1. What else are they going to do with the bottles? They have to get rid of them all somehow.

  2. It’s a funny setup, “How did they do ship christening during prohibition”, with an inability to follow through “Ha, that’s funny it’d be like….. uh, I don’t know… it’d be apple juice or empty bottles or something… yeah, empty bottles”

    –“How would you draw that; an empty bottle by itself won’t be clear” “Well, if we’ll draw a bunch of empty bottles that’d give the impression they are cheap and lightweight”—“Um, but where’s the joke?” “Well, there isn’t any but we have to do something; the concept of a ship christening during prohibition is such an intriguing idea.”

  3. Oh! *NOW* I get it!

    During prohibition booze wasn’t available. So if you take the champagne *away* you are left with …. just the bottle!

    …. um, it’s not very funny…..

  4. The problem with the cartoon is that bottles are not used only for alcoholic beverages. So even with cartoon-logic, there is no reason for the bottle(s) to be empty. As we all know, bottles can hold many things, including water, unfermented grape juice, and soft apple cider. As it happens, all of these were in fact used to christen ships during Prohibition.

  5. My take is the guys doing the christening are supposed to be plainclothes policemen (like Elliot Ness) and this is how they got rid of confiscated champagne — by using way more than needed to christen boats.

  6. It’s not prohibition… they are temperance activists. At a normal ship christening, you smash a single, symbolic bottle and then drink from your other bottles. If your goal is to keep people sober, though, you smash *all* the bottles. The joke doesn’t stand up to very much analysis. (Why bother with a ship? I guess it’s a socially approved venue for smashing bottles?)

  7. OK, maybe I should have scrolled down to the caption before commenting! So it is Prohibition. I guess the main point sort of stands, but even weaker…

  8. ” So even with cartoon-logic, there is no reason for the bottle(s) to be empty. ”

    but that *is* cartoon logic. Prohibition is the like normal times with the alcoholic beverages removed. If you remove *just* the alcoholic beverages and keep *everything* else, you have a lot of lot of bottles that would have contained alcoholic beverages that now in the prohibition world are simply empty.

    ” As it happens, all of these were in fact used to christen ships during Prohibition.”

    But that’s real life logic. Not cartoon logic.

  9. woozy, I will grant that my knowledge of what actually happened during Prohibition would not necessarily spoil the cartoon, but I’m not making the leap to “It’s Prohibition! There must have been vast quantities of empty bottles!” In other words, that may have been cartoon-logic in the cartoonist’s head, but it’s not showing up as such on the page.

  10. It’s not that there most have been vast amounts of empty bottles.

    It’s that every situation that exist today, existed then but without booze. So to christian a ship you break a bottle of booze on its bow. So in prohibition you break a bottle devoid of booze across the bow.

  11. I figured they were using multiple bottles of alcohol as they needed to get rid of them anyway and it was a good way to do so.

  12. Oh…. I see Meryl A’s and ShaZ’s take now!

    It’s the Untouchable’s movie and television trope where the stony faced g-men pour the bottles of a alcohol down a drain, or smash a whiskey barrel with their axes, while the camera tilts off center and the music crescendos and the partiers at the speakeasy look horrified, while the two stony faced g-men just pour bottle after bottle down the drain, one pouring and his associate handing him bottle after bottle after bottle.

    So these are the same stony faced g-men taking bottle after bottle and bashing them over a boats bow.


    Or may other interpretation. It’d help if the cartoonist could draw liquid so it wouldn’t look as though that bottles were empty.

  13. I’d’ve thought the empty bottles would have been completely shattered when smashed against the ship…

  14. Isn’t Meryl A’s and ShaZ’s take the same as what ianosmond said at the start?

    It makes more sense to me as a cartoon about getting rid of booze, than a cartoon about how during Prohibition they had to use empty bottles. Aside from Usual John’s objection, the cartoon shows them smashing multiple bottles. Absent Prohibition, we don’t normally smash multiple bottles of wine, so the comic-logic needs to be “Because of Prohibition, they smashed multiple bottles,” not “Because of Prohibition, they smashed empty bottles (and by the way, for some unrelated reason, multiple ones).”

  15. I didn’t see it originally, but I agree with the “Feds using up stock” explanation. Liquid remains would have helped along those lines by eliminating the “using empty bottles” idea.

  16. It makes no sense to haul a whole case of bottles — full or empty — out onto the pier for one ship.

    BTW, how did that bottle-on-ship event come to be known as christening? Does anyone expect the ship to go to church and pray?

  17. “Christening” refers to baptism. Part of the ceremony is officially naming the child, at least for those denominations that practice infant baptism. So that concept is transferred to ships, where the new ship is officially named and baptized with champagne.

  18. “oes anyone expect the ship to go to church and pray?”

    Well, New Zealand-based ships might go to Christchurch.

  19. @ Boise Ed – i don’t know about the others, but for Jewish ships, they probably slice off the tip of the propeller.

  20. They were using empty bottles because booze was illegal.

    We talked about that early on, but it doesn’t address why they’ve shattered two bottles, have one in hand, and more coming out. It seems likely they intend to smash the entire box. That’s not normal. Also, it doesn’t really look like a typical ship christening, which is usually a celebration with a varied group. Here you have two grim fellows. I think the “using up captured stock” makes more sense.

  21. @ Meryl A – We could assume it was a Russian ship, for which the pronoun is supposedly male. (This is according to Tom Clancy’s “The Hunt for Red October“. Most of his technical details were pretty well-researched, so I’m willing to trust him on a linguistic curiosity.)

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