43 Comments

  1. Meh… I liked it. Although the wording of the last balloon contained a lot of awkwardnessality.

    It’s breaking the written format.

    She’s claiming he said “donut” when it should have been “doughnut” and he is pointing out it is quite physically impossible to orally mispronounce an incorrect spelling. She claims this rather surreal and physical impossible misuse drives her nuts and he points out that she is being quite singular in the things she chooses to recreationally complain about.

    Although I don’t see what her dad has to do with it.

    ….

    So for once I liked a Frazz.

  2. Now that Andréa has supplied the context: the “do(ugh)nut” strip is just a little “4th wall” joke, pointing out the incongruity of verbal setups that depend upon the spelling involved.

  3. The only way I can make this work is if he’s saying “do-nut” fairly quickly, and she’s saying “dough-nut” with much more emphasis on the “dough” part. Otherwise, they are said exactly the same way.

  4. P.S. Since everyone else is typing faster than me today, I guess I’ll have to point out that the only significant difference between a “doughnut” and a “donut” is that the latter is missing its “ugh”.

  5. So the punchline of the comic I posted makes no sense unless you remember the final panel of the previous day’s comic.

    Pardon my recreational complaining, but… Bleh.

  6. And “donut” is not incorrect, just a variant spelling. It is the case that Firefox’s spellchecker doesn’t like it, but that’s its problem. It’s not the boss of me.

  7. P.S. Some time ago we were discussing the fact that (virtually) all of the strips in “Frazz” are based on kid+adult conversations. This is a rare counter example with two kids speaking to each other.

  8. According to one of my dictionaries for “donut”: “Usage N. Amer (elsewhere doughnut)”

    Oddly, my browser’s spellcheck likes “donut” but doesn’t like “doughnut”.

  9. This reminds me of a Doonesbury comic strip in which Dan Quayle said that he was “testing the waughters.” Since Quayle was speaking, not writing, within the context of the strip, the joke must have been something like “Quayle misspells words even when he speaks.”

  10. It reminds me this weird comic strip convention where people are shown to be ignorant by speaking in phonetic misspelled words, even though it would sound the same. Like “Lissen here, I had enuff.”

  11. On Ignatzz’s point, my long-standing example of this was the “sez who?” and “sez you” spellings from long ago in, I guess, Moon Mullins and the like. The intent, I thought, could not be to show a mispronunciation, since that actually represents the correct pronunciation, indeed the only pronunciation anybody uses. So in a way it must be saying “This is how these characters would probably spell these words, if they needed to write them for some reason”.

    Then I met somebody who pronounced ‘says’ as /sejz/ , that is, with the so-called “long A” of the base word “say” and the -s inflection of course pronounced /z/. IOW, just as though ‘say’ were a regular verb. This person also pronounced the past form ‘said’ as though a regular English past inflection, thus /sejd/.

    This was in the late sixties, and he was already an older person, from I think Indiana, or perhaps Ohio. And made me think, what if his regular-conjugation pronunciations were in fact at one time the standard or prestige forms, and the cartoonists or writers who had working-class or ethnic characters saying “sez” really thought they were indicating a difference in pronunciation, and if they had upper or hoity-toity characters saying “says” that was meant to be heard with the so-called “long A” sound.

    How tricky can it get?

  12. When it comes to comical alternate spellings, I think the best example would be Kelly’s dialog in “Pogo”, which in addition to being brilliantly written, was also laboriously (and artistically) hand-lettered. Kelly’s skill became painfully obvious after his death, when his heirs (Selby, et al.) finally had to admit that it could be imitated, but not duplicated.
    P.S. The explanatory note that Mark Twain placed in the introduction to “Huckleberry Finn” is also worth mentioning (the italics are mine): “In this book a number of dialects are used…. The shadings have not been done in a haphazard fashion, or by guesswork; but painstakingly, and with the trustworthy guidance and support of personal familiarity with these several forms of speech. I make this explanation for the reason that without it many readers would suppose that all these characters were trying to talk alike and not succeeding.

  13. As a note of historical interest: the spelling “donut” was created by the original Dunkin Donuts in Boston, partially so that the sign, which had the two words on top of each other, would line up correctly. Drop out the G in “dunking” and respell “doughnut”, and they are both six letters.

  14. As a note of historical interest: the spelling “donut” was created by the original Dunkin Donuts in Boston, partially so that the sign, which had the two words on top of each other, would line up correctly. Drop out the G in “dunking” and respell “doughnut”, and they are both the same length in that particular font

  15. “The only way I can make this work is if he’s saying “do-nut” fairly quickly, and she’s saying “dough-nut” with much more emphasis on the “dough” part.

    ….. or …. this is a surreal world where she has some unfathomable ability to hear spelling.

    Otherwise, they are said exactly the same way.”

    …. That’s the JOKE. This is a physically impossible strip.

    ……

    “Sez you” puts the emphasis on the “z” implying a rough brough. Bout “Lissen, I’ve had enuff” is a point taken.

    …..

    “So the punchline of the comic I posted makes no sense unless you remember the final panel of the previous day’s comic.”

    That’s hardly an unusual or unacceptable situation in a daily strip.

    And I thought it was funny without seeing the earlier strip. Although I didn’t get the Dad reference.

  16. Is Mrs. Olsen always drinking or talking about coffee in this strip a nod to the Folgers Coffee TV commercials from the 60s and 70s?

  17. I’ll accept the “4th wall” joke. What I don’t get is the girl’s extreme overreaction in the last panel. She didn’t have any problem with Caulfield’s spelling until she looked it up, and all of the sudden it “absolutely drives me crazy”? My reaction would have been more along the lines of “Get a grip”, but of course that wouldn’t be intellectual enough for this strip.

