Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Gosh...This Looks Familiar

Dennis the Menace debuted on March 12, 1951.* Ever since that fateful day, we have been forced to endure the endless bland "adventures" of this small blond child and his idiot friends. Josh Fruhlinger, the evil genius in charge of The Comics Curmudgeon, has often observed that Dennis is not the least bit menacing. Perhaps his most menacing moment ever came a few weeks ago, when the kid cheerfully urinated in a public swimming pool. Otherwise, Dennis tends to wander around eatin' hot dogs and bangin' on his drum. Someday, I shall find and drown him.

This particular strip gets the medieval treatment because it is, in subject and theme, rather too similar to the Family Circus comic I attacked a few days ago. What's with these one-panel thingies and their smug attitudes towards mothers and grandmothers (not) playing football? The ladies don't chuck around the ol' pigskin, but they're still okay! Har! Har! Har!

Get medieval, Dennis:

*Random Trivia of the Day: Three days later, another strip named Dennis the Menace debuted in Britain. It is still running. It has absolutely nothing to do with the American Dennis the Menace. Some fun character names: Gnasher, Rasher, Dasher, Nipper, Curly, Pie Face, Walter the Softy, Spotty Perkins, Bertie Blenkinsop, Sgt. Slipper, and Foo Foo. I am deriving all this information from Wikipedia. Kids, don't try this at home.


ilha do desenho said...

... denis é muito mais show em hq ou desenho animado, o filme nao ficou muito legal nao! parabens pelos posts e blog! Sucesso!!!

Angry Kem said...

Hello, ilha do desenho. I cannot read Portuguese, alas. I am sure your comment is interesting, though. It has a little cartoon person next to it. Hurrah!

Skullturf Q. Beavispants said...

So Middle English had what is sometimes called "negative concord"?

"Knows not nothing"

Angry Kem said...

Skullturf: Middle English did indeed have negative concord (in other words, double negatives didn't function in Middle English the way they do in modern English; a ME double or triple negative would simply add emphasis to an idea). Geoffrey Chaucer frequently used double negatives; at one point (his description of the Knight in the General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales), he went all the way up to a quadruple negative.

As Dennis uses a double negative in the original version of the comic, I decided to preserve it--more or less--in the translation, even though it has different connotations in the latter (in the original, Dennis is meant to sound charmingly ignorant; in the ME variant, he's emphasising his mother's ignorance).

And that is enough overanalysis for today.

jfruh said...

I'm no linguist, but I would argue that casual spoken English still has negative concord. "Even if she don't know nothing" may not fit high-class speech rules, but it definitely sounds like something a native speaker of English might actually say, whereas "if she don't know anything" sounds weirdly edited.

Angry Kem said...

Jfruh (...is that you, Josh?): That's true. Different dialects of English have different rules, as do the formal and informal variants of the language. And you're right about Dennis's ridiculous sentence, too. When I called it a double negative, I wasn't actually looking at it; I was (incorrectly) thinking Dennis had said, "she don't know nothing." "She don't know anything" is just silly because it edits out the double negative but leaves in the unusual verb conjugation ("don't" instead of "doesn't").

Make up your mind, Dennis, dear. If you're going to use slang, go ahead and use slang; don't wuss out halfway through.

I just had another thought: why the bleeding heck is Joey tossing that football straight up into the sky? Or has someone very, very tall flung it violently down towards him? Dennis doesn't really seem to be involved at all.