An acknowledgement of using the same joke, about four years later, when the similarity was pointed out. From “Monster Picnic” in June 2021 (hat tip to Why Evolution Is True blog in 2022 where I saw it):

And by David Borchard in The New Yorker in 2016:

Monster Picnic acknowledged Borchart’s priority in this Twitter thread (see replies too):


  1. Even if the similarity was a true coincidence, rather than intentional or even unintentional plagiarism, rebranding it as a “tribute” seems facetious. Either way, I would have preferred to see an apology, rather than a disingenuous attempt to “support” the author.

  2. I didn’t try to thoroughly explore the history, but perused a little of the Monster Picnic Twitter. They seem to mostly use it to print cartoon panels, which for various reasons look more like one artist’s work than a kind of curated or editorial collection from multiple sources. But,as I said, not definitive.

    We don’t see here whatever communication it was that they mention as “it has been pointed out to us…” but this seems a reasonably quick response, and pretty good-humored. It doesn’t include an apology or offer explanation, leaving us with the implicit suggestion it was inadvertent; but the bit about now considering it a tribute does acknowledge the similarity, and the priority of the New Yorker cartoon.

    That seems to me good enoughh, but I do understand the dissatisfaction expressed by Kilby here, and rather sharply by Twitter user Martinez if you click on “Read 2 replies”.

  3. My read of “facetious” aligns with Kilby’s seeming meaning of more “false” than “humorous”, so was surprised to read on the Merriam Webster site not so much that it really does originate from humorous, but that they insist that that too is its only meaning, and only deeply in do they even somewhat concede the more “insincere” part of the connotation of the word that seems so essential to me. (“facetious stresses a desire to produce laughter and may be derogatory in implying dubious or ill-timed attempts at wit or humor” in the Choose the Right Synonym section.) Nevertheless, in the “Recent Examples on the Web” section, they quote from the National Review using it in what seems to me exactly the meaning I have for the word, meaning false or insincere, and not funny or humorous (“Spielberg’s own career then seemed upended by misguided egotism, not necessarily his own, but that of a faction hiding behind a facetious pretense of moral values and public trust.”)

    Living language is fascinating…

  4. To add to comment on my fascination with language:

    I realize that my understanding of facetious may well have been colored by its homophony with specious, possibly colored by a dash of fatuous.

    What’s more fascinating is that I don’t seem to be the only one.

  5. Here’s a facetious question : can you name an English word which is spelled with the five vowels a e i o u in that order and no other vowels?

  6. There is only one English word in which “su” is pronounced as if it were spelled “shu” and that’s the word “sugar.” I am absolutely sure about this.

  7. @ larK – Under normal circumstances I abhor British spelling (most especially the “-re” endings in units that should always be spelled as “meter” and “liter”), but in the special case that appears above I decided to include the fifth vowel, even if the word doesn’t have them in the correct order.

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