Plain-o-matic

Full-page comic. In the first frame, a person stands at a lectern next to a machine labelled “Plain-o-matic” and is flanked by bespectacled editor and curly-haired editor. The speaker says, “…so I am deeply honoured to be the first to push the button on what promises to be a revolutionary invention—a device that will transform ALL language into PLAIN language.” In the next frame, the speaker’s hand approaches the button to be pushed. In Frame 3, an audience member stands up and yells “Stop! You’re about to destroy the careers of art critics everywhere!” The hand pushes the button, and that same audience member screams, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!” In the bottom row of the comic, we see a speaker at an art critics’ convention. He points to the artwork displayed on screen and says, “…transcending the liminal strata that ontologically interrogate the poststructural unification of form and discourse while consolidating disparate evocations of aporia and positivist certainty.” In the final frame, after the button has been pushed, he continues, “And so, in summary, they made cool-looking art that inspired others to make art, too. Thank you.”

Creative Commons License

This month’s cartoon is dedicated to Erika Thorkelson.

Play along! What other fields would the Plain-o-matic wipe out? Here’s a blank where you can fill out:

  • the career,
  • the name of the convention,
  • the convention speaker’s words, and
  • the slide content.

(Someone make one for plain language editors, please!)

Tweet me your creations, and I’ll retweet them.

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What happened to October’s cartoon? My computer was out of commission for six weeks, and when I finally got it back in the middle of October I was too busy to put a cartoon together. Without my digital tools, I tried more traditional media by participating in Inktober. You can watch me struggle with drawing anything more complex than a rudimentary stick figure on this Twitter thread.

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