32 Comments

  1. But it’s not replacing people with pigs. It’s replacing a mirror with pigs. Bob’s doing a rehearsal.

    And actually, Garfield Without Garfield replaces Garfield with the man in the mirror.

  2. Garfield Minus Garfield. And it is brilliant. So much better. Not nearly as many marketing opportunities, though, so you can see why Davis went with the cat.

  3. “Oinking” is similar to “looking”?

    Except it isn’t.

    Sometimes it a “that’s all folks” but other times it’s a “I guess that’s all folks, but yeah, your right it’s nowhere near enough”.

    However that is one creepy and ugly and disturbing drawing.

  4. Hey, I’ve got it! The pig speaking is asserting his dominance because he is the alpha pig. It will soon be Chinese New Year and it will be the Year of the Pig.

    If you would like to know what your Chinese Zodiac animal is, check out this link : https://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/chinese-zodiac/

    The pig is drawn with narrow, slanted eyes and buck teeth, common signifiers of Chineseness in cartoons. So, the pig is the Chinese New Year Pig of the Year and he is, just like Travis, indicating that he is not one to be trifled with. I can understand why nobody else got it. It requires a subtle understanding and appreciation of the cultures of the Orient. Frankly, it is more esoteric than what I expect to see in a comic strip.

  5. @ woozy – I think “oinking” is supposed to be a stand-in for “honking”. And as for “creepy and ugly“, that’s what McPherson does best.

  6. “Oinking” is not similar to “looking,” but there’s no reason that it should be. “Oinking” is similar to “talking,” as in the line from Taxi Driver. I’m not saying it’s a good joke, but if you replace De Niro with a pig, replacing “talking” with “oinking” is reasonable.

  7. Singapore Bill, I associate pigs with truffles, not trifles.

    CIDU Bill, I assume Travis is no relation?

  8. I hereby withdraw the first sentence of my comment in favor of WW’s suggestion (matching CIDU Bill’s caption). The second sentence of my comment still stands.

  9. Interesting that it will soon be the year of the Pig. Of course I’ll forget and keep writing “Dog” on checks I write.

  10. If you’d like to replace Garfield with a pig, you might give “U.S. Acres” a look.

    …or just read Garfield, as Garfield is already a pig according to his owner.

  11. Okay, I misremembered the line from Taxi Driver as “Looking at me” rather than “talking to me”. But my point still stands. “Oinking” is supposed to resemble “talking” …. which it doesn’t really (not any more that it resembles “looking”). And that is all there is to it, it’s replacing Robert DeNiro and his line from Taxi Driver with a pig and “oinking”…. And that isn’t anywhere near enough.

    I actually think this would be improved with a caption but I can’t really think of one… at least not one worthy of taking this off the reject pile.

    “I think “oinking” is supposed to be a stand-in for “honking”. If so he’s *really* shooting himself in the foot as the line was in the movie was *not* “honking” and to make up a line in reality that never actually happened just so you can make a pun (that’s extremely lame anyway) that doesn’t reflect reality is just pathetic… Or maybe that just one of my pet peeves; people who make up things that never occur in reality just to make their jokes.

    “And as for “creepy and ugly“, that’s what McPherson does best.” Yeah, but this is *especially* terrifying.

  12. “And that is all there is to it, it’s replacing Robert DeNiro and his line from Taxi Driver with a pig and “oinking”…. And that isn’t anywhere near enough.”

    So put this one in the stat books as a strikeout and move on. The very nature of daily cartoon strips is that they’re supposed to be ephemeral and insubstantial. Didn’t like today’s? Maybe tomorrow’s will be more to your liking. And if not… why are you reading them? Hey, look, we (your wonderful local newspaper) have lots more to choose from…

  13. ‘“Oinking” is supposed to resemble “talking” …. which it doesn’t really (not any more that it resembles “looking”).’

    I don’t follow your logic here. How is a pig oinking not similar to a human talking?

  14. “How is a pig oinking not similar to a human talking?”

    Normally, I’d agree with this. But the aggressive pig seems to be talking rather than oinking. So for me, it loses that similarity.

  15. “How is a pig oinking not similar to a human talking?”

    “Oink” does not sound like “talk” any more than it sounds like “look”.

  16. But it doesn’t have to sound alike, it just has to have the same function, because the joke isn’t a pun, it’s just a substitution of like elements.

    Both are communicative (at least in cartoonland) vocalizations…

  17. It didn’t occur to me that have the same function would be relevant or humorous in this comic.

    Pigs oink vs. people talk really doesn’t seem to matter, does it? I mean, if it was a cartoon of a bunch of horses in a school hallway and a teacher says “No galloping in the hallways” it’d never occur to me the joke is replacing “run” with “gallop” because that just is …. pointless. I’d assume there must be a pun or other connection.

