30 Comments

  1. I didn’t think it was punch-line funny, though if you took a moment to see that the dog has been splashed that could be the conclusion in a standard joke structure. But in general I meant that it was funny in the way physical comedy can be – appreciating the back story of the splashing, the expressions on both the artist and the dog, and the concision of the one-word dialog.

  2. … who usually lives in that top hat, but can when desired occupy other headgear, such as a football helmet.

    However, it’s not exactly clear how the trick play will go.

  3. “The dog wasn’t spotted before it walked in the room.”

    Thanks. I was wondering if that’s what it was initially, but dismissed it thinking that if the dog had been splashed, there would also be splatter on the floor in the direction of the dog. Also, the artist is holding orange paint, whereas the dog has darker spots. I thought I’d missed something.

  4. He looks like he’s bodiless, but it’s a trick.

    (I’m not going to tell you how it’s done. That would ruin the illusion.)

  5. ““The dog wasn’t spotted before it walked in the room.”

    Actually, I just noticed that the dog is white, like the canvases. Could it be that it wasn’t an accident, and the artist just got carried away and painted up the dog earlier while it was asleep in the other room? That may explain the lack of splash on the floor and the different colour.

  6. In referring to the “Elizabethan collar” used to for medical purposes on animals, it certainly entered the public consciousness via that film. That makes sense since there was no reason to consider the cone shameful outside of the context of its use in that film, where it was used as a punishment by a fascistic canine society. Previously it was depicted (such as in Garfield) as embarrassing but not shameful.

    Now, the two terms often get conflated so people easily latched onto “cone of shame” as close enough to “cone of embarrassment”.

    I did find an early use to refer to something other than the medical device. It appears on page 5 of The Scamp:
    The Fortunes of Francis Talbot and His Friends During the Reign of His Majesty George the First
    by Virgil Markham (1926): “So there he remained under the towering cone of shame with the great black D written on it , a symbol almost as grave as though it stood for ‘damned.'”

    Similarly, in American Scoundrel: The Life of the Notorious Civil War General Dan Sickles by Thomas Keneally (2003): “Teresa walked as she ever would from this point on, guardedly in her cone of shame, with always the proximate risk of someone shouting an insult.” Here it appears to be metaphorical.

    But most relevant to your question, I did find one pre-Up use of the term in the modern sense! Gary Soto’s poem “Nelson, My Dog”, published in A Simple Plan (2007) has this line: “And sometimes wears the cone of shame from the vet’s office.”

    I would guess that the usage may have originated first among veterinarians, rather than supposing that Soto coined it, but who knows? Another question is whether the writers of Up were aware of Soto’s poem.

  7. Was “The cone of silence” originally from “Get Smart”? Or from Bond films and other not-entirely-parodic spy and secret agent media?

  8. Many decades ago I heard Paula Poundstone talk about her cat coming home with a collar. I don’t remember if she called it the Cone of Shame or not, but she did say that the other cats made fun of the cat with the collar. “I distinctly heard the word ‘trumpethead’.”

  9. I remember that Paula Poundstone routine for the scene where her cats are aghast that she is about to step into a shower, and try to save her.

  10. [ Quote: The Fortunes of Francis Talbot and His Friends During the Reign of His Majesty George the First by Virgil Markham (1926): “So there he remained under the towering cone of shame with the great black D written on it , a symbol almost as grave as though it stood for ‘damned.’”]

    Sounds like a good ol’ dunce cap to me.

  11. I’m missing the reference in Mike P’s comment, but as long as I’m pulled back to this thread, I was wondering if I was being either too obscure or too obvious when writing “A small but very nice touch is where the words you and happy are used.” The Y says “a consonant like you and dad” but also “happy sometimes being a vowel”. If you buy the bit that Y is only sometimes a vowel, the beginning of the word you would be an example of where those people think it is not a vowel, and the end of happy where they can’t deny it is a vowel.

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