Friday, February 18, 2011

Pro Crass Ti Nation (or, the stealthy joke you probably missed)

Image: Jane, the american field mouse, stands next to Frank, the eurasian house mouse, in a burgundy dress. She is beating him with a blue book titled "Pro Crass Ti Nation", which emits a loud "WHACK!" when it hits Frank's head.
In panels 8 and 9 of my apology, Jane comes in to whack me with a book.

"I can see that. The question is 'why?'"
Well, she's an avid reader and the rolling pin was not at hand.
"What? No! I mean why does she– You did that on purpose, didn't you?"

The thing is, having decided she was going to hit me with a book, for it to really look like a book it had to have a title, and a back-cover description. The first thing that came to mind was calling it "Light readings: an anthology." This thought lasted about five seconds, when I thought that it would be infinitely more funny if she would chatize me for not focussing on my work if the book were titled "Procrastination."

Of course, if she appeared holding a book titled "Procrastination," it would imply she had been reading on procrastination. However, Jane's not the kind to read on self-help, psychology, nor any of that. I decided to hand-wave it via Rule-of-Funny, until I realized that, not even in 1-point font, did "Procrastination" fit on the cover of the book I had drawn.

Naturally, I went with the easy solution of hyphenating the word. "Pro-cras-ti-na–" but here I stopped. "Nation" did fit the width of the book, even when I increased the font size to 4-point (at 5-point it was more than the height of the book). And wouldn't it be funnier if this was about a country? A book about a fictional country did, indeed, seem the kind of thing that Jane would read. I looked up the other hyphenated words in the dictionary, to confirm they existed, and did away with the hyphens.
  • Pro: the side in favor of something
  • Crass: to be uncouth, rude, or vulgar
  • Ti: a tree that grows in Polynesia, Australia, and New Zealand
  • Nation: a country or a people
Right, so we have a tropical/sub-tropical country that supports rudeness. This sounds like the JK Rowling's plight:
"Babbity Rabbity and her Cackling Stump is the stupidest title ever written by man or beast and of course when I wrote it, … I didn't imagine for a second that I was actually going to write the story."
So now I had to think of a reason why a country would do this; particularly a country from that part of the world. I decided that such a novel would have to be either futuristic, or an alternate history. Of course, this didn't help me much, until I remembered something else:

If you've noticed the rodents' attire, it is distinctively old-style. I've made an effort to make sure anything* they appear wearing could be possible in the 19th century or earlier. (There is a reason for this, but it'll probably be years before I get around to explaining it.)

So then, what was considered futuristic in the 19th century? Books like Nineteen Eighty Four, of course!** Now, if you've read Nineteen Eighty Four, or a summary of it, you'll know that the "Big Brother is Watching You" party says they control much of the former British Empire; including the United States of America. But at the end of the book, you realize much of what the party has been saying is false. What if this claim were also false? What if Australia and Polynesia (the countries where the Ti tree grows) were actually fighting Big Brother back?

With this I had what I needed: some ridiculous text to bloat the back cover. Written in 1-point font, it obviously isn't legible in the image, which is why I reproduce it here:
In 1984, when England is dominated by Big Brother (BB), the Oceania Coalition for Opposition speaks up in favor of vulgarity. While the rest of the world scoffs this attempt, the Aussies remain strong in that someone has to decry the BB regime, even if it is by being crass.

So there you have it: what happens when the Ti Nation (the Aussies) is in favor of being crass? they become the Pro Crass Ti Nation.

* As of yet, the sole exception is the September 11 memorial, for obvious reasons.

** Nineteen Eighty Four was actually written in the postwar period: 1948. However, the general style is reminescent of H.G.Wells, ocassionally raving on scientific "facts" like Jules Verne did. Wells and Verne are, of course, the archetype for futuristic writing from the point of view of the 19th century.

1 comment:

  1. I think you put more thought into that book than some put into the entire run of their comic.