    There has to be a reason that replacing people with pigs, or cows or crows is funny. And although we can after doing so they could say “You oinking/mooing/cawing at me” would be what they are saying but *why* are we replacing them with pigs, or cows or crows? I would have to assume it’s because there is something funny about the comparison with “talk” to “oink/moo/caw” and … what could that possibly be.

  18. “If replacing people with cats makes it funny, replacing people with pigs should make it even funnier. Because pigs are funnier than cats.”

    But cats have kittens. And human grandmothers hone in and move in uninvited on newborns. And the connector is cats and people both have babies.

    Now people have disturbing roles in paranoid classic movies. And pigs eat slops in a barnyard. And the connector is…. human and pigs both exist? “talk” and “oink” both end with “k”? Something?

  19. As I said before, I’m not saying this is a good joke. I’m just saying that if you think it’s a good basis for a joke to replace DeNiro in Taxi Driver with a pig, it’s sensible to replace “talking” with “oinking.” Pigs talk by oinking. If you disagree with the premise, and don’t think that’s a good basis (and personally, I don’t), then the humor is neither improved nor degraded by the use of the word “oinking.”

  20. A much better one was done in the Harvard Lampoon way back in the late 1970’s. I forget the cartoonist’s name. Caption: Taxi Dermist. A man says to a stuffed owl “You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me?”

  21. “There has to be a reason that replacing people with pigs, or cows or crows is funny.”

    It was funny to the guy(s) who drew it, and at least funny enough to the editor at the syndicate. They won’t all be timeless classics. Sometimes they’re “Cow Tools”.

  22. Fun Fact: Just after Taxi Driver came out, writer Paul Schraeder said in an interview that he chose “Bickle” for his character because it was a harsh, unfriendly-sounding name.

    I appreciated that about as much as you’d expect.

    It just happened that at the time I was writing a story for an anthology, and I had just enough time to change the antagonist’s name to Schraeder.

    Paul had no idea, of course — but I knew, and sometimes you have to take your satisfaction where you can find it.

  23. James, isn’t “Cow Tools” best known as “the Far Side comic nobody ever really understood, including Larson”?

  24. I don’t know why everyone seems to crap on ‘cow tools’. I thought it was hilarious when I first saw it, and looking at it again still raises a smile. Was it really that much of an epic fail, as the kids say? I’m I the only one who liked that comic?

  25. @ Stan – The problem with “Cow Tools” was that non-obvious humor was a common component in the “Far Side”. On those occasions when the joke wasn’t immediately apparent, I would hunt for the hidden detail, and when I found that (or had it pointed out to me), the puzzlement vanished, frequently revealing a profoundly funny comic. “Cow Tools” was different. It had no hidden details, everything was there to see, but many readers (myself included) figured that there must be something more than just the mildly funny “obvious” interpretation.

  26. On the other hand, “The Holsteins Visit the Grand Canyon” HAD a hidden detail: one of the calves has his hoof behind the other calf’s head making the bovine equivalent of “bunny ears” for the photograph. Just about everyone missed that detail but thought the cartoon was funny anyway.

  27. “there must be something more than just the mildly funny “obvious” interpretation”

    I viewed it a little differently than that. I felt there was nothing obvious about it. It made me think, ‘What are those tools? How would a cow use them?” and set me off thinking about it for a minute or two. And the serious look on the cows face made it seem like I was the one at fault for not recognising the obvious use of these tools, like there was a purpose, but I was too dumb to work it out. The joke was on me.

    I liked it. I don’t care what anyone says!

  28. “isn’t “Cow Tools” best known as “the Far Side comic nobody ever really understood, including Larson”?”

    “Cow Tools” is famous for generating the most hate mail, from people complaining that it wasn’t funny, or they didn’t get it. Considerable effort has gone into explaining why… none from Larson, who drew the next day’s, and the next day’s, and the next day’s comic because that was his job.

    Sometimes a comic is an instant classic. I like Breathed’s technical readouts for the Stealth Basselope,for example. Larson has a bunch of those, but I don’t think anyone considers “Cow Tools” to be among their number. A number of Far Side panels were redrawn as posters. I doubt “Cow Tools” was considered for this purpose, despite it’s fame.

    The lesson of “Cow Tools” is that digging too deep into a cartoon is a waste of time. (Digging “too deep” into anything is a waste of time, but “too deep” is a squishy delimiter.)

  29. Larson did explain why people had so much trouble with the comic. One of the tools looked somewhat like a saw. So people thought the joke must be in what those other, unidentifiable tools were. But they were all meant to be unrecognizable, and that was the joke.

    I can’t find my copy, but the explanation is in The Prehistory Of the Far Side.

  30. I used to eat at a cafeteria near one of my clients on 28th street just towards the east side of Manhattan. It was the cafeteria in “Taxi Driver”. It is gone now.

  31. Okay, that was missing something – I ate there before the movie was made (and the client shut down the business) not because of the movie. I recognized it when I saw the movie.

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