19 Comments

  1. My question, when I submitted this, was, “Why is ‘topless’ considered to be more obscene/objectionable than ‘bottomless’?”

    I thought afterwards that perhaps this should’ve been an ARLO.

    I do have the ‘splain, tho – I lived In Kenosha, WI when the BIG DEAL about topless dancers was going on, back in the early 70s I believe, soooooo, that’s what my mind went right back to when I saw ‘topless’ vs ‘bottomless’. YMMV

  2. @ Andréa – The difference between the two pits is that the word “bottomless” has an alternative “non-Arlo” meaning, whereas “topless” is used almost exclusively in the obvious “PG-13” meaning intended by this strip.
    P.S. For example, there’s a German expression that means “bottomless barrel“, but I’ve never heard of the converse “barrel without a lid“.

  3. While I do agree with the PG-13 interpretation, I have to wonder if Lìo’s dad is shielding him from the bizarre idea of an inverted pit without an end.

    Most parents shield their kids from risque material. For most of them, the risque material is nudity and violence; for Lìo’s dad, it’s curiosities that subvert the laws of physics.

    I mean, this kid befriends monsters and builds collosal robots; do we really need yet another passion for Lìo to pursue?

  4. I have never heard ‘bottomless’ in a nekkie context, save, occasionally, paired with ‘topless’ as a more roundabout way of saying ‘fully nude’. (Let’s see if this goes to moderation…)

  5. If you have a linear conception of time (and who doesn’t), do you have any problem imagining the world or universe continuing from present-time with no end; going on forever? Some people do, but I think the majority do not. (Indeed, many not only can see it stretching forward forever, but on the contrary have trouble with picturing an end point)

    But now, how about the other kind of contrary? can you picture the universe, as it is now, but with no end to the past direction? That is, with our usual directionality on the timeline, a world with no beginning?

    There probably shouldn’t be an asymmetry, but there does seem to be, in our perceptions. Or metaphors.

  6. Mitch4, that headline always frustrates me: When we heard the story on the car radio, I immediately said to my wife “Tomorrow, the front page of either the News or the Post will be HEADLESS BODY IN TOPLESS BAR.” And sure enough I was right, and the guy who wrote the headline became famous for it.

  7. “If you have a linear conception of time (and who doesn’t)…”

    I don’t, although I will have had one three months ago.

  8. @Mitch4: My favorite example of an asymmetry where there “should” be a case of equal opposites (but isn’t) is that one can (usually) define the “best possible spelling of a word” but not the “worst possible spelling.”

    (I think I may have tossed this brain itcher out here before, along with the suggestion that arguably the “worst possible spelling of the word ‘no’ ” is “yes.”)

  9. Franz Schubert wrote an unfinished symphony. He wrote the first two movements but he died too young to write the last two movements.

    Peter Schickele wrote an unbegun symphony. He was born too late to write the first two movements but he did write the last two movements.

  10. “I don’t, although I will have had one three months ago.”

    You are Billy Pilgrim and I claim my five Tralfamadorian 4Dollars.

  11. @Shrug – a friend of mine, in high school, once made the important discovery that “knocked up” is not the opposite of “knocked down”. (I’m not sure whether or not he knew this before the incident that lead to him sharing this with everyone, either him not knowing, or playing with words and not cluing in on what he was saying are plausible to me.)

  12. @Christine — So, learning of his error probably left him disgruntled, even though he had expected to be gruntled?

  13. There’s a significant difference between the slang use of the term “knock up” between the US and the UK.

  14. (not sure this was the right thread..)

    Speaking of spelling interjections and not always knowing what is intended, I noticed in some closed captioning a character says “Erm” as a filler or hesitation step — but the soundtrack had the more usual “um”.

  15. Well, “sit up” is not exactly the opposite of “sit down” either. Likewise “throw up”, “throw down”.

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