A Critic's Meta-Review: 4/5

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle (1853-1911). Published by planksip.

Rob from the rich, steal from the poor. Did you hear that, workers of the world? We must unite and establish a dictatorship of the proletariat. Gone are the days when the bourgeoisie was able to carelessly galavant about the town, flaunting their dollars and dimes while the rest of us could barely keep our pennies together. Those days are over.

Written and published thirty-five years after Karl Marx and his hype man Friedrich Engels dropped The Communist Manifesto, their paradigm-shifting debut project (in many ways, their Illmatic or their College Dropout, in terms of how it revolutionized the game) and sixteen years after they released their follow up effort, Das Kapital (far from a sophomore slump—in many ways, their It Was Written or their Late Registration, in terms of how it allowed them to expand on the message they had put forth initially, but updated to reflect the current capitalist landscape and all the things they had heard ‘em say these days - “‘em” being, of course, the exploitative owners of the means of production), Howard Pyle’s (no relation to Gomer Pyle) The Merry Adventures Of Robin Hood was more than just a repackaging of old English children’s folk tales with a bit of a nineteenth-century twist. No, not at all.

Robin Hood? More like Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov! The Merry Men? More like the Red Army of workers and peasants; the Sheriff Of Nottingham? More like Tsar Nicholas II, the last of the Romanovs. You see, none of this was by chance. Chance is not even real - the concept of chance, that is (the rapper, fortunately, is very much real and very good live, although he does not always pick the best opening acts). Chance is nothing but an artificial human construct. And, like all artificial human constructs, it is ultimately meaningless.

Everything has a purpose. You did not apply toilet paper to your doo doo splattered bum this morning due to some sort of strange coincidence, or the way in which the stars were aligned last night; you wiped down your butt cheeks because they were covered in crud - muddy crud.

I am just going to go ahead and put that chocolate pudding back in the fridge…


Howie Pyle did not publish this book to entertain you. He published it to radicalize you. He was a revolutionary. But, to him, the pen was far mightier than the sword. I would argue that it still is and always will be. If you want to have a lasting impact, you must first win over people’s hearts and minds before you start putting bullets in them.

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