( click on image to enlarge )
Very old, nursery rhymes can sometimes acquire some unexpected, coincidental
relevance to our currant events. For many frustrated and angry Americans, the
children's rhyme about Humpty Dumpty and his illogical wall, has come to mind again,
during this Trump, government shutdown of the last several weeks.
That enduring, popular little rhyme dates clear back to the mid fifteenth century,
but its exact reference to a specific person or event has been lost to history. Over
the passing years, Humpty came to be thought of, and portrayed as a self-obsessed
egg. Lewis Carroll wrote of him as a character which can be seen as being uncannily
similar to the currant occupant of the White House. In his Through The Looking
Glass stories, from 1872, ( with classic illustrations by John Tenniel ) Alice encounters
Humpty Dumpty seated on his wall, and she soon discovers that he has a closed mind,
and that he thinks the truth is whatever he says it is.
"When I use a word" Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone,
"it means just what I choose it to mean ---neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so
many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master -- that's all."
For over two years now, Humpty Trumpty has been vowing to make America
backwards again, and doing his best to carry out that vow. If Lewis Carroll were
alive today, he might be tempted to write a new version of little Alice's strange visit to
Wonderland. In this modern rewrite, he might tell of the adventures of a new heroine
named Nancy, stepping through the looking glass, into Backwardland, to lead the way
forward to a path of progress. He would probably write that Humpty will have to
take the offer of Nancy's hand, in order save himself from the fatal fall, off of his castle
The illustration of Humpty Tumpty, above, is my adaptation of an illustration by
John Tenniel, for Lewis Carroll's Through The Looking Glass.