Rehabilitation of Richard III
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There's always time to turn your life around! Even when you're dead! People, what could be more American? Except for the part about how it's all happening in Britain. Getting Richard out from under the parking lot was just the beginning. The society's website is chock-full of information about his efforts "to provide justice for all, including the poor and the vulnerable", as well as his work as a "talented administrator" and patron of the printing industry. This guy would make an excellent ruler today, or at the very least a credible governor of Wisconsin.
Langley has also written a screenplay about Richard and his achievements — all of which, by the way, had to be accomplished during a two-year reign. The movie doesn't appear to have its financing yet, but a newspaper in Scotland, where the writer lives, reported that the lead role has been offered to the actor who played dwarf leader Thorin Oakenshield in the Hobbit movies.
Anyhow, what's left of Richard has been lying in solemn dignity on a black velvet cushion in the library of the University of Leicester, preparing for the next phase. His stock appears to be soaring. The cities of Leicester and York are already flinging petitions at one another, battling for the honour of hosting the next burial.
This is an excellent lesson in the importance of keeping your metaphorical chin up. Sure, you can lose your kingdom in the Battle of Bosworth Field, get smashed on the head with a halberd, stabbed all over the place by grudge-bearing soldiers, dumped in a hole in the ground and then ultimately become the subject of an exceedingly unflattering play. But there's still the chance of a turnaround.
There's nothing you can't get over if you hang in there long enough. Until now, Richard has been best known for grabbing the crown away from his young nephew and then sticking the boy and his brother in the Tower of London. It was a bad move, image-wise. But, politically speaking, it was a sin of process, like the way Lyndon Johnson stole his first Senate race, if only Johnson's opponent had wound up locked inside a state prison, never to be heard from again. The Richard III Society hopes to get past all that, as well as rumours about the king's monsterlike appearance. (One Tudor-era writer claimed he was born with teeth and shoulder-length hair, due to a two-year refusal to emerge from the womb.) A just-completed reconstruction of the long-gone monarch's head makes him look more like an undernourished Latin teacher. In 2313, maybe the Donald Trump Society will dig up the real estate developer and discover that he had a really terrific head of hair. There's hope for us all. We may be wrinkling now, but we'll look great in a few more millennia.Gail Collins
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