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Jack Graham

Jack Graham writes and podcasts about culture and politics from a Gothic Marxist-Humanist perspective. He co-hosts the I Don't Speak German podcast with Daniel Harper. Support Jack on Patreon.


  1. Camestros Felapton
    October 8, 2015 @ 6:08 am

    Hare’s psychopath criteria list:
    1. Glibness/superficial charm
    2. Grandiose sense of self-worth
    3. Pathological lying
    4. Cunning/manipulative
    5. Lack of remorse or guilt
    6. Emotionally shallow
    7. Callous/lack of empathy
    8. Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
    9. Need for stimulation/prone to boredom
    10. Parasitic lifestyle
    11. Lack of realistic long term goals
    12. Impulsivity
    13. Irresponsibility
    14. Poor behavioral controls
    15 Early behavior problems/Juvenile delinquency
    16. Criminal versatility
    Not all quite overtly fit Richard (e.g. point 11, maybe point 15 depending on how you take the other plays) but several (1,4,7,9) show up in the opening speech alone.


  2. Aylwin
    October 8, 2015 @ 7:51 am

    Even the ferocious Margaret, such a force in the earlier plays, is rendered ineffectual and eventually absent.

    To be fair, she left England forever in 1475, having been imprisoned since 1471 (shortly before the play begins), and died in 1482, yet Shakespeare has her still hanging around court as late as 1483/5. He edited her into the story, not out of it. It can’t signify all that much that the play doesn’t give her a more major role in events, when in reality she was out of the picture entirely.


  3. William McCormick
    October 8, 2015 @ 12:18 pm

    I just want to say that I would like more pop-feminist critique from you if it’s like this. This is quickly becoming my second favorite feature on the site.


  4. Shannon
    October 8, 2015 @ 1:43 pm

    First, I think the idea of Richard as being “too charming” and “too attractive” is a harmful way of looking at it. A lot of the pick-up artists and MRAs are actually bro, frat-boy types, who have the capability to be attractive and charming if they want to. They’re certainly not when they say the awful stuff that they do, but they know when to hide it and how to manipulate women, just like Richard. I think his conception of everything being a game and a play is actually very much in the wheelhouse of that same philosophy.

    On the subject of women in Shakespeare generally, I think it would be really interesting to get more insight on the comedies. Generally, the comedies make everyone look sort of dopey, but it’s not universal. I saw Love’s Labour’s Lost at the Globe several years ago and enjoyed it quite a bit more than the other comedies. I really appreciated that the women were quite aware of what the men were doing (often doing them one better) and had a better handle on what was actually important in life than the men did.


    • Daibhid C
      October 8, 2015 @ 6:41 pm

      A theory I slightly recall reading somewhere (no idea where or what evidence was provided, sorry) is that in Shakespeare’s acting days he specialised in female roles, which was part of the reason he generally made sure the women in his plays actually had something to do.

      I think it went on to speculate that he wrote the part of Anne specifically for himself, but I could be misremembering that bit.


    • plutoniumboss
      October 8, 2015 @ 11:14 pm

      “lot of the pick-up artists and MRAs are actually bro, frat-boy types, who have the capability to be attractive and charming if they want to.”

      That’s the rub. I spent a month or two reading PUA literature. What appealed to me about it was how we all seemed to share the same life experiences: a variant on the platonic looking male (not gargoyle ugly) with the undeveloped frame and weak chinned, Elijah Wood facial type. Nothing about them outwardly screams pariah, until they open their mouths. These people (and I count myself among them) have totally missed the boat on their social development. They had no friends in primary school and the isolation just compounded into their college years, where adult maturation takes place. This breeds soliphism.

      Now, I was lucky enough to be introduced to PUAs by an ex-member who had already grown disillusioned with them to a degree. What he observed was a bunch of man-children vying to be the alpha leader, and (of course) only succeeding in leading a pack of failures.


  5. Ross
    October 8, 2015 @ 3:14 pm

    After seeing Clarence snared by the trap he laid, Richard goes on to undertake one of the most famous ‘seduction’ scenes in all drama, the wooing of Lady Anne. He murdered her husband, the Lancastrian Prince Edward, and her father-in-law, Henry VI, and he forces his attentions upon her as she leads her dead father-in-law’s body to burial. Nevertheless, in the face of her spitting rage and vehement hatred, he manages to chat her up.

    I’m getting ahead of myself, since it’s relevant to a blog post I plan to put up next Wednesday, but back when I was in college, I saw the local theater troupe do Richard III, and the next role that the lead actor played a couple of months later was the Vicomte de Valmont in Les Liaisons Dangereuses (I play I find wonderful for the change it makes to the book’s ending by effectively saying “No need to resolve this now. Everyone’s getting their heads cut off in a bit as well they should”). As a result, I’ve always imagined a fundamental kinship between the two charaters.


  6. Nancy Lebovitz
    October 28, 2015 @ 11:39 am

    You might have some fun with “Venus and Adonis”– when I looked up analysis of it, it apparently took a fairly modern feminist to see it as a story about sexual harassment.

    At the moment, I’m not seeing Shakespeare as terrifying, or even especially fouled up. I’m seeing him as very sharp about people.


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