Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Alliterative Jack Ziegler

When my children bring up the contemporary cultural phenomenon Zombie Apocalypse, I point out to them that it is the repetition of the o sounds in both words that gives this particular phrase its resonance and makes it memorable. The repetition of vowel sounds is called assonance and is a type of alliteration.

In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon terrorist bombings, the phrase Boston Strong has come to be used quite often as a rallying cry. It is a noble pairing of words, simple and eloquent, relying on the repetition of the o sound for its power and dignity.

There are two types of alliteration, one with repetition of consonant sounds and one with repetition of vowel sounds. Consonance is obvious to the ear ("March Madness") and can be very catchy. It is also easily overdone, e.g., Spiro Agnew's famous "nattering nabobs of negativism" penned by speechwriter William Safire. Assonance generally is more subtle but can still make phrases remarkably compelling.

Cartoonist Jack Ziegler makes excellent use of assonance with the very memorable words Hamburger Madness. Note the repeated a sounds. These words were first used by Ziegler in a gag cartoon but were just too good not to became a book title. This copy of Hamburger Madness with an original drawing is in my collection. It sounds good, it looks good, and I bet the burger tastes good too. Take that, Zombie Apocalypse!

Jack Ziegler, Hamburger Madness, 1978
Jack Ziegler, Hamburger Madness, 1978
Signed and Inscribed with Original Drawing

Note:  Look, I can't collect everything myself. If you are lucky enough to have a book with an original drawing by a New Yorker artist and would like to share it with the world right here on this very blog, please contact me.


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