Thursday 8 March 2012

Dick Madness Round Two!!

*Happy International Women’s Day, everyone! A blog dedicated to people named Richard is not the most likely place to go to celebrate this epic day, but there you have it.

First, many thanks to those who voted. I sincerely appreciate your input. To those of you reading but not voting – please vote! I won’t bite; in fact, I will send you a thank-you e-mail (enticing, I know).

Second, a few observations before I reveal the Round Two bracket. We had several almost shut-outs. Richard Burton (the writer, adventurer, etc.) was thoroughly trounced by Richard Wright. I guess that’s what Burton gets for being racist! Same with Wagner; I believe his anti-Semitism probably made most people vote for Strauss. We had two actual shut-outs: Richard III completely annihilated Richard II. I chalk this up largely to my own incessant prattling about Richard III (surprise: everyone who voted personally knows me and has listened to me yap about Richard III). I had no idea I was so influential. Dick York also shut-out Dick Sargent. Most people must not have noticed the change on Bewitched!

For me, one shocker was that Richard Lewis almost beat Richard Pryor (are there a lot of Curb Your Enthusiasm fans reading this blog?). At the last minute, though, Pryor came from behind and snagged a victory.

Furthermore, we have many compassionate folks reading. Almost everyone voted for Richard le Rakiere, the unfortunate who drowned to death in feces soup. I’m guessing people did this because they felt bad for the poor sap; otherwise, you all must be plotting to kill your enemies. People also expressed their deep-seated dislike of Rick Santorum. I feel you there, people, but the man does rock the sweater vest as only the most special of douche-bags can. All right, enough of this clap-trap. I will not give a run-down of every category or we’d be here forever. Although….

Third, a special spotlight on one winner: Richard Burbage. A few people voted for Richard Mansfield, which is fine, but I kind of feel like everyone would have voted for Burbage had I posted this story. [Many thanks to my erudite Canadian friend for sending me this divine quote!]

From The Diary of John Manningham of the Middle Temple 1602-1603 [I have modernized the spelling and punctuation.]

“Upon a time when Burbage played Richard III, there was a citizen grew so far in liking with him, that before she went from the play she appointed him to come that night unto her by the name of Richard III. Shakespeare, overhearing their conclusion, went before, was entertained, and at his game before Burbage came. The message being brought that Richard III was at the door, Shakespeare caused return to be made that William the Conqueror was before Richard III. Shakespeare’s name [was] William.” [told by Mr. Touse; see page 75]

Shakespeare and his cronies were players in more than one sense!

Without further ado, the new bracket is below. Explanations follow, along with the ballot.

Left Side:

Actors Part Deux:
Richard Burton vs. Richard Burbage
Burton was an attractive, skilled actor of the twentieth century. I’m not sure how handsome Burbage was, but he seems to have had no trouble snagging the ladies (provided his buddy Willy Shakespeare didn’t get there first).

Keith Richards vs. Dick Clark
I’m not quite sure what to title this face-off. Both were involved with music, but in such disparate capacities that they cannot be compared. And recently, Keith is famous for having a cameo as a pirate (no doubt make-up took ten times longer than he spent on screen), while Clark is famous for recovering from a stroke and valiantly keeping Ryan Seacrest from taking over the Rockin’ New Year’s Eve telecast.

Rich Dicks:
Dick Butkus vs. Richard Vandermarck
I assume Butkus is rich because he was a professional football player (with a terrible name). Richard Vandermarck was fictionally rich; his money almost got him the woman of his dreams. Then she dumped him and came crawling back years later. Assuming these two fictional people married, Richard Vandermarck was then extra-rich because his wife was also loaded.

Tackling Social Issues:
Charles Dickens vs. Richard Pryor
Charles Dickens, famous Victorian author extraordinaire, devoted a lot of ink to detailing the plight of the poor and disenfranchised, criticizing social stratification and institutional corruption. Pryor made his name in comedy through his willingness to wax comedic about the pressing issues of the day (namely, racism).

Dick Whittington vs. Richard J. Daley
Dick Whittington was Lord Mayor of London three times (and that’s fact, not legend like his cat). Richard J. Daley ran Chicago like a boss (the corrupt political kind, not the Bruce Springsteen sort).

Ineffective Politicians:
Richard Cromwell vs. Richard Mentor Johnson
Cromwell was unable to control the army after his father, Oliver, died. His ineffective rule enabled the restoration of the monarchy in England. Johnson was a career politician, but he was basically fired from his job as vice president by Martin van Buren. Seriously, if you’re fired by a forgettable one-termer such as van Buren, you must have been pretty bad at being VP.

Richard Rolle vs. “Richard Cory”
Richard Rolle was a fairly-prolific medieval mystic. Besides writing about the fire of God’s love (burning inside him, rather like St. Elmo’s fire), he also wrote tracts for religious women and Latin Biblical commentaries. Richard Cory didn’t actually write anything (because he’s fictional), but he is the title character to both a poem and a song. To qualify as literary, that’s good enough for government work!

Kings (again!):
Richard III vs. Richard, earl of Cornwall (and King of the Romans)
I just keep the monarchs coming! Richard III was king of England (as we’ve established), and he murdered his nephews. Richard, earl of Cornwall, also managed to get elected King of the Romans (which was precursor to being Holy Roman Emperor). Even after being elected king, though, he still spent most of his time in England.

