39 Comments

  1. Yeah, it’s disturbing to contemplate, but apparently the management has provided the TP roll for the convenience of those who are going to use the subway platform as a restroom.

  2. “Subway tile” is rectangular and arranged with 50% offset between rows. Presumably the artist either didn’t know that or decided drawing a wall of it would be too much work.

  3. THAT’s what seemed so ‘wrong’ about this comic; ‘subway tile’ seems to be a popular kitchen backsplash tile, according to some ‘home improvement’ shows I’ve seen. Personally, I’d think I was in the wrong room ev’ry time I went into the kitchen if I had those tiles.

  4. A couple notes on details of the drawing:

    1) Though this artist’s style for human faces includes the projectile nose cone, the facemasks have been styled appropriately to fit over them.
    2) The wire grid door of the cat carrier has its own dimensions, not dependent on the wall tile background.

  5. It’s not really in my dialect, but I think for people who do say “a bit of the necessary” it mostly means money.

  6. The only time I’ve heard ‘the necessary’ refer to a bathroom is when it’s called ‘the necessary room’ (NOT in my personal experience; just in my reading).

  7. “Presumably the artist either didn’t know that or decided drawing a wall of it would be too much work.”

    Is that a mistake, or part of the joke? i.e. the subway has been changed from subway format to bathroom format, with bathroom tiling and bathroom accoutrements.

  8. I’m not sure what Mark Jackson means when he says that subway tile is rectangular and offset, as if all subway stations are the same. A Google image search shows that just in NYC, there are a number of styles.

    This, for example, looks just like the cartoon:

  9. Do you guys really think tile is a necessary part of the joke?

    Course it’s only men who do that in subway stations and men don’t use toilet paper….

  10. I work with a fair number of Indians, and they often use the expression ‘do the needful’, like if you have to fill in a form, or bring something into work or whatever. Ex. “We require your civil id, passport and three photos. Can you do the needful by tomorrow please.” It always throws me off.

  11. I use “do the needful”, as in a recent email telling my brother about a friend trying to find “either the logbook or the reminder letter for a code to do the needful” (in this case, the friend wanted to tax his car online but he had moved house and had mislaid the car’s logbook, and the govt’s reminder letter had gone astray).

    But then I also used to deal with people from India and Pakistan in my publishing days, so maybe that is where it comes from. It seems quite a useful term.

  12. Oh, yes, I agree. It works as a phrase, but it just jars my ears a little. ‘Needful’ seems like an adjective to me, as in ‘Needful Things’, not a noun. It’s kind of like saying, ‘Do the wonderful,’ or ‘Do the meaningful.’ I always take a second and change it to ‘do what’s needed.’

  13. idioms are idioms so it doesn’t make too much sense to argue about how to an outsiders ear about how odd they sound. (I get slightly irritated by my british associates who say, with a slight air of superiority, how absurd and childish the american word “panties” is and I’d agree if this were just casual slang but it’s plain vocabulary so it doesn’t matter how stupid anyone thinks it is; it is a legitimate word— not to mention, this is a culture which calls them knickers, of all things, and says things like “nappies”.)

    I do have to admit though, saying “do the necessaries” sound weird to my ear.

    “It seems quite a useful term.”

    I’m not sure I see why it’s needed when one could just as easily say “do whats necessary”.

    =====

    From the heading:

    “our faithful editors think there is an explanation a little too Ewww for it to have been intentional on the part of PC and Pixel.”

    I can’t think of any explanation but the obvious Eww, I can’t see have the Eww could possibly be unintentional. I can’t see why that would be “too Eww” for PC and Pixel which never struck me as prudish. (And don’t get me started again about how comic censor don’t actually exist or are not as prudish as the stereotype implies). If there was another reason and the Eww was unintentional, I can’t see how the obvious Eww could possibly not have been noticed and anticipated and avoided.

  14. Woozy says: (I get slightly irritated by my british associates who say, with a slight air of superiority, how absurd and childish the american word “panties” is and I’d agree if this were just casual slang but it’s plain vocabulary so it doesn’t matter how stupid anyone thinks it is; it is a legitimate word— not to mention, this is a culture which calls them knickers, of all things, and says things like “nappies”.) … I couldn’t truncate that excellent rant!

    In the 1959 film “Anatomy of a Murder”, there is a sort of comic-relief scene in the courtroom proceedings where the judge and lawyers in a sidebar conversation discuss what term to use for the victim’s underpants; and settle on “panties”. A bit cringe-worthy as comic relief, since the item is key evidence in a rape and murder accusation. It also may have been put in the script for the filmmakers to anticipate and start to answer criticism about the impropriety of aspects of the movie, including language.

    The court sidebar discussion made it in full into IMDb’s Quotations section for this movie, at https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0052561/quotes/qt0428488

  15. @ Woozy “I’m not sure I see why it’s [do the needful] needed when one could just as easily say “do whats necessary”

    fewer syllables and easier to spell?

    To me, as a Brit, I must admit that “panties” sounds both creepy and childish, in a Lolita kind of way. And inappropriate when applied to, say, middle-aged people’s nether garments (and especially, as above, rape victims). But I don’t go on about it – I just shudder inwardly, and don’t use the “panties” term myself. (There’s a village in Wales near where my partner lives called Pantygelli, which name is even more shuddersome. https://www.expedia.co.uk/Pantygelli.dx3000457392 )

    Believe it or not, to me “knickers” (which can be unisex in a way I think panties are not) sounds largely normal and no-nonsense. As you say, a lot of this depends on what you’re used to. And I speak as someone whose first name is “Nicholas”, thus leading to various wordplay “jokes” at my expense such as “Nicholas [knickerless] girls shouldn’t climb trees” or complications from simply saying “Hallo! I’m knickerless, how are you” (though this is not a problem that has afflicted me since I was about 12, I don’t think).

