Sunday 16 October 2011

Random Dicks

            As much as it pains me to do so, it is time to update this blog. I, sadly, cannot allow Richard III to dominate the front page forever. There are other Dicks demanding their due.
            During the course of my research, I often come across random Dicks. According to the Calendar of Coroner’s Rolls of the City of London (pages 167-8), a man named Richard le Rakiere “lay dead of a death other than his rightful death” (a medieval way of saying he didn’t die naturally, I believe) in August 1326. As the coroner’s roll puts it, “the said Richard was seated on a latrine in his house, the planks being rotten gave way, and the said Richard fell in and was drowned” (p. 168). What a way to go! Poor Richard was drowned in a pile of urine and excrement. Talk about a shitty death.
            And speaking of fecal matter, let’s talk about Rick Santorum, erstwhile presidential hopeful and former senator from Pennsylvania. (If you don’t know what Santorum has to do with dung, I invite you to broaden your horizons by clicking here, here, or here).
            I won’t say too much about ole Rick because I don’t really like him, given the gay-hating and all. Since Santorum is a bit too conservative and homophobic for my liking, I have to admit I was completely disappointed to discover his full name is Richard John Santorum. My first thought was, “No! Richard John is Dick Grayson’s name! How dare Santorum sully the name of one of my favorite fictional Dicks.” Yes, that’s how lame I am. I’m annoyed that a real man has the same forenames as a character. But, I like to think Dick Grayson would be annoyed, too, as he seems pretty gay friendly. And, given how often he’s either accused of being or portrayed as being gay on the internet, he ought to be.
            For those who don’t know, Santorum is an incredibly conservative Republican politician. He’s against gay marriage, homosexual acts in general, the National Weather Service, and anything that makes sense. The man is a proponent of intelligent design, attempting to get an amendment into the “No Child Left Behind” bill requiring intelligent design to be taught as an alternative theory to evolution. Thankfully, it didn’t pass. Santorum is also against so-called amnesty for illegal immigrants and supports building the fence. As to the National Weather Service, Santorum tried to pass a law rendering them unable to issue weather warnings when commercial weather services were doing the same (apparently, people shouldn’t have free – as in taxpayer supported – weather information); this inane piece of legislation died in committee.
            Santorum also doesn’t believe in abortion or birth control (he and his wife have 7 children, and an 8th died shortly after birth). I am pretty sure this is because they are conservative Catholics; so conservative that they attend Latin mass (although I am unsure if this is the pre-Vatican II mass or just the current version of the mass done in Latin. Probably the former, so Santorum might be against Vatican II as well). I’m disappointed and slightly surprised that Santorum, as a Catholic, is so against evolution and immigration, as the Catholic Church has no beef with evolution and the American Catholic Church advocates reforming the immigration system (after all, most of those illegal immigrants are Catholics).
            Anyway, it’s a pity Santorum is against birth control, as it’s a great thing. Channeling Benjamin (“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy”) Franklin: Birth control is proof that God loves us and wants us to love each other (while simultaneously not overpopulating the earth).
            Lest you think I have only negatives to say about Santorum, I will shift gears. Years ago, back when I was still in undergrad (and Santorum was still a Senator), a friend’s husband (then boyfriend) interned for Santorum. It wasn’t because he totally loved the guy (thank God!), but because he was from Pennsylvania and the internship program he was with would only set you up with your own state Congresspeople. And while Arlen Specter had no room at the inn, Santorum was on it. Anyway, my friend’s husband said he was a nice guy. Not nicest-guy-in-the-world nice, probably not even take-him-home-to-your-mother nice, but nice. Which, considering Santorum was a politician, is probably about all you can ask for.


Calendar of Coroner’s Rolls of the City of London AD 1300-1378. Ed. by Reginald R. 
            Sharpe. London: Richard Clay and Sons, Limited, 1913.

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