2252: Parenthetical Names

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Parenthetical Names
I never got around to seeing that movie about the battle (of Midway).
Title text: I never got around to seeing that movie about the battle (of Midway).


This is another comic in the My Hobby series.

Parentheses are generally used in a sentence to add additional information that clarifies the topic. For example, in the sentence, "Barack Obama (a Democrat) is the 44th President of the United States," the parenthetical clause clarifies who Obama is, but is not strictly necessary to the sentence. However, in the comic, Randall uses parentheses for where they are not needed, either because the subject needs no clarification or because the parenthetical clause is so important to the subject that it should not be relegated to parentheses.

Sonic the Hedgehog is a video game franchise featuring the eponymous Sonic the Hedgehog character. Sonic is also the name of a train, a restaurant franchise, and a Californian internet service provider, among other things Randall is trying to avoid confusing the movie with.

Jack the Ripper is the name attributed to a serial killer active in London in 1888. His true identity has never been confirmed, and he has been featured in hundreds of works. "Jack" is one of the most-common given names for males in much of the Anglosphere.

Popeye the Sailor is a cartoon character created in 1929, and has been adapted for feature film, television, comic books, and other media. Popeye the Sailor is the best-known character named "Popeye", so it is a little unusual that Randall would have to clarify which Popeye he is referring to. Other Popeyes include Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle from The French Connection and the criminal Popeye from William Faulkner's novel Sanctuary. Like "Sonic", there is a restaurant chain named "Popeyes", which is the second-largest fast-food chicken restaurant chain in the world (after KFC).

The title-text alters the pattern slightly by discussing the Battle of Midway (i.e. the X of Y). This case has additional humor because Randall clarifies which battle he is talking about, but not which of the several movies depicting the battle (although he was most likely referring to the film released in November 2019, simply called Midway).


[Cueball is typing on his smartphone. Three messages appear in gray boxes above him:]
Do you want to go see Sonic (the Hedgehog)?
Why are there so many books about Jack (the Ripper)?
I didn't know Robin Williams once played Popeye (the Sailor Man)
[Caption below the panel:]
My Hobby:
Whenever I mention anyone called "<Name> the <X>," I put "the <X>" in parentheses, like I added it as a clarification.

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Great to see, that dgbrtbot is back on the wiki. --Lupo (talk) 07:40, 9 January 2020 (UTC)

This would be especially annoying for World of Darkness tabletop RPGs. Every one of them (Except Orpheus but we don't talk about Orpheus) has a colon in them for stuff. IE Vampire: The Masquerade Gruetopia (talk) 08:49, 9 January 2020 (UTC)

Daenerys of the House Targaryen (the First of Her Name, The Unburnt, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Protector of the Realm, Lady Regent of the Seven Kingdoms, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons) --Lupo (talk) 09:22, 9 January 2020 (UTC)

@Lupo: FTFY: Daenerys (of the House Targaryen) (the First (of Her Name)), (The Unburnt),( Queen (of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men)), (Queen (of Meereen)),( Khaleesi (of the Great Grass Sea)), (Protector (of the Realm)), (Lady Regent (of the Seven Kingdoms)), (Breaker (of Chains)) (and Mother (of Dragons)) -- Cellocgw (talk) 12:55, 9 January 2020‎ (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Or alternatively even: Daenerys (of (the House Targaryen (the First of Her Name, (The Unburnt, Queen of the Andals, (the Rhoynar and (the First Men, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi (of the Great Grass Sea, Protector (of (the Realm, Lady Regent (of (the Seven Kingdoms, Breaker (of Chains and Mother (of Dragons))))))))))))) --Lupo (talk) 13:03, 9 January 2020 (UTC)
"...the (First) Men..." "...the (Great) Grass (Sea)..." "...(Lady) Regent..." "... of the (Seven) Kingdoms ..."? 15:56, 9 January 2020 (UTC)
I prefet the titles that were (sadly) left out of (HBO's) Game (of Thrones): Tormund (Giantsbane)(, (Tall-)talker)(, (Horn-)blower)(, and Breaker (of Ice))(, Thunderfist)(, Husband (to Bears))(, (the) (Mead-)king (of (Ruddy) Hall))(, Speaker (to Gods))( and Father (of Hosts)(, Commander (of Oakenshield)). I just wanted to see Tormund (properly) introduced to Daenerys… SDF iain (talk) 16:07, 9 January 2020 (UTC)
I also prefer a song (of ice and fire)over game (of thrones)(TV Series) --Lupo (talk) 16:47, 9 January 2020 (UTC)
You forgot Stormborn. Daenerys (Stormborn (of the House Targaryen) (the First (of Her Name))), (The Unburnt),( Queen (of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men)), (Queen (of Meereen)),( Khaleesi (of the (Great (Grass)) Sea)), (Protector (of the Realm)), (Lady Regent (of the (Seven) Kingdoms)), (Breaker (of Chains)) (and Mother (of Dragons)) -- Hkmaly (talk) 23:19, 9 January 2020 (UTC)

