1026: Compare and Contrast
|Compare and Contrast|
Title text: Frankly, I see no difference between thee and a summer's day. Only Ron Paul offers a TRUE alternative!
A reference to the most well-known sonnet in the English-speaking world: William Shakespeare's "Sonnet 18", the first line of which is: "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?". In this comic Randall sets about this in a typically goal-oriented chart, as opposed to the rather more romantic poetry of the Bard.
The lines are:
1. The first line is a reference to the sonnet itself, which reads: "Thou art more lovely and more temperate". He considers both thee and a summer's day to be "fair" (this is a pun; depending on context, "fair" can refer to complexion or weather) and "temperate" (meaning "warm", which again can describe a person or the weather).
2. "Hot, sticky" also refers to both, in different ways. "Hot" can mean sexually attractive or simply that the temperature is high. A "sticky" day refers to humidity.
3. "Short" is another pun. "Thee" is not tall. A summer day is chronologically long (time from dawn to dusk.)
4. "Harbinger of hurricane season" is technically accurate; hurricane season does follow the summer.
5. "Required for a good beach party" is not a pun, although it is another example of a word with slightly different meanings. The party is required to be held on summer's day and with "thee" present at the party. The party would not be held on "thee", although some of the other lines suggest that the writer might personally be on top of "thee" during the party.
6. The claim that a summer's day is a "major cause of heat stroke in the elderly" is dubious. Heat stroke typically occurs outdoors, and the elderly are likely to stay indoors on a hot summer's day.
7. "Linked to higher rates of juvenile delinquency" apparently refers juveniles committing crimes in the summer. However, this results, to some degree, from school not being in session, rather than simply as a direct result of the summer weather.
8. "Sometimes too stifling" is another pun. It is also unusual in that it expresses a negative feeling about "thee", unlike the other entries which express what the author likes or admires about thee.
9. "Arrested for releasing snakes in the library" is possibly inspired by the movie Snakes on a Plane.
10. The last line "difficult to focus on work while I'm in" is a sexual reference, on the "thee" side, not on the "summer's day" side. To be "in" someone refers to the penetrative part of sex, which would occupy a typical person's attention (with the notable exception of Bill Clinton who reputedly conducted a work-related phone call while doing something else with Monica Lewinsky).
In Shakespeare's day, English had informal pronouns and formal pronouns, thou/thee (informal), and ye/you (formal). This is similar to what is still used today in many European languages. Wikipedia has a nice chart for all of English's personal pronouns, current and archaic.
For both the chart and the original sonnet, whether or not the work is autobiographical is unknown. Also unknown is the identity of the person whom each work refers to. It is believed that Sonnet 18 is addressed to a young man.
And of course, the title text is a reference to Ron Paul, a former Republican candidate for President who was on top in the Republican Primary against a few other challengers for the nomination. Ron Paul was frequently represented on the internet using similar language to the image text. Paul has been seen as an alternative because he is a strict Libertarian and believes the government should be as small as possible and stay out of people's lives.
- [A checklist comparing thee to a summer's day:
- Fair, Temperate: Thee & A Summer's Day
- Hot, Sticky: Thee & A Summer's Day
- Short: Thee
- Harbinger of Hurricane Season: A Summer's Day
- Required for a Good Beach Party: Thee & A Summer's Day
- Major Cause of Heat Stroke in the Elderly: A Summer's Day
- Linked to Higher Rates of Juvenile Delinquency: Thee & A Summer's Day
- Sometimes Too Stifling: Thee & A Summer's Day
- Arrested for Releasing Snakes in Library: Thee
- Difficult to Focus on Work While I'm In: Thee & A Summer's Day]
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