2252: Parenthetical Names
Title text: I never got around to seeing that movie about the battle (of Midway).
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This is another comic in the My Hobby series.
There is a little bit of Black (hat) in Randall, and he shows this by providing evidence of how he trolls people for fun (hence, a hobby). An explanation is given below.
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. On top of that, 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). Each of these parenthetical clauses clarifies the topic. However, in the comic, Randall uses parentheses when they provide essential information, inseparable from the topic. In particular, the name Jack does not immediately make one think of Jack the Ripper, so the sentence doesn't make sense without the parentheses.
Sonic the Hedgehog is a video game franchise featuring the eponymous Sonic the Hedgehog character. A film featuring the character titled Sonic the Hedgehog is scheduled for release in February 2020. 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 (which is probably why it was adopted, like John is for Messers Doe, Smith and (Q.) Public), so Randall should not be using parentheses, as it is necessary to show that "Jack the Ripper" is a full proper name, in lieu of any truer identity being known.
American actor Robin Williams played Popeye the Sailor in the 1980 musical-comedy film Popeye. Popeye's theme song is titled "I'm Popeye the Sailor Man". 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).
- [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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