If someone wants to spring for a birthday present…

…they could do worse than a framed print of this New Yorker cartoon for me:

(Thanks to Tin Man for the link to the searchable database of New Yorker cartoons.) I remember bringing that cartoon up in my History of the English Language class when it first came out—but I think the date in the database is wrong, since I was taking that class in the spring of 1993. I still maintain that it’s the best illustration of the difference between signifier and thing itself that I’ve seen, though cookies, e-commerce sites, and other modern invasions of privacy have pretty much eroded the core message, which was very much true in 1993.

(Yes, it’s my birthday today. I’m 32.)