6 Iconic Works Of Art With Brutal Insults Hidden In Them
We all take our petty little revenges where we can. If someone cuts you off in traffic, you give them the finger. If one of your co-workers eats your lunch, you pee in the coffee maker. If someone talks at the movies, you follow them home, dress like a clown, and shriek their children awake every night for the rest of their lives. But not everyone keeps things so reasonable. Here are artists who held onto grudges so long and so hard that their petty revenge became immortalized in their work.
Harry Potter Is Full Of J.K. Rowling's Secret Insults
We're at a cultural point where anyone who needs Harry Potter explained to them is clearly a robot trying to gain sentience. So we're skipping the explanation of who Harry Potter is. Better luck next time, robot. For the rest of you, it turns out that J.K. Rowling makes it a habit to turn real people from her life into characters in her books, and for turning those characters into revenge. For instance, when Stephen Fry was hired to narrate the first audio book, he was told that a sequel was already in the works. Fry congratulated this Rowling person whom he'd just met with, "Good for you." She took it as an insult and never forgot it. It got petty.
When recording the book, Fry had trouble saying the words "pocketed it." Through a bizarre speech impediment, it always came out as "pocketeded it." So he called her up and asked if he could change it. Rowling gave a hard no. And then, through sheer coincidence, the phrase "pocketed it," appeared in the next four Harry Potter books. That's how ridiculous this woman was willing to get for the tiniest amount of revenge.
Which brings us to the character of Gilderoy Lockhart, the blowhard teacher from Chamber Of Secrets. He was based on a man Rowling knew and despised, who was constantly bragging about things that almost certainly never happened. So she made him a character in her book who nearly helps Magic Hitler rise to power and gets his brain wiped. Then, after publicly announcing that this shithead was based on a real guy, Rowling said, "Don't worry ... he will never in a million years dream that he is Gilderoy Lockhart." So everyone who has ever met J.K. Rowling, take note: There's a decent chance she thinks you're a stupid asshole.
Based on a real stupid asshole.
Another character, Harry's vile Aunt Marge, was based on one of Rowling's family members who "liked dogs more than people." But there's one character who rises above all others in the annals of hated Harry Potter Characters. The one character whom every fan agrees is the most evil and hated. No, not Voldemort. Not Lockhart. Not even the sniveling Wormtail.
It's Dolores Umbridge. Her name literally means "annoyance and offense."
You goddamn bitch.
If you saw the movies, you might remember Umbridge as the short one dressed in all-pink who makes Harry write with a pen that carves letters into his flesh. Seemed a bit much, right? Well, she was based on a teacher Rowling knew whom she described as someone she "disliked intensely on sight." The feeling was mutual, and Rowling described her style as being "appropriate to a girl of three."
Imagine you're a teacher trying your best to enrich young minds. One of your students (though not your favorite) has become the most successful writer since God. Excited, you open one of her books and find someone who's clearly you, written as a dimwitted servant of evil dressed for a children's tea party. Oh well, you guess she never forgave you for those detentions ...
"That was just the once, you crybaby."
... and then later in the book, your character is dragged into the woods by centaurs -- a scene which we're almost certain implies that they then raped her. (That centaurs rape human women is a central part of the lore around them. For example, the centaur Nessus was killed while trying to rape a human woman.) Yeah, that's how freaking dark this gets. J.K. Rowling didn't get along with one of her teachers, so she had the teacher get (presumably) sexually violated by horse-men in a children's book. Then she announces to the world that this hag getting speared in every hole by centaur cock is based on a real person. "Not to *wink!* name any names, but it was one of my teachers, and here's a description!"
"Does she have kids? They just watched Stand-In Mommy lose all hope and dignity. Oh joy!"
So if you ever had an argument with J.K. Rowling, give the books another read. There's a good chance a goblin based on you has been torn apart by unicorns for the amusement of children.
Muslim Street Artists Bash Homeland ... On Homeland
Homeland is a show with so many insane twists that it's more of a practical joke on the viewer than a story. But that's not why it's controversial. It's about CIA agents fighting Islamic terrorism, and it's been called everything from insulting and demeaning to borderline racist. Basically, the show handles controversial issues the same way Donald Trump might list his favorite Mexicans -- it's not quite "bigoted," but it's definitely uncomfortable.
So some of Homeland's detractors decided to speak out against the show from inside the show itself. One episode took place in a Syrian refugee camp. Because the writers are all white Americans with little-to-no Syrian refugee camp experience, they decided to let some people who knew Arabic decorate the set with graffiti. You probably see where this is going. They wrote smart-ass messages everywhere.
This says "Homeland is watermelon," which is meaner than it sounds in Arabic.
