zw3.02: pulchritudinous pandas

Intrepid journalist Hank Talbot continues his exposé of the disturbing political agenda behind the zoo world facebook propaganda blitz.

After some preliminary analysis of the ad’s text, some in-depth examination of the text in the graphic, and a comparative look at two live-show strip clubs, we’re ready to delve deeper into the politics behind the pulchritudinous pandas ad.

pulchritudinous pandas

how to sustain your dragon

part 2

After some preliminary analysis of the ad’s text, some in-depth examination of the text in the graphic, and a comparative look at two live-show strip clubs, we’re ready to delve deeper into the politics behind the pulchritudinous pandas ad.

pulchritudinous pandas

pulchritudinous pandas

The most telling text is the illegible signage in the graphic. We have learned, at least, three things from examining the results of some high-tech digital enhancement algorithms: (1) the first line of the sign’s text, the most difficult to decipher, appears to begin with an “L;” (2) the second and third lines of text appear to say “panda show;” and (3) the khaki-clad panda-fondler might be named “lois.” Furthermore, there is almost certainly some kind of “adult entertainment” (exposed breeding) that goes on within the wattle-and-daub walls of the panda show hut.

The most promising (and least disturbing) possibility is that hut is home to a “Live !! Panda Show,” akin to the “Live Girl Show” at the Adult Palace (a great south Denver landmark, now lost to antiquity beneath the vast concrete foundations of the Englewood Super Target). Our other real-world example is, happily, still in operation some 4.5 miles to the north. The proprietors of the Paper Maxim Show Club seem to have successfully severed any perceived allegiance to Maoist doctrine by ditching the “Paper Tiger” name in favour of “Topless Live Show.” As of March, 2009, the improvement seemed to have taken root in the often rocky soil of public perception. A coveted four stars (out of five) were awarded by trippen197 in his March 8th, 2009 review:

I enjoyed the atmosphere the girls were cute not at all old or gross according to the rumors about the Paper Tiger.

Skeptics have noted that trippen197 has remained conspicuously taciturn since posting that review fourteen months ago—his only review in his tenure. Experts in the field, such as “dan,” might question the authenticity (or the bias) of trippen197’s review. In his April 25, 2009 review, “what three Minents for a dance,” dan told a different story about the “Live Show:”

What the heck only three Minuets per dance. dont blink or the show will be over with in that blink. Crazy wast, they do have some great girls there. but it your money for the time…

Some of dan’s review is difficult to translate, as it appears to be written in some archaic Elizabethan street-slang dialect. I shall do my best to parse it out:


who told thee that thou wast naked?

who told thee that thou wast naked?

Although frequently encountered in a King James Bible, old english hunting song, or in the sundry prosody textbook, the word “wast” (second-person singular simple past tense indicative of “be”) is not encountered often in modern english. Furthermore, while the use of an implied subject is certainly acceptable, dan doesn’t exactly clear things up by using an archaic word with an implied subject, “it.” A similar effect (using the same letters!) could have been achieved if dan had gone with the poetic contraction of “it was,” perhaps even setting the interjection aside with a little punctuation: “Crazy, ’twas!”


I cannot make sense of the last sentence, wherein dan appears to provide only the first part of an obscure idiom. This technique can be effective, but only when your reader is familiar enough with the expression that they can complete it with ease. For example, I might conclude a paragraph with “It never rains . . .” trusting that my reader will be able to provide the rest of the saying “. . . but it pours.” Without this knowledge, my reader might think I was making some sweeping statement about the local weather patterns. If the reader knows the rest of the idiom, however, he or she will be able to apply its metaphoric meaning (when troubles come they come together) to the context of my message. While I admire the aplomb of a reviewer like dan, casting traditional journalistic wisdom aside and ending with the risky complete-the-idiom technique, I must say I have never encountered an idiom containing “but it your money for the time…”; dan fails to connect with me as a reader.

Another word or three on the complete-the-idiom technique: this sort of exclusive communication is at the heart of cockney rhyming slang. I say exclusive because a listener unfamiliar with the omitted words cannot really interpret the slang. Cockney links a word to a rhyming phrase, then uses that phrase as a substitute for the original word—but truncates the phrase so that the rhyming part is left out. Here’s an example appropriate to the discussion of topless live shows.

omitting the rhyming word:
titty (•) = (•) bristol city
and in the plural:
titties (•)(•) = (•)(•) bristols
“She’s got lovely bristols!”

