Whatting their whats?

(If you think the Carolyn Hax column where this appeared might explain it, you can try this freebie link and read it for yourself. But I thought the connection was barely discernible.)

Afterthought. — This had already been in the queue for about a week, with the title “Whatting their whats?” as still shown, when I happened on this Frog Applause and wanted to postscript it for the wording.


  1. The cartoon seems clear enough to me: it’s not actually meant to be funny, it’s just saying that people are slamming from one extreme (“Person X is evil”) to the opposite, once they get informed (or “informed”, in some cases) of the facts (or “facts”).

    And the linked article is an example: you read the letter and think “Wow, that was harsh(ish)” and then Carolyn destroys that position, carefully and logically. She’s great, even the times when I don’t agree with her.

  2. Thanks, Phil Smith, that’s helpful. But I still feel a disconnect between the cartoon and the column. We see a TV news or public-affairs discussion program, maybe “Inquiry” (is SCN a real network / station / feed?), probably about the Covid pandemic to support the caption about a secondary pandemic of people yapping. But the column is about a personal issue, familial relations; which would not make it to broadcast news short of having the conflict erupt into violence.

  3. I thought the effect that the artist was shooting for in the caption was “people sinking into gibberish“, but it didn’t help that the first
    “nonsense” word is a brand name for rubber overshoes(†), and the second is a fairly common exclamation.

    P.S. (†) – It’s even worse for readers familar with German, because the word “totes” is an adjective meaning “dead”.

    P.P.S. I’d like to know whether the artist personally applied the fingerprints in that “Frog Applause”, or used stock image(s). At least one finger appears (at least) twice.

  4. Well, “totes” is youth slang for “totally”. (Maybe not recently.) Kilby, you mention overshoes – this may be another product from the same line I’m familiar with over here, a brand of collapsible umbrella.

  5. Yes, “totes” made perfect sense to me, hip dude that I am (joke, but I had heard it). And “sheesh” as an expression IS how it was meant–translated, the caption means “people completely changing the reason they’re saying ‘sheesh'”.

  6. … So I basically read it as “totally losing their sh*t” or more politely “totally losing their cool”.

  7. Totes makes packable (i.e., tote-able) rain gear, including both collapsible umbrellas and roll-up overshoes that you can stick in a purse or briefcase.

  8. Thanks to PS3 for the totally understandable translation.

    P.S. As for annoying flips: Germany has an excellent evening news show for children, but my daughter quit watching it after several months of hearing nothing but “Covid 19”. Just when things started to get a little better (resulting in an occasional evening with no “coronal” news), the war in Ukraine started, so we are right back to having the same depressing subject night after night. Sheesh.

    P.P.S. I can only hope that recent events in Texas do not dominate every evening here as much as they have over there.

  9. I haven’t been able to read Carolyn Hax since she declared that being angry is a form of abuse.

    I actually emailed her, and yes, she considers being angry at someone in and of itself abusive.

  10. Nick & Zuzu is just fine as a stand-alone feature. I have never been able to read any of the syndicated advice columnists, except as extremely isolated doses of surrealistic satire(†). The only reason that any of those columns still exist is that the fees for a competent professional psychiatrist are far beyond the means of all but a minor fraction of the population.

    P.S. (†) – Some of the letters in the old Abby/Landers columns were so patently inane that they seemed to have been invented by a twisted comedian.

    P.P.S. The only item I’ve ever retained from any of those columns dealt with whether parents should argue in the presence of their children, or wait until later. I think it was Miss Manners who wrote that they should hold the arguments in front of the children, but in a foreign language (as an inspiration for learning).

  11. roll-up overshoes that you can stick in a purse or briefcase.

    Where do you put them after you’ve used them and they are wet/muddy/otherwise befouled?

    Reminds me of what I read once about some new supercar, which had a space-saving spare wheel. Great, but there was no room to put the full size one if you’d had to change it. In fact there was nowhere at all to put it except on the passenger seat, or the lap of your (very unimpressed) passenger. So the maker also supplied a large sturdy plastic bag to put the dirty wheel into.

  12. @ MikeP – A small plastic sandwich bag works fine (for the overshoes or for those mini umbrellas).

  13. Powers totes explained it.

    It seems relevant to the column, where the letter writer was flipping their shit over something that was already resolved.

  14. Carolyn’s columns in our paper does not have any comics.

    Kilby- so many parents wrote in Abby and Ann about children moving home after college and not paying anything to live at home that when I graduated college (and continued to live at home straight through) and got my permanent job I offered to pay my parents for living at home. I was told that I would never have to pay for that – it was “my” home – but if could pay for my graduate school that would be appreciated as my sister was going to start college also in 2 years.

    Also Kilby – early in the pandemic when disposable plastic gloves cost a fortune if one could find them I figured out that plastic sandwich bags were inexpensive and easy to find and did the job of covering my hands fine. Robert has used them also when we wanted to save the plastic gloves we had (from his craft workshops) for when we absolutely needed them. The bags were/are great for opening doors in public places and other times we don’t want to touch something. Though we have a plethora of assorted types of disposable plastic gloves these days.

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