy and overblown” entirely dominate?

  4. I think the comic is just playing on the fact that things drawn in heavy chiaroscuro can look particularly dramatic or scary.

  5. @Deety: I didn’t know the metaphorical meaning, but I’m not a native.
    I’m used to pedalian/sesquipedalian/bipedalian because of Roman tiles.

  6. I learned “sesquipedalian” from Mark Twain who used it as an adjective to describe a long word. Sesquipedalian is a sesquipedalian word. In a world where “phonetically” is not spelled the way it sounds and Gary Oldman was a young man when Henny Youngman was an old man it was nice to have a word that actually described itself.

  7. If “autological” means “describes itself” or “applies to itself” then I think you’re free to posit either that “autological” does or does not apply to itself. Either choice works out consistently.

    But I see why you could not decide about “heterological” (if it is supposed to mean “does not apply to itself”). If you say it does apply to itself then you are saying the term “heterological” correctly characterizes it, so the meaning of “heterological” should be true of it, so it would not apply to itself. On the other hand if you start by saying it does not apply to itself, that is the definition of “heterological”, so it is correctly described as “heterological”, which is itself, so it does apply to itself after all.

  8. Is the punchline a pun on something in particular? I understand the term chiaroscuro and wonder what the comic is ultimately driving at.

  9. My first impression was “man that guy looks freaky”. I think he could be the basis for a whole line of comics with different punchlines… and the given punchline sounds like the winner of a “caption this drawing” contest.

  10. The comic looks a little ‘bad-trippy’ to me. The guy’s nose/upper lip are melting into a ghost-like figure…and is that a black window or a black wall leading down a hallway? I can’t tell, man! I can’t tell!!!

    The give away is that his teeth, bottom lip and chin are definitely in the shape of a mushroom.

  11. @lazarusjohn, no, this is in the realm of pure logic, nothing to do with physics. It’s like a version of the barber paradox, or Russell’s paradox.

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