1. The second one would have been better if the painting on the wall was a nude.

    (Starting from scratch, I’d also put a crowd in front of it.)

  2. If the painting was a nude, then there might be confusion as to whether the audio guide was critical of the subject matter or, as I suspect it is supposed to be, the technique.

    A similar joke was done by Dom Joly in his UK hidden-camera public pranks series Trigger Happy TV 15-20 years ago. Unfortunately I have been unable to find it on youTube, but for this sketch he is in fine art gallery contemplating a famous old painting with thoughtful expression and hands clasped behind his back, listening in all seriousness to a super-loud audio guide which is blaring out to everyone else in the gallery lines to the effect that “This work was not painted by Thomas Gainsborough himself in oils; it was actually executed in excrement by a manservant as Gainsborough stood outside and shouted instructions through the open window”.

    A running gag was Joly answering a massively outsized mobile phone in various often quiet public spaces at the top of his voice. Some examples of his stuff here.

  3. Re Batman and the “latter” years? I don’t think he knows what this word means. See what I did there?

  4. “electricity wasn’t invented.”

    I’m pretty sure it has been.

    (In fact, it was invented before 1877. Electrical properties had been discovered and harnessed to several different inventions, some of them going back to ancient times. The word electricity is based on Greek roots, because, like geometry and democracy, they got there first.)

  5. I think “latter” is OK… “2. adjective [ADJECTIVE noun] – You use latter to describe the later part of a period of time or event. ‘He is getting into the latter years of his career”‘ [Collins] – that example fits Batman and his “latter” years.

    I think Mark M means to suggest that electricity (much like gravity, water, birds and atoms) was not invented at all.

  6. “I think Mark M means to suggest that electricity (much like gravity, water, birds and atoms) was not invented at all.”

    Leaving aside the theology in that claim, I don’t buy it. Electrical effects were discovered, which were then harnessed by inventions (including scientific experimental apparatus). This leads me to argue that talking about either discovery or invention would be accurate. The Leyden jar was invented. The Galvanic Response was discovered. Both are covered under the general heading “electricity”.

  7. Electrical power distribution by the Edison Illuminating Company began in 1882. So while electricity was reasonably well understood and has uses in 1877, the infrastructure necessary for widespread use of television was not yet available.

  8. I still don’t see what he did — how is paraphrasing Princess Bride (if indeed that’s what he’s doing) relevant to the Batman comic (other than he thinks it’s misusing the word “latter”)? The line “see what I did there?” was used a lot in Billy Crystal’s Mr. Saturday Night, and Billy Crystal was in The Princess Bride, but I still don’t see the relevance (or what he did there)…

    (Sorry terrencefeenstra for over-analysing this (Analyse This! another Billy Crystal movie…), but I really do want to see what I am missing…)

  9. larK – In “The Princess Bride” Vizinni repeatedly says “Inconceivable” each time something in his plan goes awry. In return, Inigo Montoya finally says, “I don’t think you know what this word means.” I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the general drift. Nothing to do with Billy Crystal’s role.

  10. Merriam-Webster offers this definition:

    Definition of latter
    1 a : belonging to a subsequent time or period : more recent
    the latter stages of growth

    b : of or relating to the end
    in their latter days


    So, it would appear, that unlike Vizini’s usage of “inconceivable!” in the Princess Bride, the cartoonist’s usage of “latter” in the Batman comic DOES mean what he thought it means.

  11. Also, Batman first appeared in 1939, so he’s been Batman for at least 79 years, and Bruce didn’t become Batman until reaching adulthood, so he has got to be pushing the century mark, if not looking at it in the rearview.

  12. “How did Aunt Harriet enter the discussion?”

    There are two figures in the cartoon. That isn’t Robin. (OK, some of the Robinses are girls, but most of them are not, and one of them is dead/a supercriminal, depending on your opinion of the retcon.)

  13. Well, Alfred might have gone in for gender reassignment surgery.

    Or maybe in this alt-universe, Bats really *did* marry Catwoman, and she did not age well (cat treat addiction, maybe? — still, they’re so cute when they’re kittens).

    I also like to think that Aunt Harriet had her own part-time secret identity, in which she lived with Bruce’s Uncle Ozzie.

  14. “Alfred might have gone in for gender reassignment surgery.”

    Alfred is a trained butler. He’d have made sure his master was properly dressed BEFORE reaching the door.

    Catwoman was always trying to get Bats to STOP being Batman, not helping him.

    There are a few other candidates… Vicki Vale, Veronica Vreeland, Talia al-Ghul. The doctor that was a friend of Thomas’ and helps put Batman back together after the more serious injuries, but whose name escapes me at the moment.

    Aunt Harriet was the only one who actually lived in the same house as Bruce, AFAIK (I know the comics continuity had impending nuptials for Bruce and Selina, but I stopped reading the comics a couple of decades ago.)

  15. This one reminds me of my favorite ep. of the ’90s Batman animated cartoon. The Joker had Batman captive and was in the process of making him laugh himself to death at a reading of the phone book under the influence of “smilex” gas. At the peak moment, in burst Catwoman to save the day. And how did he thank her for saving his life? The big jerk tried to unmask her. Lowered my opinion of him as a hero but still loved the variation away from the usual expectation.

  16. “how did he thank her for saving his life?”

    He saved her life more than once during the course of the series.
    (The Cat and the Claw 1 and 2. Cat Scratch Fever, Tyger Tyger, Almost Got ‘Im)
    Additionally, in “Catwalk”, Batman has to save Selina from herself. Plus, of course, all the times Batman saved EVERYBODY.

    He also knew who she was.

  17. I’m convinced that the main joke of the Batman one is that in growing old, he traded in his trademark utility belt for utility suspenders.

  18. “I’m convinced that the main joke of the Batman one is that in growing old, he traded in his trademark utility belt for utility suspenders.”

    Well, sure, but that’s obvious, and this site lives and dies on “finding some improbable side issue to bat around.”

  19. Well, many men do reach the suspenders age. We have one fellow in our reenactment unit who is rather, umm, rotund. His breeches fell off once -at an event in front of the public (we were not member then and I can only hope that his modern undergarments under his breeches). He then started wearing what would have been called braces (suspenders) but were not used in “our” period and would wear them under his hunting frock (that fringed shirt that “mountain men” wear in movies) so that they would not be seen.

  20. “I just assumed Batman’s wife…”

    Batman is actually millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne. What wife?

    There are hints that the CW is planning to add to its superhero-show stable, with a Batwoman show.

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