  16. From your quotes:

    Claude Dancer: When I was overseas during the war, Your Honor, I learned a French word. I’m afraid that might be slightly suggestive.

    Judge Weaver: Most French words are.

    Nice reflection on how Americans see the French!

  17. British use of “knickers” always sounds strange to me because it’s short for “Knickerbockers” or knee-breeches. But I guess it’s consistent with “pants”: take the word for the outer garment and make it the under garment.

  18. A French word is one thing. A “French letter” is something else entirely, to the Brits and Irish. When Leopold Bloom mentions the “French letter still in my pocket” he is not referring to piece of mail from his mistress. He is prepared for a meeting with his mistress.

  19. “…it doesn’t make too much sense to argue about how to an outsiders ear about how odd they sound.”

    I didn’t think we were arguing. We were just stating our opinions on the subject. In this case, it would be like arguing over which tastes better, chocolate or vanilla ice cream…it’s quite subjective. Anyway, sorry narmitaj if I was sounding argumentative. It wasn’t meant that way.

    (BTW – It’s chocolate. I’ll fight any one of you who disagrees!)

  20. re Leopold Bloom: “He is prepared for a meeting with his mistress.”

    It’s been fifty years since I read it (and while it’s been on my “looking forward to re-reading pile” for a while, I don’t think I’ll get around to it soon), but my memory is that the woman with whom Bloom is exchanging mildly erotic letters isn’t literally his mistress or anyone he’s actually met in the flesh (pun not intended), just a correspondent into such mild naughtiness — sort of early equivalent of phone sex.

    As for the French letter, Bloom follows the Boy Scout motto “Be prepared” (just in case….).

  21. @namitaj

    Yes…. My point is that although I understand why “panties” seems … off-putting and weird… my brit friends seem to think we use the weird because we are being casual and breezey and engaging in slang and the are pointing out how it is weird slang and we should try to change. What they (not you) don’t seem to understand is that in the American language “panties” is a word; vocabulary, plain and simple. No slang. And expecting us to not use it is like saying we shouldn’t use the word…. “fox” or “ice cream” or something.

    “Believe it or not, to me “knickers” sounds largely normal and no-nonsense.” Well, of course, I believe that. I am aware “knickers” is in the british language …. vocabulary. Plain and simple. I can think that to my ear, it sounds silly and childish, but I’d be short sighted if I popped in an a message board with many brits and said to the affect “I can’t believe you guys actually say that! That’s so childish! Don’t you know how weird you sound! Why don’t you use sensible words like “panties” or “underwear””… which, sadly, I have had many people say about the americanism “panties”.

    Well…. okay…. it happened once….

    But the one time it did happen the writer really did seem to believe we were just using a weird word without thinking of the consequences and we should realize how much she hated to the word. … The discussion left quite an impression on me… But maybe I am exaggerating how often such discussions occur.

  22. I re-read “Ulysses” last year. I’ll admit that it is brilliant, but in the way Bach’s Goldberg Variations are brilliant. It is more to be admired than enjoyed. And it helps to look up commentaries online, so you know what kind of literature he is parodying at the moment, just as with Bach’s cabbages and turnips.

  23. ” It is more to be admired than enjoyed.”

    I enjoyed ULYSSES the same way I enjoy solving cryptograms, or “getting” obscure joke/references. There are other forms of “enjoyment” which probably match up well with it, admittedly.

  24. Wow, my copy of this book, also hardcover, was bought for $6.50, used.

    I was looking for it on Amazon on the chance there would be an affordable Kindle edition (or free preview) I could copy a couple of pages from, to post. Looks like I might want to get out my little flatbed scanner and try it that way.

    This was one of my favorite adjunct helper books when I was actively into Ulysses. His approach (as expressed well on one of the pages I was going to copy) is that a novel damn well has to be enjoyable to read, and not just admired. And that some of the density and apparent obscurity of details in U should not get in the way of readers reading. There are two kinds of answer to the problem — find crutches and helper tools, to explain some ; but also relax and don’t panic if you have to shrug and move on.

    Another page I was thinking of posting was from a section where Adams dips into Dublin slang and explains some obscure passages for us. And in one case suggests an emendation from the published text. Which was the “Birds nest women run him” I mentioned earlier.

  25. No one makes it further than that but every-one does skip ahead to the end “yes Im having an orgasm and am too involved to punctuate yes”

  26. Woozy: “No one makes it further than that..”

    Why do you bother repeating that supposed clever burn, when among even this small group of posters some three or four have discussed their experiences reading the whole thing?

  27. i didn’t repeat it. I referred to it, to address and refute the comic directly. A citation is not a repetition.

  28. I wonder if there is a collection somewhere of classic works of literature and the point at which most readers give up.

    As a kid, for me with David Copperfield it was when Mr. Murdstone is introduced. The story at that point was so depressing I couldn’t handle it. (Many years later I read the whole thing.)

  29. I gave it up when they said he was going to make the Statue of Liberty disappear. You just knew that the “no camera tricks” claim had to be false in some way.

  30. “I wonder if there is a collection somewhere of classic works of literature and the point at which most readers give up.”

    Not, I hope, a “classic work,” but in the one Tom Clancy novel I tried to read, bottom of the first page.

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