The three artists hired were Don Karl, Heba Amin, and Caram Kapp, and they felt that the show made Arabs and Muslims feel hated and helped shape negative opinions. So they said so, in Arabic, right in front of the producers' non-Arabic-speaking faces.
"This show does not represent the view of the artists."
The entire situation seems a bit obvious in hindsight. Homeland is the only show on TV that hires Middle-Eastern actors, and most of them either play suicide bombers or regular bombers. So when the same show hires Middle-Eastern set designers and tells them to make it super Arab-y, no one should be surprised if they respond by trolling you.
Actual translation: "Homeland is racist." Oh, and "NO MICKEY MOUSE."
The God-We-Wish-It-Were-True Story Of "The Cask Of Amontillado"
"The Cask Of Amontillado" is one of Edgar Allan Poe's most famous works. It's about a man who gets revenge on a friend by luring him underground with wine and then entombing him alive. He leaves the man chained to a wall to die, mocking the man's screams for mercy. A few vague details are given, but it's never made clear to the reader what injustice inspired the murder. Even for Poe, it was a bit dark.
"Once you're dead, I'm giving your corpse the teabagging of Amontillado."
And it all started because another writer was sort of a douche.
Like all writers, Edgar Allan Poe had a wonderful sex life, great hair, all the money in the world, and countless enemies. One of them was a writer named Thomas Dunn English. The two hated each other, and Thomas wrote a spoof of Poe into one of his stories: a character named Marmaduke Hammerhead who writes a story called "The Black Crow," acts crazy, and is drunk all the time.
Poe didn't think it was cute. He filed a lawsuit against the paper English worked for, and won. Still unsatisfied, Poe decided to put him into a story. And in that story, he dressed the man like a jester, walled him up in a dungeon, and let madness and starvation race to destroy him. In ... in fiction! Only in fiction.
This was his response to being called crazy.
As you might have guessed, the poor drunk idiot who gets buried alive in "The Cask Of Amontillado" was based on English. So if you had to read the story in high school and none of you could figure out what the hell the guy did to deserve such a dark fate, now you know. He gently mocked Edgar Allan Poe. When Poe kills you in a story, he dresses you like a clown and lets you whimper for your life alone in the blackness. As opposed to doing you in with the whimsy of a centaur penis.
Willow Turned Multiple Movie Critics Into Villains
Though you put your heart and soul into a work of art, there will always be a critic there to tell you it sucks. It happens no matter how great your art happens to be, but it happens a lot if your art -- like Willow -- kind of sucks.
Maybe in a preemptive strike against their inevitable insults, or maybe as revenge for past critiques, George Lucas named two of the villains in Willow after film critics. The first was General Kael, a skull-headed warlord named after Pauline Kael, who had called Star Wars an exhausting circus with no emotional grip. Well fuck you, Pauline, you're an evil skeleton now. In Willow.
"You look hopelessly cool and impossibly badass. Aren't you ashamed?"
And this wasn't the only time this happened to Kael. The same year Willow came out, an analog of her also appeared in the Dirty Harry movie The Dead Pool. Apparently, the filmmakers still hadn't forgiven her for calling Dirty Harry "fascist, pro-violence, pro-gun, conservative nuttery garbage." So they based a character on her, and then had that character get brutally stabbed to death. That'll show her who's pro-violence!
"I know what you're thinking: six gaping gushing wounds, or only five?"
You might believe that George Lucas was outdone, since his insult was merely naming some guy "Kael," while Dirty Harry went all-out and butchered her. Maybe you're right. But wait until you hear about the other critics who took a hit in Willow. This one is brutal.
At the end of Willow, a two-headed fire-breathing dragon appears. George knew the dragon could be more than a spectacular ending to history's greatest film -- it was his chance to get revenge for every mean thing Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert had ever said about his movies. Those guys would rue the day they crossed the artistic juggernaut of George Lucas!
He named the dragon Eborsisk.
"We give it two deformed-looking whale dicks up."
Oh, shit! Can you imagine what Siskel and Ebert must have thought when they heard that!? With one name (which is never even spoken aloud), Lucas annihilated them both and dropped the mic. Eborsisk! That's like both their names in one! It was the snap heard around the world ... Eborsisk. The moment some supplemental material revealed that the dragon's name was Eborsisk, the world knew never to question George Lucas' filmmaking abilities again.
The Symbolic Middle Finger In The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn
The writer Sir Walter Scott isn't exactly a household name, but there's a decent chance you're familiar with some of his work, like Ivanhoe and Rob Roy. Unfortunately for him, the most famous book in which his name appears is The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn. And that's because Mark Twain goddamn hated Walter Scott.
