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Picture Analysis

Jan. 5th, 2012 | 07:54 pm

While looking though The Boston Public Library's Flickr account, I found this picture, and decided to share with you all the reasons I find it funny. Just for fun. I see a lot of these sorts of pictures! Everything is symbolic sure, but let's do this anyway.

The title is "News from America, or the patriots in the dumps", so if you were wondering how old the phrase "in the dumps" is, the answer is At Least 1776 Old.

The summary reads, "Lord North shows a letter from General Howe, whose victory at Long Island had just recently been announced. A dowdy, bare-breasted woman with a liberty cap falls down weeping and American ships sink in the background."

Where to begin?

Who is this jolly fellow?? Why it's the Prime Minister, Lord Frederick North. He certainly looks a lot more jovial here than in his glum official portrait-

Though perhaps that was painted after his side had lost the Revolution.

Speaking of Prime Ministers, yes, we are in Britain! That is where this cartoon is taking place. The Brits have won a victory at Long Island and everyone has shown up at the Vague Town Steps to hear the news. And by everyone, of course I mean:

A bunch of Americans! Yes, they took a wrong turn at Albuquerque and ended up on an English beach (damn this wartime geographic confusion!) just in time to have their noses shoved in the latest reports by the Prime Minister himself. Ho ho! They are displeased!

This person is especially displeased.

And what's this? Lady Liberty herself, sitting on the ground, tits out, weeping, too sad to even blow on her vuvuzela (remember those?). God it's like my prom all over again! But don't be too sad, American Liberty Woman, as Delacroix immortalized years later, if you're going to fight for Liberty, tits out is the way to go.

But let's look at the British folks gathered for the news.

Is that the king in the upper right corner? He's got that fishy-face weak-chinned Georgian King look. He's not gloating as much as the rest, he just bumped into everyone on his morning stroll. But here is what cannot be missed-

When, when is this gesture coming back as a big Fuck You? If someone did that to me I'd be confused but also sort of angry, like I know it's a dickish thing to gesture even though it's completely ridiculous.

And in the background, naturally,

A bunch of American ships are, first of all, there (what?) and second of all, sinking. Probably because they were foolish enough to sail to England! But also possibly because of those icebergs.

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