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The use of parentheses is commonly used on Wikipedia to distinguish between different articles where the subject has the same name. Typing "Stealth", for example, would lead to suggestions such as Stealth (film), Stealth (video game), and Stealth (roller coaster). In this comic, Randall depicts the humorous overuse of this disambiguation notation in conversations with friends. Part of the humor in this comic is imagining that Randall's social circle have lots of discussions about things named Sonic, Jack, Popeye, and a battle, which are nevertheless not the Hedgehog, the Ripper, the Sailor Man, or Midway, respectively.
Sonic the Hedgehog is a movie scheduled for release in February 2020. The film stars an anthropomorphic hedgehog named Sonic. When the first trailer was released, the public reacted with shock and horror at the movie's design of Sonic, who was said to fall into the "uncanny valley" by being too anthropomorphic and not cartoony enough. The design was hastily re-developed, which was received much more favorably; evidently, Cueball has warmed to the movie and is asking his friends if they want to go see it.
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. Perhaps Randall's friends often go to see the restaurant.
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, so it is understandable that Randall would need to disambiguate which Jack he is referring to. There are lots of things named Jack, as it is a popular name (the most popular name, in some countries and years), and so in this case it is quite reasonable to clarify which Jack it is that Randall has been reading so many books about.
American actor Robin Williams played Popeye the Sailor in the 1980 musical-comedy film Popeye. 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 founder of Popeyes claimed he named the restaurant after the French Connection character, and not the sailor, but from 1971 to 2006, Popeyes did license the cartoon characters and used them in promotions.
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).
Randall has previously illustrated the awkward use of disambiguating syntax in 1917: How to Make Friends.
|| This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
[Cueball stands, holding his phone. Text message boxes are 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:]
Whenever I mention anyone called "<Name> the <X>," I like to 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 ..."? 18.104.22.168 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). 22.214.171.124 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! -126.96.36.199 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) 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 188.8.131.52 21:46, 13 January 2020 (UTC)