Kate Beaton’s fame as the author of Hark, A Vagrant! surely knows no bounds, but I thought I’d take this opportunity to talk about parodies of Victoriana (and the Victorian cultural heritage pervading our media) and lighten the mood. Two birds with one stone, amiright?
Remember the beginning of the year, when all was bright and full of potential? Remember the Irish totally making fun of the English in Dublin Castle, refusing to have their portraits taken (or alternately, being complete goofs in the process)? Yeah. So apparently the English weren’t the only fools, since Irish-American Fenians tried to hold Canada hostage in return for Ireland’s freedom. Neither I nor Kate Beaton kid ye, gentle reader. Well, Kate Beaton does, because that’s her style, but I don’t:
Originally intended to raise funds and materials for activism on Irish soil, the leaders of the Fenian Brotherhood surprised many with their repeated hostilities against British North America. The first leader to propose attacks on Canada reasoned that they would create problems for Britain, but as the aggressive plan divided Fenian membership in two, subsequent military actions seemed more congruent with the desires of Fenian leaders to assert their authority over rivaling factions.
I would say I’m surprised but, honestly, considering US history, I’m really not. This is, after all, the same country that put a genocidal maniac on the twenty dollar bill.
On a happier note, and since I promised some dude watching with the Brontës, it’s time to pay up.
Personally, I’m super pleased by this comic just because Kate Beaton consistently takes the best kinds of anachronistic liberties. Do I think Victorian ladies swore? Absolutely. Do I think Anne Brontë ever called someone an “alcoholic dickbag”? Not so much. But imagining that she did makes my day better.
More seriously, I love Beaton’s “take-no-shit” attitude with regard to the, uh…well, let’s just say “brooding” love interests. Confession: I haven’t actually read Wuthering Heights (a travesty for an English major, I know; well, there’s always winter break!), but I have read Jane Eyre, and I’m familiar enough with the general plot of Wuthering Heights to know that, super romantic or not, Heathcliffe is not exactly the type of person one would want for a love interest (not that Catherine is, either), and given that Rochester has a history of chaining his wives up in attics until they’re driven to madness and arson, he’s not looking so great either.
And yet, here are Charlotte and Emily Brontë, totally checking assholish dudes out, romanticizing rude behaviors left and right, berating Anne for “just telling the truth”: “Anne you are so inappropriate,” [sic] they tell her. “No wonder nobody ever buys your books.” But Anne, indignant and irate, fuming off to the corner while Emily and Charlotte ogle the mysterious dude du jour, makes me want to look her stuff up — or at least hang out with her for the rest of the party.