Even more than he hates you for misquoting him on Facebook.
Twain thought that Scott's writing romanticized war, and was worried that young men were reading about the glories of battle and running off to fight. He felt that Scott's novels were to blame for much of the "windy humbuggeries" of the South, which led to things like duels or even the Civil War itself. He felt that Scott's novels perpetuated the delusion that Southerners were noble heroes and gentlemen, despite their participation in barbaric frontier justice and the owning of other humans. So Twain decided to immortalize his hatred of Sir Walter Scott in art.
If you don't recall the plot of Huck Finn, it's about a runaway boy and an escaped slave traveling down the Mississippi River, and the language hasn't aged well. What you may have never noticed was an artistic insult to Scott encoded into their journey. In the novel, Twain named a steamboat after the object of his disdain; the Walter Scott is carried away by a strong current and wrecked against some rocks.
"The reclaimed wood was then turned into an outhouse which was consistently full of shit."
It was meant to symbolize the way the Old South rode along on Scott's weak back toward an out-of-control disaster (the Civil War). It's a bit more subtle than burying someone alive or penetrating them with a centaur, but it translates to the same thing: "Fuck you, Sir Walter Scott."
DC And Marvel Piss On Their Movies
In its very first trailer, Man Of Steel featured a quote from Grant Morrison's All-Star Superman. This was strange mainly because All-Star Superman is considered one of the greatest Superman stories ever told, and Man Of Steel was a 150-minute tantrum thrown by idiot space children. Besides having a laser-eyed alien as the main character, they could not be more different. In Man Of Steel, Superman snaps necks and watches dads die. In All-Star Superman, he is infallible and benevolent. He's almost portrayed as God.
It's not even that subtle about it.
Morrison digs the idea of Superman being a perfect combination of every human ideal. So he was understandably ticked off that this "gritty" movie in which Superman is a petty thug used a quote from his work. But since he wrote Action Comics, Superman's flagship title, it probably wasn't appropriate for him to come out and publicly talk shit about the movie. Instead, he carefully wove all that shit-talking into a Superman story.
In a long, mind-bending story that makes Memento look like Blue's Clues, Morrison introduced a creature called Super-Doomsday.
We're sure that swastika-looking "S" was purely coincidental.
It's created by scientists attempting to make a pure and inspirational figure, but in their desperation, they sold him off to a corporation which turned him into "a violent, troubled, faceless anti-hero ... a global marketing icon."
"Oh, I get it. You're like a metapho-AARRRGH! LASER BEAMS!!!"
Superman eventually unmasks him and reveals a twisted half-Superman/half-Doomsday -- which is eerily similar to the version of Doomsday's origin in the upcoming Batman v. Superman.
"Ugh. Doomsday is some Kryptonian DNA with monster shit attached? What horrible fiend would green-light that idea!?"
Morrison got extremely heavy-handed as he wrote. The commercialized Superman is powered by "a simple corporate directive: annihilate the competition." And if that wasn't obvious enough, the big bad behind Super-Doomsday (an imp from the fifth dimension) comes right out and explains it:
Able to squeeze endless exposition in a single panel ...
"There's blood on your noble crest. A stain that can never come out. The mark of betrayal and exploitation ... Your "S" a dollar sign!" It almost sounds like he's referencing a very specific event. Hmm ... wonder what it could be?
"Hkk! This ... shows a fundamental misunderstanding ... hkk! ... of 80 years of character development!"
While on the subject of literary superhero revenge, Marvel had a similar rebuttal to a bad movie in the pages of Fantastic Four. In one issue, a group of people bearing a strong resemblance to the stars of the terrible, terrible Fantastic Four reboot sit around talking about a movie that they worked on with a director named "Trang." This is probably a reference to FF director Josh Trank, but it's so profoundly unclever that it almost seems impossible.
Turning that "4" on his shirt into four middle fingers would've been wittier.
And then this happens:
"We had to level the whole city in case they wanted to cast a reboot."
That's it -- over the course of three panels, Marvel wordlessly exploded them. It's the kind of hamfisted message that makes you long for the subtlety of a fifth-dimensional imp appearing to explain the joke. Or, of course, the sophisticated nuance of J.K. Rowling's unwanted centaur cocks.
Tara Marie would like this opportunity to let everyone know that she doesn't still hold a grudge against Rebecca Gomez for "misplacing" her first edition of The Dark Tower: Gunslinger. She's not mad at all. Definitely not.
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Always be kind, because you never know when you'll end up a joke in someone else's creation. See more of that in 6 Brilliant Insults Hidden In Video Games As Easter Eggs and 6 Famous Works Of Art You Didn't Know Were Vicious Insults.
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