  18. 1) Well, that’s the concept of “recreational complaining”, isn’t it? You arbitrarily decide something drives you crazy and over-react… cause you want to.

    2) I don’t think she looked it up. But she did let it slide or let the conversation go on before her fit. So it can’t have bugged her that much…. but again, recreational complaining.

  19. You can’t spell it “doenut” because there’s no such thing. There is such a thing as a “bucknut”.

  20. “1) Well, that’s the concept of “recreational complaining”, isn’t it? You arbitrarily decide something drives you crazy and over-react… cause you want to.”

    I don’t know because I’ve never heard of “recreational complaining”. Regardless, his acknowledgment of her overreaction doesn’t make her overreaction okay.

  21. Kirby, regarding Huckleberry Finn, I had taken that introduction to be another joke by Mark Twain, since the story is being narrated by Huck, and pretty much everything is in his own dialect. Now, I am not an English major, nor have I read this interpretation anywhere else. It came to me after reading True Grit and realizing that Mattie, the narrator, was pretty much imposing her own dialect/speech idiosyncrasies on all of the other characters. And I haven’t gone back to reread HF just to see if my theory holds, but I kind of like it.

  22. I remember an entry in the old “Book of Lists” (published back in the 1970s) which listed the top-rated TV episodes of all time. One was an episode of the Beverly Hillbillies, where the Clampetts were going to hire caterers to prepare their “vittles” for them. The article included the quotation marks around the spelling “vittles”, which I guess was their smug and condescending way to point out the Clampetts’ ignorance…except that the word “victuals” is actually properly pronounced “vittles”. So the article actually displayed the ignorance of the writer.

  23. Per my late father who died in 1990 so the changes in the world since and in use of terms comes long after he told me this.

    Doughnut was a generic term for fried dough treats – round with hole in center, round with no hole in center and long. Donut was a trademark of Dunkin Donuts and could not legally be otherwise used.

    More recently since Dunkin – now just same no Donut – has changed their name due to their extended menu.

    There was actually as specific donut that was the dunkin donut – it was round with a hole in the center and had a sort of round tab on one side (outside edge) of the donut. The idea was that one held same while dunkin the rest of the donut. I remember them, but am not sure that they still exist.

    I know that doughnuts go back to at least the middle 1800s. In the book “Farmer Boy” by Laura Ingalls Wilder which is written about her husband’s boyhood in upstate NY, their mother will make them long doughnuts but not round ones as the long ones turn themselves over (I presume related to the boiling oil), but the round ones do not and she did not want to waste time standing and turning the doughnuts. Laura was born in 1867 and her husband was a bit older than her.

  24. @ Lazarus John
    “Vittles” is ‘dialect’, despite the fact that it does indeed reflect the correct pronunciation of “victuals”, a word I that have not heard used except in historical context.
    Exactly parallel for me is “innards”, the correct pronunciation of “inwards”, another word that I have rarely heard used except as hillbilly dialect: specifically (geezer alert) in advertisements for Mountain Dew, which in the 1960’s, the era of The Beverly Hillbillies, would still “tickle yer innards”.

  25. “Dunkin” without “Donuts” seems wrong. You’re left with a participle that doesn’t have anything to modify. The donuts were dunkin’ donuts — donuts to dunk — like fishin’ worms or eatin’ pumpkins (vs. decorative pumpkins). Now what do you do? Make a dunkin’ motion as if you’re dunkin’ a donut but without the donut?

    They should just rename themselves “Duncan’s” which is what a lot of people call them anyway.

    “Wait! It’s Dunkin’.” “That’s what I said.” “You said Duncan.”

  26. OK, the day after writing that I rarely hear the word “innards”, I heard it in a documentary about the building of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. Two additional points though: the documentary was made in 1967, and the reference was to the “innards of the arch”, not to a person’s “innards”. In the closed captions, the word was _not_ in quotation marks.

  27. On this same road trip, I’ve seen a number of outlets of “Dunkin’ Donuts” and not yet any that only say “Dunkin'”. It seems to me that on this trip I’ve also seen a vehicle with a legend that played on the Double D of Dunkin’ Donuts.

  28. But what do people in Missouri know about pronunciation? They try to promulgate the belief that saying the name of their state with an exaggerated version of the local general phonological accent ought to count as an exceptional lexical marking and be imposed on outsiders as the “right” pronunciation.

  29. @ Mitch4 – I was once told that the “correct” pronunciation was homophonic to “misery”, with the unstated assumption that this was supposed to imply a lexical identity.

  30. Brian – I’ll explain more when I have a keyboard, but basically I was scorning the idea that Missou-ruh is how everybody should say the name of that state.

    Kilby – So perhaps you’re familiar with the story that their Tourism Board once adopted the slogan “Missouri loves company”.

  31. I was once told that the “correct” pronunciation was homophonic to “misery”

    I doubt anyone from the state told you that except as a joke.

  32. It’s tends to be pronounced Missour-ee in the urban areas, and Missour-uh in the rural areas, so the debate over the correct pronunciation has particular cultural weight.

  33. Not sure if many know the word (from back in the 18th century) Huzzah. It is usually pronounced to rhyme with huh zah. (Store we heard was that (German) Geo I of England would yell Huzzars when they passed – but based on what follows – probably not true.)

    Our unit commander (an energetic young fellow) came across some research that the word should rhyme with Hooray not Hoorah. In various poems it only fits the poem with this pronunciation. So we have to remember to pronounce it this way at events when cheering.

  34. “On this same road trip, I’ve seen a number of outlets of ‘Dunkin’ Donuts’ and not yet any that only say ‘Dunkin”.”

    They’re a franchise operation, so regional differences wouldn’t be surprising.

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