While dan’s review makes no mention of bristols, it was no doubt bristols he went to see. More to the point, hopefully you see the similarity between cockney rhyming slang and its considerably-less-pithy rhetorical doppelgänger, the complete-the-idiom technique. I’m not saying that dan’s concluding sentence is necessarily some kind of antiquated street-slang. but if the shoe fits…


Perhaps the most curious element of dan’s review is his indignation regarding an apparently insufficient quantity of Minuets in the live show. While it’s hard to fault dan for his affinity to the minuet, it seems strange to me that he would expect to encounter even one baroque dance form at the establishment-formerly-known-as-the-paper-tiger—let alone three! I have never been to a topless show, live or otherwise, so I cannot speak from experience; however, the type of dance I would expect to encounter does not match the description of the minuet:

. . . a social dance of French origin for two persons, usually in 3/4 time. The word was adapted from Italian minuetto and French menuet, meaning small, pretty, delicate, a diminutive of menu, from the Latin minutus . . . The name may refer to the short steps, pas menus, taken in the dance . . . At the period when it was most fashionable it was slow, soft, ceremonious, and graceful.

This description fits better with the picture below. I have my doubts, but maybe this is what dan was expecting. If so, I suspect the two persons would both be female. The layers of bulky clothing would probably have to go as well. In a pinch, I suppose the big cane could serve as a pole, so maybe that would stay.

pole dance?

pole dance?

If dan is coming from an instrumentalist’s perspective, his indignation is similarly puzzling. The instrumental minuet is typically rounded binary (ABA’) in form—three sections. Instrumental minuets are often performed in a similar ABA manner: the first minuet, followed by a second, followed by a repeat of the first—three minuets. This three-minuet set comprises a movement in the traditional form of the symphony—the third movement. This movement is sometimes called the minuet and trio, as the second minuet was often scored for a trio—three instruments. Any way you slice it, dan, three seems like a perfect number of minuets to me.

french jokes

Ah, but perhaps I have overlooked dan’s vast musical and linguistic knowledge. It might be that dan was clamouring for a lighter, more uptempo atmosphere. A scherzo would fit the bill. Scherzo means “joke” in Italian, and the scherzo is the jocular descendant of the minuet. This might explain dan’s disatisfaction with all the minuets, and could be what he was getting at with his french punnery in his review’s title: “what three Minents for a dance.” Minent is, of course, a french verb: (1) the third-person plural present indicative of miner; or (2) the third-person plural present subjunctive of miner. The word can be used figuratively, akin to the concept of “undermining” something. Since dan is writing in english, however, it seems more likely that he is playing up a cross-linguistic pun. The french verb miner, if pronounced as an english word, would be homophonous with the english word “minor.” While dan could be suggesting the club employs underage dancers, it seems likely that such an impropriety would be mentioned elsewhere in his review. No, if dan is the musical genius he appears to be, and if his cross-linguistic pun is supposed to be a joke about the music, he probably means “minor” in the musical sense (i.e. in a minor key).

In a set of three minuets, or in a minuet and trio, the set typically begins and ends in the same key but modulates to another key for the middle minuet/trio. If the set begins in a major key, it is not uncommon to modulate to the dominant and back to the tonic (I-V-I), meaning all three minuets are in major keys. If the set begins in a minor key, however, it almost always modulates to a major key (e.g. V, III, or VI) for the middle minuet before returning to the minor key. In this case, two of the three minuets are in minor keys. All kinds of combinations are possible, of course, but it is highly likely that at least one of the three minuets will be in a major key.

Perhaps this is what dan was getting at in his clever tittle; perhaps all three minuets were in minor keys! How depressing would that be! If they were truly minuets, not scherzi, they were probably pretty slow, too. Even more depressing. Thus we see that dan’s title is not only informative (it tells us all three dances were downers), because it is a joke in and of itself, it is a call to action (liven it up! scherzi, not minuets!).

dont blink

Clearly I underestimated dan at first glance. I shall not make that same mistake twice. Giving him the benefit of every biochemical doubt, I think I now see how his second sentence cleverly parodies the common conflation of causes and effects regarding erectile dysfunction.

Blinking rate, as you may be aware, can be sypmtomatic of certain nervous disorders. A rapid blink rate, for example, is common with schizophrenia or tourette syndrome. A slow blink rate, on the other hand, is often seen in patients with parkinson’s disease. The common element: the dopamine pathways.

High dopamine levels can cause excessive blinking. Low dopamine levels can cause reduced blink rates. But dopamine does more than just make us blink. A lot more, actually. But one of the things it affects is sexual arousal.

Sexual gratification, on the other hand (pardon the expression), is affected by prolactin. Ironically, these two have something of an inversely-proportional relationship:






sexual arousal sexual gratification


hi lvls

excessive blinking excessive dopamine

lo lvls

lo lvls

reduced blinking rate impotence / loss of libido

hi lvls

Pretty crazy, huh? Add to that a little bit of machismo and some superstitious misunderstandings about blinking and boners . . . well, it gives you a pretty good idea just how arousing and gratifying the show WASN’T. At least not for dan.

And he’s not scherzando.

Well, that ran long. I’d intended to bring things around at the end of this post, but we’ll get back on track in the next post. Especially after researching that last section, I really just wanted to get it up.

The post, that is.


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