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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > May 2017 > Leith on language

Leith on language

Whaam! Bam! Thanks Batman!

It occurred to me the other day—being, as I am, a semi-retired comic book nerd of a certain age and a nostalgic bent—to wonder about cartoon strip sound effects. Here, I thought, is a whole subcategory of vocabulary that lives on the page in this isolated little world, but that has quietly insinuated itself into the wider culture. The locus classicus for it, I suppose, is Roy Lichtenstein’s Whaam!. In that painting you can see the moment that the comic book sound effect—with its characteristic reduplicated vowel—leaps from the newsstand to the art gallery.

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In Prospect’s May issue: Neal Ascherson, Simon Jenkins, John Curtice and Frances Cairncross examine the growing divide between England and Scotland. Ascherson argues that England has become Scotland’s “neurotic neighbour,” while Jenkins says we should learn from history and prepare for Scotland to leave the Union. Cairncross and Curtice debate whether Scotland could afford to break with England and whether a fresh referendum on independence is actually winnable. Also in this issue: Jason Burke questions whether the world will be a safer place after the downfall of Islamic State, Paul Hilder examines how politics got tangled in the web and Michael White reviews a new book charting the history of the Daily Mail