"Meme couldn't organize a piss-up in a brewery, nonny. Literally the only thing we've ever agreed on is that Angel Clare is a douchewaffle."
- Nonnie, Feb. 5, 2015
"She broke into sobs, and turned her back to him. It would almost have won round any man but Angel Clare. Within the remote depths of his constitution, so gentle and affectionate as he was in general, there lay hidden a hard logical deposit, like a vein of metal in a soft loam, which turned the edge of everything that attempted to traverse it. It had blocked his acceptance of the Church; it blocked his acceptance of Tess. Moreover, his affection itself was less fire than radiance, and, with regard to the other sex, when he ceased to believe he ceased to follow: contrasting in this with many impressionable natures, who remain sensuously infatuated with what they intellectually despise. He waited till her sobbing ceased."
- Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles, WIP completed 1892
Angel Clare (no relation to Cassandra Clare. No, not the Art Garfunkel album either) is a fictional character from the British literary classic Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Those who know him loathe him, those who do not know him only know that he is hated.
Why Angel Clare?
Because he abandoned his wife for being unchaste after she told him she'd been raped years ago by another man. Which she told him after he told her he had been unchaste in the past. And in the end, after his wife (the titular Tess of the D'Urbervilles) is executed for the murder of her rapist whom she had been forced to go back to due to Angel's abandoning her, Angel goes off and marries his wife's younger sister. A nonnie provides further quotations from the book here.
From "Angel Clare-Hating Nonnies" To "Meme Hates Angel Clare"
June 8, 2013: An early instance of Angel Clare hatred.
Sept. 17, 2013: The hate club begins to gather steam.
Oct. 13, 2013: Nonnies disagree on Thomas Hardy, agree on Angel Clare being awful. "If there was a Kickstarter for a game where you could have various characters punch Angel Clare in the face, I would back it."
Nov. 18, 2013: "I'm never quite sure whether there's several Angel Clare-hating nonnies, or just one who really hates him."
Feb. 13, 2014: "So, I've never read the book, and the first I'd ever heard of [Angel Clare] was memers hating his guts. Unfortunately, no one's said why he's so terrible. Would someone mind terribly explaining what he's done?" Nonnies oblige.
June 24, 2014: One nonny notes that Angel Clare is just about the only character no one has ever enthusiastically defended in a "Characters you despise" thread. (Another tries to make a similar case for Shou Tucker from Fullmetal Alchemist but is shocked to learn Tucker has at least one sympathizer more than Angel Clare)
Since then, it has always been known that meme hates Angel Clare, and comparisons to Angel Clare have frequently beenmade to underscore a character's loathsomeness.
Angel Clare has also inspired a mod icon, or rather, a post about how Angel Clare should be sent a swan in a box inspired a mod icon. Angel Clare himself was not commemorated in icon form, though one nonnie helpfully provided pics of various screen portrayals of him for that purpose. Upon beholding the faces of Angel Clare for the first time, nonnies turned to stone responded as follows
- Geez, they all look so damn punchable. I'm a nonnie who's generally okay with Redmayne and his face but even I want to clock him a good one after those pics.
- The one with Tess in a blue dress might as well be labeled "Official D bag Expression #3"
- Wait wait, THAT'S Angel Clare? I thought Angel Clare was some wanky fandom bnf.
Other Notable References
Nonnies were horrified to learn that Angel Clare is namedropped in the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise as an "impossible romantic hero" and that Christian "My Cock Agrees" Grey sends Anastasia Steele a copy of Tess of the D'Urbervilles as his first romantic overture.
"I am choosing to believe that he just spends his time stroking the covers, tutting at Jude for failing to pull himself up by his bootstraps, and wondering if he'll ever manage to be as much of a sensitive, compassionate ladies' man as Angel 'I am the dick in this box' Clare, but frankly the possibility that he was in fact earnestly fanboying Alec 'repeat rapist' D'Urberville is, well, going by his canonical thoughts on 'romantic heroes', NOT THAT FAR-FETCHED."
Jan. 21, 2015: "I think he's cute. But he played Angel Clare once and I think a bit of that hideousness always sticks to an actors soul, like a horcrux."
Feb. 5, 2015: Nonnies write a Buffy/Tess crossover fix-it fic after some confusion between Angel Clare and vampire detective Angel.
April 7, 2015: "Tangentially, I also love the way hatred of Angel Clare is the only opinion so universally held that there isn't ever any pushback on it. Not in Unpopular Opinions, not in characters-we-hate threads where every other character named has dissenters championing them, not anywhere. We are a meme united! Around our opinion of a character in a Thomas Hardy novel. It's almost better than Red Delicious wank as a defining characteristic."
Of course, let us never forget the short-lived "Angel Clare Love Thread."