1. I haven’t read Vanity Fair much – the novel not at all, actually, and the magazine just a little. But I have never found out what “fair” is doing there. Is it like carnival, celebration, traveling circus? Or is it like “my lady fair”, an adjective in a stylized position?

  2. It’s “like carnival” in the novel. The brief prolog, “Before the Curtain,” has Thackeray musing on how his forthcoming story reminds him of a stage production — “the curtain will be up presently” etc.

    And a few hundred pages later, the final lines of the novel are:
    “Ah! Vanitas Vanitatum! which of us is happy in this world? Which of us has his desire? or, having it, is satisfied?—come, children, let us shut up the box and the puppets, for our play is played out.”

  3. Shocked I am that Shrug didn’t go straight to Pilgrim’s Progress
    “Emerging from the wilderness, Christian and Faithful see before them a town they must enter because the Holy Way passes through it. It is an ancient town named Vanity Fair, where, all year round, such merchandise is bought and sold “as houses, lands, trades, places, honors, preferments, titles, countries, kingdoms, lusts, pleasures, and delights of all sorts, as whores, bawds, wives, husbands, children, masters, servants, lives, blood, bodies, souls, silver, gold, pearls, precious stones, and what not.” At all times, one can see “jugglings, cheats, games, plays, fools, apes, knaves, rogues, and that of all sorts,” as well as, “and that for nothing, thefts, murders, adulteries, false-swearers, and that of a blood-red color.””

  4. How great is it that we have such knowledgeable and resourceful commenters!

    ETA: And who knew that classic English literature held such appeal for the State Marine Mammal of Florida?

  5. The “too many laps” remark is just slightly off. I get it, it has to be that way to meet the second meaning (exercise or running laps), but in terms of kids with Santa it may have been many kids but just one lap, his.

  6. …Also many mall santas are behind a giant sheet of plexiglass this year so you can get a socially distanced picture.

  7. I’m with chipchristian. I never saw the movie that it reminded me of but reading the description was enough to make me ill.

  8. Seriously, you guys have a State Marine Mammal? And it’s these Sea Cows, not the Dolphins?

  9. “I feel a giraffe” reminds me of the Thurber cartoon “All right, have it your way. You heard a seal bark!”

  10. I agree with deety, but even so, the joke is much better than average for “Crankshaft”.
    P.S. Back in the early years of “Mutts”, there was a strip that I really liked, which showed Mooch (the cat) dashing around to sit with Millie and then with Frank. When Earl (the dog) asked Mooch “how he stayed in shape”, Mooch replied “I do a couple laps around the house”. Unfortunately, McDonnell’s online archive only goes back to 2017, so I wasn’t able to find a linkable image.

  11. @ Mitch4 – I’m sure that “draft” was the intended pun.
    P.S. Germans really hate drafts. I’ve never seen a private home that used forced-air heating, they all use radiators, with a very small percentage having heated floors.

  12. I’m with chipchristian. I never saw the movie that it reminded me of but reading the description was enough to make me ill.

    That movie made it’s appearance here once.

    I had never heard of it before but apparently it has a cult following and at least two sequels.

    Anyway, knowing of the movies existence utterly destroys any amusement I might have had.

    Hmmm, I wonder if went back and reread “The Tin Woodman of Oz” if I’d now be creeped out by Tommy Kwikstep.

  13. Is Santapede really a reference to that movie? It could be, but it also seems to me that the cartoonist could have just decided it was fun to jam together the words “Santa” and “centipede” without being aware of any particular movie.

  14. Are you talking about the movie with “Human” in the title? I’m with WW, it is unlikely to have involved that movie, it’s just Santa and “centipede” melded.

    Boise Ed, are you familiar with Indonesian yourself? I was happy to see your note verified in Google Translate ‘detect’ feature!

  15. Ah, sorry about letting discretion interfere with clarity.

    I think the intended reference had been to “The Human Centipede”.

  16. Oh I agree that the artist was not making a reference to “The Human Centipede”. But it’s the first thing I thought of, so still disturbing.

  17. “Is Santapede really a reference to that movie?”

    Almost certainly not! I don’t think anyone thinks it does. I think we are just saying, well, I‘m just saying, it makes us think of that movie and disturbs us, well, me. I’d be very surprised if the cartoonist is aware of the movie. If he was he’d have either made an effort to make it look not so intentionally creepy or an effort to make it look more intentionally creepy.

  18. Santa Clause lives in Lapland, so I see a much more unsavory interpretation of “doing too many Laps” — I’m writing my newspaper editor right away to get this disgusting strip removed from my paper!

  19. I made that “Manatee Fair” joke years ago, when my brother-in-law moved to Manatee County, FL! I shoulda trademarked it then 🙂

  20. SF writer Avram Davidson created some wonderful fantasy stories set in the barely fictional colony of British Hidalgo. One of them was “Manatee Gal Ain’t You Coming Out Tonight”.

  21. Not at all, Dana. I just happened upon that little tidbit.

    Woozy: What movie? Or do I really want to know?

  22. ::Woozy: What movie? Or do I really want to know

    The movie that must not be named and no you don’t.

    Okay, sometime back, there was a “Cyanide and Happiness” strip that appeared here as a CIDU featuring a huge centipede getting out of bed, going to work at an office, drinking coffee and doing the mundane tasks of day to day life. The strip pans out that this is a DVD a person is watching. The label of the DVD is “The Human Centipede” and the guy watching it is mildly disgusted and dissatisfied.

    So…. turns out that the joke is there’s a movie (and two sequels) called “The Human Centipede” that has become a cult following due to its gross and disturbing “Oh, Dude. Did you see that….” visceral effect. It’s about a mad scientist who sews three people together– mouth to anus– to make a human centipede. And…. it has a cult following for those who like that sort of stuff….. which is not me… or really anybody for that matter.

  23. I found ‘Santapede’ rather jolly, even though I knew of (but never saw) ‘The Human Centipede’.

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