A comic strip

Nuzzi

Senior Member
Spanish (Spain)
Hi there, here is the text of a comic strip on which I would like your view:
A man says: "I have a great idea for a comic strip to run in the Wall Street Journal. The main character is a hard-hat who slips into a phone booth and changes his clothes. When he comes out, he's the president of U.S. Steel. If you're his enemy, he'll break you financially. But you're totally defenseless -- because he has an unlimited expense account."
Thanks
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Do you have a specific language question about it -- I think a "view" will get us many wide-ranging and possibly political answers.
     

    Nuzzi

    Senior Member
    Spanish (Spain)
    Well, it is supposed to be a joke, a funny comic strip... I confess I don't understand why his enemies are defenseless because he has an unlimited expense account, and why that is funny. Probably I don't get the right sense of what an "unlimited expense account" is.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    An expense account is what many executives have that's in addition to their salary -- they can charge things such as travel and entertainment and equipment and who-knows-what (all as "expenses) to the account which is paid for by the company. Usually, expense accounts have a limit, so an unlimited expense account means that he can spend as much as he likes in the goal of breaking/defeating you financially -- because he will always have more money than you have.

    His entering the phone booth and emerging as the president of U.S. Steel is a nod to Superman who would enter a phone booth as Clark Kent, his secret identity, and emerge as Superman.
     

    Nuzzi

    Senior Member
    Spanish (Spain)
    Thanks, Copyright... In fact I understood it the same way, but it seemed to me of so little fun that I doubted whether my understanding was right or I missed something... probably being American...
     

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    I think you're missing the subtle bit on which the humor hinges. "The main character is a hard-hat who slips into a phone booth..." A hard hat is safety gear worn by people who work in construction jobs and othsimilar jobs where there is a danger of items falling on their heads. Defining the character as "a hard hat" makes it clear that he is a blue-collar worker, a laborer; someone who works hard and probably sees himself at the mercy of the whims of rich tycoons such as the president of U.S. Steel. He is the common "everyman" who magically transforms into a "super-power" rich man, but who will use his "powers" for good, not evil, as (the writer believes) most company presidents do.

    I'm not saying that I find this hilarious either, and it certainly displays some bitterness on the part of the person who dreamed up the strip. Maybe this is the writer's point?
     

    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    I think that the real joke is that the WSJ famously doesn't run comics, and that this would be the kind of strip that WSJ readers might enjoy - a hero representing Big Steel, because WSJ readers tend to be rich businessmen. (Is this an actual comic, talking about an idea for another comic?)
     

    JustKate

    Moderate Mod
    Doesn't everybody on a construction site wear hard hats - the workers, the engineers, the visiting VIPs? However, while I'm not familiar with using the noun "hard hat" to refer to a person, I would guess that it refers to someone whose job requires him to wear a hard hat every day, so I, too, would assume it meant a blue-collar worker, a construction worker, in this case one who uses his superpowers to turn into U.S. Steel President Man.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    pob14's interpretation makes sense to me.

    But we are sorely lacking in context and source. What kind of comic is this and what is its name? What sort of person is saying this? How is he represented?
     
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