Weirdness of Imagined Voices: Pearls Before Swine

The strange thing about reading a cartoon strip like Pearls Before Swine is that you tend to imagine voices for the characters even though you don’t really hear them. These imagined voices even color how you view the characters.

Pastis has mentioned this in his comments to books. Apparently, people always want to tell him how they imagine the voices (particularly the crocs), though Pastis imagines the voices his own way and frankly doesn’t want to hear impressions of what other people think.

I have to admit, I did this myself. For example, I always imagined the crocs speaking something similar to Jamaican pidgin. I imagined voices for the other characters as well, and felt various things about the characters based on those presumed voices. This caused a bit of a problem when I found the animated versions of the strips put out by Pastis and Ring Tales. Take a look at a few (there are many others to find out there if you want to go looking):

Pearls Before Swine: Guiding Principles and Blah Blah Coffee

Pearls Before Swine: Goodnight Dad and Campaign Finance Reform

Pearls Before Swine: Watering Hole

Pearls Before Swine: French Dressing

Pearls Before Swine: Disagreeable Food and Miracle Worker

Pearls Before Swine: Superpower & Library Information 

Pearls Before Swine: When the Moon and Health Care

Pearls Before Swine: Paratroop and Death Rolls

Pearls Before Swine: Beware Of Duck

Pearls Before Swine: Wood Chipper 

At first, these animated strips jarred me a bit. After all, the characters sounded wrong. However, as time went on, I began to forget the original voices I imagined. As I continued reading the strip, I started hearing the voices from the Ring Tales cartoons. My original imagined voices were lost.

What does it all mean? Well, I suppose this goes to show that a creator of a strip should put out animated versions of their strips and get people to watch if they want to control how people perceive the voices of their characters. Regardless, the whole situation (the fact that I imagined voices, how weird it was to watch the cartoons with the wrong voices, how the cartoon voices took over my perception eventually, and so on) struck me as kind of weird.

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About David S. Atkinson

David S. Atkinson enjoys typing about himself in the third person, although he does not generally enjoy speaking in such a fashion. However, he is concerned about the Kierkegaard quote "Once you label me you negate me." He worries that if he attempts to define himself he will, in fact, nullify his existence...
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