Thursday 12 April 2012

Dick Madness: And the Winner is ... !!!!!!

To keep you in suspense just a tiny bit longer (Don’t prematurely scroll down! Don’t prematurely scroll down!), please “enjoy” my first (and utterly horrible) foray into Photoshop.
Robins can fly, which is why Dick Grayson hovers in the air.

Seriously, if you don’t use Photoshop to create pictures of Dicks making out then what is even the point of owning Photoshop?

I have decided, however, not to blame this debacle on my own ridiculously bad photo shopping skills, but on Richard III. There is a shocking dearth of images of him making out with people. I can’t say the same for Dick Grayson; if the internet is to be believed, that guy will make out with anyone. Naturally, I picked one featuring him (as Robin on Batman: The Animated Series) making out with Bruce Wayne/Batman. Another thing the internet loves is Bat-homosexuality, with the murkiness of potential pedophilia thrown in to make it extra-titillating.

Anyway, Richard III is a terrible lover. It’s as though these two don’t even know each other.

Back to business, though. The winner is ….

Richard III. Duh. (Well that was anti-climatic).

Dick Grayson gave Richard III a bit of a run for his money, but Richard III – the biggest, most fascinating, and most hard-core Dick of all – eventually triumphed.

Three huzzahs for Richard III!!!

To celebrate Richard III’s epic win, I’m going to discuss a shout-out he received over a month ago in a article, written by Cracked columnist Daniel O’Brien and linked here. I must admit, I didn’t think it was one of the author’s better articles, but Richard III got a mention, so I have to show it some love.

Anyway, Richard III comes up in relation to Humpty Dumpty (who sat on a wall, etc.). The relevant part of the article declares:

Doing the least amount of research expected of me, I clicked around Wikipedia for a while to dig into old nursery rhymes and learned that the story of Humpty Dumpty actually used to be a riddle, the answer of which was "egg." When the answer to the riddle became too well-known, everyone stopped calling it a riddle and started calling it a nursery rhyme….

No one seems to know where this original riddle version of Humpty Dumpty is or where it came from, and there are competing theories that suggest that Humpty Dumpty was either a tortoise, a cannon or a stand-in for King Richard III of England, designed to make some kind of satirical observation about the king. That he was bad at sitting on walls? Wait, if Humpty Dumpty is supposed to be King Richard, who the hell is "the king" supposed to represent in this satire?

I was rather shocked to read this because I had never heard about any possible connections between Richard III and Humpty Dumpty – and I like to think I pretty much know everything about Richard III. Naturally, I had to examine Wikipedia myself, which informed me that:

There are also various theories of an original "Humpty Dumpty". One, advanced by Katherine Elwes Thomas in 1930[5]and adopted by Robert Ripley,[1] posits that Humpty Dumpty is King Richard III of England, depicted in Tudor histories, and particularly in Shakespeare's play, as humpbacked and who was defeated, despite his armies at Bosworth Field in 1485. However, the term humpback was not recorded until the eighteenth century, and no direct evidence linking the rhyme with the historical figure has been advanced.[6]

Yes, Wikipedia has footnotes. Follow the link to see the sources for yourself.

So how did we get here and is it true (short answer: no)? Although I haven’t read the works of either Thomas or Ripley (mentioned by Wikipedia), I gather that Shakespeare is pretty important to this whole she-bang, which makes me think the horses could relate to “A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!”

*In case you aren’t familiar with Shakespeare and the whole “Tudor myth” regarding Richard III, it basically portrays Richard III as a heinous, deformed villain who murdered his way to the throne (killing a former king, a prince, his own brother, his nephews, his wife, and a few more besides). This narrative helped justify the Tudor take-over of the throne. The first Tudor king, Henry VII, had a weak dynastic claim, so it helped his cause to portray his predecessor (whom he had killed in battle) as a tyrant not fit to rule glorious England. Henry got to save the English people from their monstrous former king. Everybody (except Richard, obviously) won – Henry got to look awesome and Shakespeare got a ready-made villain just itching to star in an epic history play. 

So my suggestion for this fine nursery rhyme is as follows:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall [Richard III on the throne]
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall [Richard III was a usurping king who ruled for only two years and then had his ass handed to him at Bosworth by Henry VII]
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men [All Richard’s horses and men couldn’t help him]
Couldn’t put Humpty together again [Richard III was defeated and dead after Bosworth]

Personally, I think this seems like a bit of a stretch. The whole riddle/rhyme is so general it could apply to any arrogant guy who got his come-uppance (assuming you take “great fall” in a metaphorical sense). But the main reason I don’t think it applies to Richard III is that this rhyme is a sneaky insult (you thought you were so great, but you aren’t – ha!). Pretty much from the second Richard III died (on 22 August 1485), it was open season on his reputation. Some of it was deserved (he probably really did have his nephews murdered), but some of it was embellished to make him more delightfully villainous (he wasn’t grotesquely malformed, he didn’t woo his wife over the corpse of her first husband, and he probably didn’t poison her – she likely had tuberculosis). By the time this supposed riddle was invented, people had no reason to insult Richard III in subtle, crafty ways. If they wanted to rip into him, they could just say, “Man, King Richard III? He was such a dick! What an arrogant SOB! And murdering his poor little nephews? He’s a wart on the fair monarchy of jolly ole England!” Why waste time creating an insulting riddle about a guy who, thanks to Shakespeare and other Tudor writers, you can just dis freely? 

Wikipedia has some other suggestions, mainly relating to siege engines and the English Civil War of 1640-1649. They could be possibilities, but they also seem rather far-fetched. This Humpty Dumpty stuff is just nonsense!

In other news, Dick Clark also got a shout-out in this article about homes that are “inspired by nature.” Dick’s house is located in Malibu, California and can be yours for a cool $3.5 million. Considering the house only has one bedroom and two bathrooms, I’m guessing much of that price tag is based on its huge parcel of land (22.89 acres), incredible views, and location, location, location.

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