Right side:

Crime-Busting Dicks:
Dick Wolf vs. Dick Grayson
While Wolf does not personally fight crime (to the best of my knowledge), he gave birth to the Law & Order family, which has been busting murderers and rapists for over twenty years. Wolf has helped bring to life some of the most awesome police officers in TV history, including Lennie Briscoe, greatest fictional cop ever. However, Wolf is a Republican.
            Dick Grayson is … seriously, we’ve been through this before. He’s connected to Batman. Fun fact: he was once a cop in the awesomely named (fictional) city of Blüdhaven. How that place wasn’t teeming with vampires is beyond me. Anyway, Dick was a cop and Bruce Wayne hated it. Obviously it’s better to fight crime by violating civil liberties, wearing a costume, and only using your fists and bat-themed non-lethal gadgets than it is to work within the confines of the Constitution, wear a uniform, have a badge, and carry a gun. Elementary, my dear Watsons.         So, who will it be – the Republican who gave us Lennie Briscoe and Olivia Benson or Batman’s original Boy Wonder?

Richard Dadd vs. Richard Rich
The parent categories of this race (Artist and Political Jerks) were both neck and neck, and could have gone either way. In the end, I went with Richard Dadd because, much as I love Fremont, Ohio and Batman, I have a soft spot in my heart for people whose lives are disrupted by mental illness. As for Richard Rich, the indignant exclamation of my early-modernist friend (“Richard Rich tortured Anne Askew with his own hands!”) convinced me that he was the bigger jerk.
            Therefore, we have a face-off between murderers. Dadd killed his dad because the voices in his head said his father was evil. Rich was a skanky liar who tortured women and got Thomas More executed. What a douche.

Shitty Dicks:
Richard le Rakiere vs. Richard Ramirez the Night Stalker 
Richard le Rakiere fell into a privy and drowned in poop. That’s pretty much all we know about the poor guy. I’m hoping his life was better than his death (although I can’t claim it smelled much better). The Night Stalker is a famous serial killer. If multiple murders don’t qualify you as a POS, I don’t know what does.

Dick York vs. Richard Strauss
This seems to be a high-brow vs. low-brow cultural battle. Do you prefer to sip vintage wine and nibble on a cheese plate while listening to the melodious strains of classical music? Or would you rather swill beer, eat chips, and watch the boob-tube? Tough call.

Legitimately Literary:
Moby Dick vs. Richard Wright
Moby Dick, the great white whale. In the novel, he represents different things to different people; right now, on this blog, he stands for nineteenth-century American literature. Richard Wright was a writer (heh heh) in the twentieth century.

Richard Steiff vs. Richard, duke of York (d. 1460)
Hmm, another set of guys with pretty much nothing in common. As noted previously, Steiff invented the teddy bear. Richard, duke of York “invented” (liberally speaking) the Wars of the Roses by pressing his claim to the crown. You might be thinking “War! What is it good for?” but many historians have made their livings dishing on the Wars of the Roses. Also, the wholesale slaughter of the nobility might have helped the Tudors to gain a death-grip on power and put those same nobles in their places (kissing the butt of the monarch).

Richard Hennessy vs. Richard Brooke Garnett
Although Hennessy is known for his cognac, he was originally a mercenary. An Irishman who served Louis XV in France, he founded his distillery on the land the king gave him as a reward. “Richard Hennessy” is also the “top end in the permanent Hennessy range,” selling for a mere £1,950 on the Whisky Exchange website. I’m guessing I’ll never taste any of this stuff!
            As noted last week, Richard Brooke Garnett was a Confederate general who died at Gettysburg. He was a career soldier, attending West Point, and serving in the US Army until the Civil War broke out. As a native of Virginia, he followed his state.

Rick Springfield vs. Rick James
“Jessie’s Girl” vs. “Super Freak.” What kind of girl do you want (or want to be)?

Same drill with the ballot. Please e-mail it to me at or post in the comments. You can either bold or underline your votes; another option is to delete the person you are NOT voting for. Vote for all or vote for a few!

Dick Madness Official Ballot for Round Two

Left side:

Actors Part Deux: Richard Burton vs. Richard Burbage

Ummmm? Keith Richards vs. Dick Clark

Rich Dicks: Dick Butkus vs. Richard Vandermarck

Tackling Social Issues: Charles Dickens vs. Richard Pryor

Mayors: Dick Whittington vs. Richard J. Daley

Ineffective Politicians:  Richard Cromwell vs. Richard Mentor Johnson

“Literary:” Richard Rolle vs. “Richard Cory”

Kings (again!): Richard III vs. Richard, earl of Cornwall (and King of the Romans)

Right side:

Crime-Busting Dicks: Dick Wolf vs. Dick Grayson

Murderers: Richard Dadd vs. Richard Rich

Shitty Dicks: Richard le Rakiere vs. Richard Ramirez the Night Stalker 

Entertainers: Dick York vs. Richard Strauss

Legitimately Literary: Moby Dick vs. Richard Wright

“Inventors:” Richard Steiff vs. Richard, duke of York (d. 1460)

Soldiers: Richard Hennessy vs. Richard Brooke Garnett

Singers: Rick Springfield vs. Rick James

1 comment:

  1. The very interesting article attracts one of the most impressive articles I've read. I also have some information that I want to share with you.