27 Comments

  1. Thanks for that link, Ignatzz. The shop there does a nice job with the sales event banner alluding to the source (Richard III).

    My point about the usual truncated quotation changing the sense may or may not be familiar. Often the point the speaker or writer is wanting to make is like “We’re now experiencing depressing (metaphorically wintry) circumstances.” But in the original

    Now is the winter of our discontent
    Made glorious summer by this sun of York;

    once you get past the syntactic oddity of “Now is xxx MADE ..” , the point, however ironic or underhanded, is ostensibly positive. “The winter of our discontent HAS NOW BEEN MADE into glorious summer…”.

    Also there is lost the pun on “sun/son of York”. My job was under the direction of a Professor York; and for a while, on one of several special projects under our care, he brought in his son as a developer. Whenever Sean would come in for a meeting or something, one of our regular crew was likely to say some longer or shorter version of that quotation, ending with that emphatic “son of York”. Yeah, sometimes just “Oh hi, son-of-York”.

  2. Powers, if you are asking about the tagging of the post here, it was based just on what is printed in the cartoon; so Brookins and Susie MacNelly were both tagged. But it is an interesting background question whether they are just continuing a courtesy credit (or like the memorial mention of Jeff MacNelly at the top). I’m not deep into it, but from http://www.shoecomics.com/about-shoe-the-comic-strip.php we have this:

    Shoe was created by three-time Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist, Jeff MacNelly in 1977. [...] Jeff died of cancer in 2000. The strip is carried on by his widow, Susie MacNelly and his long-time assistant, Chris Cassatt. Gary Brookins handles the magic brush.

  3. The Mike du Jour has me feeling that the gods may have created the whole pandemic so that that pun could have the punch it has in this context. I like it.

  4. I don’t know why “Now is the winter of our discontent” gets cut short, but I think it’s just that many of Shakespeare’s short phrases are much more memorable than their complete lines. “The milk of human kindness.” “In one fell swoop.”
    There is also the comic technique of taking an old saying and cutting it short to get a new saying that is contradictory but more accurate: “All work and no play makes jack.”

  5. After I submitted the comic, I realized that I have to explain; the word “jack” used to be a synonym for moolah, lucre, bucks, scratch, i.e. money. “All work and no play makes money.” Now of course it is short for “jack s–t” meaning nothing, so if I say it now you think “All work and no play makes nothing.” Which, though cynical, may be even more accurate these days.

  6. I don’t see that the truncated quotation “changes the meaning.’ In RICHARD III, Richard’s opening monologue indeed goes on to say that their “winter’ has been made glorious summer by the sun of York yadda yadda, but that very statement implies that much/most of the chornologically previous plays (the HENRY VI trilogy) was thus set IN that “winter of discontent.’

    So SHOE is comparing their uncomfortable situation to England under the Lancastrians during various periods of the Wars of the Roses in the 15th century. That’s pretty deep stuff for a bird, but since it’s a talking bird who wears clothes and knows where to buy camping equipment I don’t know why it wouldn’t also have a good basic layfowl’s knowledge of English history and of Elizabethan drama.

  7. Thanks, Powers, for shedding some light on the credits and signatures. It makes sense to count the signatures actually within a drawing more than the printed credits; but it is hard to say how to fit in the info from external articles too.

  8. Shrug, while there’s something admirable about your work to fully contextualize the quotation with the whole series of the history plays, I think that misses the point about the misquotation and distortion of meaning complained about – which is mostly meant decontextualized, apart from completing the sentence.

    The point is based in the difficulty of the “now is X Y’ed” for modern ears (or eyes). It’s typically said for the effect of “Now it’s winter” but that is clearly not the sense of the whole sentence once you untwist the “now is” to get “Winter has now been made more like summer”. Those are different for sure.

  9. All this talk about miscontextualized Shakespeare quotations and no mention of “Wherefore art thou Romeo?”

    (Or should I have said, “In all this discussion, wherefore is ‘wherefore art thou Romeo’ …not mentioned?” 😉 )

  10. @larK I feel it may be hard enough to tell someone they’ve made that mistake, but when that mistake has been embedded in every cell of the mistake-maker’s body by the beloved “The Wizard of Oz” motion picture, and preserved in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress for the remainder of Earth’s existence in the Universe, one might not want to be the bearer of such news. I wonder if more people know the correct meaning of “comprise” and begging the question than know that of “wherefore”.
    Personally, I never could understand the her speech for, I think, the first 40 years of my life before I read a book about all the famous and important Shakespeare quotes (“Brush up your Shakespeare!”, a wonderful easy-reading reference for clearing up such things (and for my picking speaches to memorize)).

  11. While I don’t think “one fell swoop” is that much misquoted or misunderstood AS A WHOLE, many modern speakers / writers seem to misunderstand the original meaning of “fell” and its role in the phrase. It meant evil or malign. The meaning of “multiple instances taken all at once” did not come from “fell” at all (but from both “one” and “swoop” I guess).

  12. “every cell of the mistake-maker’s body by the beloved “The Wizard of Oz” motion picture”

    1) It’s a very minor line I don’t think many people notice or think about 2) It doesn’t interpret any meaning; just that a voice will say it.

  13. How about “gunsel”?

    Brian, how about it as what? I’m not sure what part of the thread you’re replying into.

    But it is indeed a fun anecdote, if you care to tell it in full. I don’t recall whether it was about “The Big Sleep” or “The Maltese Falcon”; and whether the clever sneak was done by the novelist (respectively Chandler or Hammett) or one of the screenwriters.

  14. Shakespeare continues to be a source of titles for novels. This Rough Magic. Something Wicked This Way Comes. The Dogs of War. The Sound and the Fury.

  15. Right, in the “misunderstood words” category. Many people reading it didn’t know what it meant, so they used context to come up with an explanation that was totally incorrect.

  16. Many people reading it didn’t know what it meant, so they used context to come up with an explanation that was totally incorrect

    Yes, just as intended by the author! To get it by the censorious publisher.

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