Richard, Dick and the nature of reality

There are few names which capture what it means to be American more than Richard. It's a name with many permutations, all which capture the Zeitgeist and Richards, in many ways, have defined our identity as Americans. Even more so, Richard as a name defines the period of modernism, the time where understanding of technology and an unquenchable optimism reigned, before giving way to post-modernists denial of a fixed reality. However, its inverse, with the fact that Richards morphs into Riches, Dicks, Ikey and Ricks, means that this name is also quintessentially post-modern, representing the continual deconstruction of identity into infinite permutations, challenging the essential nature of Richardness.

I'd argue that Richard is the Ulysses of names, being both a Modern and Postmodern masterpiece.

Let's think about the nature of these names:

Richard: Men who go by the name of Richard by nature are unfriendly and sweaty. While brilliant, underneath is a moist underbelly of deceit that prevents them from becoming casually sexy or a good old boy. If you hung out with them or put them on your raucously, inappropriate variety show, you'd feel uncomfortable and awkward. It'd be like inviting the local spinster librarian (to use a mid-century stereotype) over for bong hits and bukkake. That librarian would also be moist and creepy. Pictured here is Richard Nixon—some argue that they like to call him Dick. Richard Nixon may have been a dick at times, but he is never a Dick. There is no Richard that is more Richardly than Richard Nixon.

Hey you, you, little girl, fuck you.

Dick: My guess is that you guys probably think "Dick Van Dyke is such a nice guy" but he's not really a Dick—Dick Van Dyke (as referenced later) should actually be an Ike and I suspect it had to do with career issues rather than a definition of his essence. Dicks embody the essence of Dickishness. The name has significant power, indicating a indefatigable confidence and a complete and active disdain of humanity. They are strong, likely good in bed and the type of people that would laugh at your tears while they fuck your girlfriend or hatch a scheme to rob you of your retirement fund. Dick Cheney is the ultimate Dick. He shot a guy in the face when he was vice president and that guy later apologized to him—he apologized to him. Goddamnit, what a dick.


Rick: Ricks at first seem like Dicks, but they don't have dark brilliance of a Dick. If Dick is like the Emperor on Star Wars, then Rick is like the dumbest Stormtrooper, who likes to talk the other Stormtroopers about bitchin' it would be to outfit one of the X-fighters with an eight track player. Ricks like I-Rocs, Z-28s, Wrangler Jeans and feathering their hair. Rick Perry is the ultimate Rick—you think he's considering the state of the economy but he's really thinking, Damn, I wish I was listening to Molly Hatchet.


Ike: Ike is a good time girl—a benign purveyor of fun. He will make you a delicious highball and I'd bet that he'd totally beat you at cribbage but then he'd laugh and tell you that you are a swell and capital guy. Ike Eisenhower is definitely an Ike—his campaign slogan was "I like Ike" because I mean, how the fuck wouldn't you like Ike? He's your slightly bland pal, who enjoys boring you by telling you that his favorite director is Ron Howard or he really, really likes NCIS. Just to clarify, Dick Van Dyke is a slightly more interesting Ike whereas Ike Turner is definitely a Dick. It also stands to reason that the essence of Ikeness can be summed up in the reality that "I like Ike" sounds a whole lot different than "I like Dick." (**PS Ike is apparently a diminutive for Isaac but I grew up with Richards called Ike so I will stand by this poorly constructed idea! That worked for Lacan.)

Rich: Rich's tend to have the most significant identity crises of all the Richards, wondering if they truly embody the Richardness of the name. Rich might sound confident (Look at me, I have a name that means I have cash money) but if they were truly confident, their name would be Dick (I took all your money and now I'm going to fuck your wife after I bury you in a shallow grave). Rich is the most embarrassing of all the Richard permutations, a half hearted attempt at both legitimacy and intimacy that fails on both accounts. Comedians tend to be Rich's as they both attempt bravado and are mired in the type of self hatred that would never affect the evil Dick nor the superficial Rick. In many ways, despite the terrible name, Rich tends to be the soul of the Richard universe. Rich Little is the ultimate Rich because of his desire to hide his identity behind more confident persona and because the name itself revealed his true fears. Yes, I'm Rich, but I'm little, likely harkening back to a childhood, where he blustered his way around, while fearing engulfment and annihilation.