14 Comments

  1. It took me a short while before I saw through the pun. It would have worked better to associate “Dole” with pineapples, rather than bananas.

  2. It didn’t take me any time at all, but we lived in England for a while, where they use “dole” all the time and every time I thought of tropical fruit salad.

  3. That explains the pun aspect. The joke, if we can make that distinction, is more that the “union” whose state is being reported is just their little family unit. And then, that the “one third of the population” called illiterate and on welfare (“the dole”) is the baby!

  4. It would have worked better to associate “Dole” with pineapples, rather than bananas.

    But a baby of three months is far more likely to be consuming banana (in some form) than pineapple (in some form).

  5. The joke might have worked better if, like many comics, this strip were written in all caps, so that it would say “… LIVIN’ OFF THE DOLE.” That would have preserved the “dole/Dole” ambiguity. The lower-case version has the man saying specifically that the baby is on welfare rather than leaving it ambiguous as to whether he means that the baby is on welfare vs. living off the fruits sold by Dole PLC.

  6. This post should have tags for The Knight Life and for Keith Knight.

    Thanks, Joshua.
    The comic was at first scheduled in tomorrow’s OYs, but on second thought moved to a standalone. I remembered to tag the creator in the first instance, but forgot after moving the image.

  7. Joshua suggests: The lower-case version has the man saying specifically that the baby is on welfare rather than leaving it ambiguous as to whether he means that the baby is on welfare vs. living off the fruits sold by Dole PLC.

    Interesting point. However, I’m convinced the dad means only the welfare sense, fitting his “state of the union address” context. Which is then fine for lower case. It’s the mom who comes up with the fruit company sense; whether she really heard it that way, or is introducing it on her own as a fun response.

    (However, she is not a native speaker of English, but comes originally from central Europe, I think Germany specifically. So it’s harder to say what are her likely understandings of any particular English term or name.)

  8. I remember a David Frye skit of Richard Nixon meeting with members of the Gay Liberation Front: “I thought I was seeing representatives from United Fruit.” Yeah, we were stupider back then.

  9. I heartily agree with Kilby, particularly since I just recently had my first visit to O’ahu and the Dole Plantation there, where pineapple is everything.

    Daniel J. Drazen: way back when, a person we now call “gay” would sometimes be called (pejoratively) a “fruit,” among other things.

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