17 Comments

  1. The RWO struck me at first as taking on the widespread use of “issues” in place of “problems”. Then I reconsidered and it looks more like they are entirely a part of that and just looking to extract a pun from it.

  2. I sure as heck don’t get the Wide Open one. Is there a phrase “Elephant Features”?

    deety, I don’t understand your comment. What do you mean be “taking on” or being “a part” and we shouldn’t RWO use “issues” as “problems” to make a pun?

  3. Yeah, I need some help with that elephant one. Lots of help. Berber comes closest to my initial reaction, but even still – a CIDU and an OIDU.

  4. Swimming Man, fair enuf on the Elephant, I don’t think it’s a pun either. But clearly still some form of “word play”. And of course the humor seems to be amusement at the way the made-up terms may seem almost appropriate on the basis of sound and associations. E.g. the trunk, as breathing tube, is something like a snorkel; so the designation as “Snorkus” feels more like an almost-fit than sheer nonsense.

  5. Woozy, I know I was being a bit more of a curmudgeon than I needed to be. There is nothing actually wrong or nonstandard about saying “issues” in place of “problems”, nor is it a recent development. However, it does seem to be recent to use that replacement almost completely, and has often a flavor of corporate whitewashing — if users have issues with your product it can be made to sound like their psychology or quirk, while if they had problems it might have to be taken more seriously.

    So by “taking on” I meant objecting or criticising, or somewhat eye-rolling. OTOH being a part of something or taking its part means accepting it or really buying into it.

    But in the end, even if I was feeling crusty about that usage, it seems (just as you point out) one can’t blame the RWO authors, since “issues” of old magazines are the only term for those, and the patient’s problems with his back need to be called issues if the same word is going to stand for both.

  6. The elephant one is the cartoonist thinking they have made something funny because they are using made-up, childish words for parts of an elephant. Yes, if your little kid did it, you’d think it’s cute. If you and your loved one had some private-joke personal vocabulary for elephant parts, you’d enjoy that. But that an adult human I don’t know or care about made up some words, not really funny.

  7. Maybe it’s my immaturity showing, but I thought the Powell panel was entertaining. At least I was entertained.

    On the other hand, I raise a curmudgeonly right forepaw in fervent unity with those annoyed by the use of “issues” when the speaker or writer really means “problems” or “faults.” Blast it, “issue” already had enough uses and meanings without burdening it with also being a euphemism (euphemizing it?).

    https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/issue

  8. I personally would have named the “sprong” the ‘Thagomizer” after the late Thag Simmons, a la Far Side.

  9. As compared to the oh-so-few definitions of “fault”? I don’t see any problem, and of course it was necessary for the joke. As such, we’ve seen more contorted usage in the past in the name of humor.

    Here’s a discussion of the subject:

    https://www.grammarphobia.com/blog/2009/10/do-you-have-issues-with-issue.html

    The Oxford English Dictionary dates this sense of the word from 1927, when a writer in the New Statesman remarked, “There seems to be an attempt to create a big issue of Communism versus anti-Communism.”

    And we’ve been making issues of things ever since.

  10. Perhaps I shouldn’t have said I didn’t get the Elephant one, but that I didn’t get why it tagged with an “Oy”. To my mind an “oy” is a pun, or someother type of joke where the reader is set up and the final reveal gives the reader a sense of “oy, I should have seen that coming”.

    A panel of a goofy animal like an elephant having goofy names is an acceptable joke. But one’s response is not an “oy”.

    Come to think of it the Jumpstart is not much of an Oy either but…. I dunno. The situation of everyone being a little fearful of losing contact well others desiring it seems… identifiable.

  11. ” I know I was being a bit more of a curmudgeon than I needed to be. ” Everyone needs a hobby.

    “However, it does seem to be recent to use that replacement almost completely, and has often a flavor of corporate whitewashing — if users have issues with your product it can be made to sound like their psychology or quirk, while if they had problems it might have to be taken more seriously.” Fair enough. I guess I feel this isn’t really my …., er, issue.

    “But in the end, even if I was feeling crusty about that usage, it seems (just as you point out) one can’t blame the RWO authors” That’s awfully gracious of you. I’m seldom that gracious when I’ve go my curmudgeon on.

    “On the other hand, I raise a curmudgeonly right forepaw in fervent unity with those annoyed by the use of “issues” when the speaker or writer really means “problems” or “faults.” Blast it, “issue” already had enough uses and meanings without burdening it with also being a euphemism (euphemizing it?).” Well, gotta admire your convictions. And even when its not my bailiwick I respect and support curmudgeon.

    Although I have to say I never really noticed “issue” and “problem” misuse. I consider “issue” isn’t just a problem but a problem as it relates to an observer that need not be objective. I actually like it. But…”However, it does seem to be recent to use that replacement almost completely, and has often a flavor of corporate whitewashing ” Well, inappropriate corporate jargon misuse is a plague.

    Curmudgeon on, you two.

  12. The horsefly one is a pun.

    The Elephant one is just goofy. It didn’t make me laugh but it was as legitimate as any other cartoon and if it works for others…. And yes, snorkus for the nose is a form of word play. Not sure its an “oy” form of word-play but….

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