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.
"Thee" is a form of the archaic second-person singular pronoun "thou". In Shakespeare's day, English had more second-person pronouns in common use, thou/thee (informal/singular), and you (formal/plural). This is similar to second-person pronouns in many modern European languages, such as French. 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.
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" (the subject of the comparison with the summer's day) 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 a 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. Heat stroke is a condition mainly affecting children and the elderly. Heat waves and excessively hot days are highly linked with heat stroke incidence; see Epidemiology
7. "Linked to higher rates of juvenile delinquency" refers to juveniles committing crimes. Apparently, "thee" is either a juvenile delinquent or inspires juvenile delinquency (or both). Summer is also linked to juvenile delinquency. 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 a fairly self-explanatory criterion. Apparently "thee" has been caught doing this. A summer's day, on the other hand, cannot be arrested at all, much less for this. This 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. Summer can be distracting from work due to heat, excitement, or just the general feeling of the season.
The title text is a reference to Ron Paul, a 2012 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 title text (with Paul offering an alternative to typical Republican and Democratic candidates. Paul was seen by many as an alternative because of his Libertarian views.
- [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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