Solutions and Another Puzzle

Posted by on April 12th, 2010 at 3:18 PM

I’ve been saying, all along, that Stephan Pastis is insulting his readers by naming his comic strip Pearls Before Swine. We, the readers, I assumed, are the swine in front of which Pastis casts his pearly comedy. Well, imagine my surprise when I figured out an alternative interpretation—with the aid of this strip.

Clearly, the swine referred to in the title is Pig! Simple algebra: in the first panels, Rat effectively equates “swine” with “idiots.” And the strip’s resident idiot is Pig. Ha. Besides, in case you haven’t noticed, “swine” is another word for “pig.” Ha ha. So Pastis isn’t insulting his readers at all. He’s just mustering his cast. I haven’t figured out who Pearl is, but I’m sure that’ll be revealed err long.

A week or so before our first visual aid I encountered this Pearl:

I bring it to your attention because it reveals, as little else has done heretofore, that Pastis is a genuine cartoonist, not just a drawer of hors d’oeuvres on toothpicks. Notice the plates and the cup of coffee. In the second panel, Pig’s bouncing has rattled the crockery, and the plates jump up off the counter. They don’t dance around, but they certainly jump. The coffee cup gets upset and, as we see in the final panel, spills its guts. All this visual action, lively but not essential to the basic punchline, is the product of a cartoonist’s so-called brain. Only a cartoonist would think to include such minor pictorial comedy in his/her drawing. Pastis, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, is clearly a cartoonist.

But that hasn’t stopped the infestation of the comics pages with stick figures, drawn, no doubt, by those who aspire to the fame and fortune Pastis is presently enjoying; to wit:

And before we part today, here’s another puzzler: what the heck is the joke here?

Does it have something to do with “market” and “mark it”? Is that it? Why, then, are the farmers “all that’s left”? I need help, as any fool can tell.

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One Response to “Solutions and Another Puzzle”

  1. Gavin Lees says:

    The “joke” in the Garfield strip is that the cat walks in to the Farmers’ Market and eats everything (note the full chops), so when he leaves, all that’s left behind is the farmers.

    Davis is really scraping the barrel these days…