I always liked listening to Mott (the Hoople) but I've never been a fan of Vlad (the Impaler). 12:14, 9 January 2020 (UTC)

Didn't he open for Cage (the elephant)? Shamino (talk) 13:27, 9 January 2020 (UTC)

I spent the evening having a jabber with Jabba (the Hut). I listened to some tunes by Benny Goodman (the King (of Swing) ) . Reminds me of the Jewish Mother joke where the first Jewish president finally gets his mother to agree to hold Seder in the White House.[parentheses mine] Mother to her friend Sadie: "I'm having Seder with my son." Sadie: "Oh, your son (the doctor)?" Mother: "No the other one." Cellocgw (talk) 12:52, 9 January 2020 (UTC)

I am (the pretty sailor soldier of love and justice) Sailor Moon! In the name of (the Moon) I will punish you! - 19:42, 9 January 2020 (UTC)

I feel like the chunk about the chunk about the Sonic movie's redesign is a bit pointless, could be shrunken down to "A film featuring the character titled Sonic the Hedgehog is set for release February 2020, of which Cueball is asking his friends if they want to see it or not."--GoldNinja (talk) 00:35, 10 January 2020 (UTC)

Probably, but the design was so heinous as to warrant pulling the release plans and redoing the model. This is enough to cause a redocumentation here, as a warning to future generations to NEVER look up the original Sonic (The Hedgehog) movie model. Verily, what has been seen cannot be (un)seen! 15:34, 10 January 2020 (UTC)

Almost 3,5 months since his last hobby comic: 2208: Drone (Fishing). Nice to see one again. --Kynde (talk) 08:25, 10 January 2020 (UTC)

There are restaurant chains named Sonic's and Popeye's, is there one named Jack's?

Yes, Jack (in the Box)[1] Rtanenbaum (talk) 20:48, 12 January 2020 (UTC)

A few days after the publication of the comic, a weirdly relevant news: https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/11/us/family-feud-canada-popeyes-trnd/index.html 21:46, 13 January 2020 (UTC)

I don't see why the explanation of the crappy Sonic movie trailer is in this article, I don't find it relevant to the joke or comic.

Different interpretation[edit]

It seems like this explanation is saying that Randall is adding "(the Hedgehog)", "(the Ripper)", and "(the Sailor) to "Sonic", "Jack", and "Popeye" respectively. But in reading the comic, the joke seems to be that the parenthesis themselves are the things being added, not the words inside of them. In other words, the article as written seems to suggest that he would have only said "Sonic" but instead says "Sonic (the Hedgehog)", when actually the joke seems (to me) to be that he's taking "Sonic the Hedgehog" and turning it into "Sonic (the Hedgehog)". --Raviolio (talk) 20:58, 10 January 2024 (UTC)

I'm not sure what's wrong with the original version. "Jack" would typically be too hard to identify, bare of any context (we don't know what that comment is apropos of, so it may have that context if we scroll the conversation back). Assuming that it follows the same fairly easy identification as "Sonic" and "Popeye" then he could easily say "X" instead of "X the Y", and then unnecessarily add "(the Y)". Like not saying "Cher" but "Cher (the singer)" with perhaps unnecessary additional context.
If it was rewriting "X the Y" (where more generally by necessity a full title) with parens, there are many other examples that would not so easily stand alone, in the direction of "Jack". "Alexander the Great", "William the Conqueror", "Pliny the Younger", with the latter even being difficult if you narrow down context to just him and his father... (But in the context of possible Alexanders, talking of Macedonia/Greece beforehand may be enough, and even in context of English(sort of/not British!) kings the tradition is that even temporally close William Rufus/the Second requires the more disambiguation. Third/Fourth are different eras from Williams I-and-II (far beyond even comparing both Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt) and possible-future-Fifth will probably be dealt with as King Charles (III) is right now, by current context.)
Trying to think of more US-centric ones (equivalent to Paul Bunyan and Johnny Appleseed), but I'm getting stuck on "Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson"... ;) Well, there's "Washington (the State/otherwise)", I suppose. ...though what about "Rosie (the Riveter)"? Maybe there's just not that much history (only Popeye is even American, in the comic ...and Midway, perhaps, terratorially).
Yes, an alternate explanation, but for (most of) the comic examples provided I'm not convinced. The "battle" example in the TT seems to be a deliberate inversion of the established concept for yet another layer of humour/bait-and-switch rather than defining the nature of the preceding ones... 01:42, 11 January 2024 (UTC)