Jason Engwer has been responding to a commenter who goes by the avatar of “Richard.” However, “Richard” is not a real person.
The commenter in question is actually a fat, 10-year-old boy by the name of Barney who lives in Missoula Montana with his mom and stepdad.
Barney is often bullied at school because he speaks with a lisp and can’t hit a baseball. As a defense-mechanism, Barney has concocted the folkloric superhero of “Richard,” giving our subaltern boy the mythographic aretology of a polyglot historian and literary scholar. The socio-politically embellished metanarrative lends an air of palpability and honorific gravitas to his rhetorical performance–thereby fostering the illusion that he’s a formidable conversation partner.
We may safely assume that the nomen of “Richard” is just a literary vehicle or sociorhetorical construct, parroting banner language from thesaurus.com, as well as conventional protocols in Marvel comic books and the Disney Channel–far removed from the fat, lisping, henpecked, latrine-using 10-year-old in Missoula.
Modern mimesis and paideia in pulp fiction and Hollywood movies decidedly move in continuity and imitatio with regard to literary or cinematic modality and genre. “Richard’s” refusal to provide confirmable evidence retarding his academic identity, along with his recourse to the stock authority-figure of the expert witness, constitute modal signals pointing an astute reader to the mythographic genre of his emblematic narratology.