The Colour Yellow

Hello and welcome to another week of delightful dishonesty here at Factually Deficient! Before I continue, I would like to take the opportunity to encourage my readers to send me questions at any hour of the day or night, on any topic imaginable, with the guarantee that all questions, eventually, will be answered, but not one of them truthfully.

Today I address a question asked some time ago by my friend Melissa. Melissa asked:

Why yellow?

This question is phrased in a very broad, almost vague fashion, and I am forced to assume that Melissa’s intention is not merely to analyse a specific selection but to question the very fundamental nature of the colour spectrum with which we are familiar. Why is yellow?

Every hue, of course, of the visible and invisible spectra has its own legend, its own origin story–whether the grand heroics of blue in its quest to prove itself, or the stunning pathos of the tragedy that lurks in ultraviolet’s past. But those are stories for another day, for today we speak about yellow.

Many people incorrectly identify the colour yellow with cowardice; this is absurd. Nor is the connection between yellow and happiness, or “sunny” dispsitions, any closer to the truth.

Back when the world was new, there were two primary colours, two major players on the visible spectrum: red and blue, the warm and the cold. They were opposites in many ways, and reacted violently with each other, unable to easily find shared ground. When at last they managed to combine, in the hopes that their offspring would help populate the spectra, they were disappointed: while violet was lovely, it was too weak on its own to create meaningfully different shades with red and blue.

Members of the Plant and Animal Kingdoms tried valiantly to help Red and Blue, but it was to no avail; they were too different in essence from colours to help the two find common ground.

Finally, a valiant warrior rode up, hailing–of all places–from the Mold Kingdom. He watched distantly as Red and Blue quarrelled and then, borrowing a knife, he grimly cut his very essence from his body. His mold fell away and all that was left of him was colour, named for his name, Yellow. He interpolated himself between the two elder colours and he gave them each a gift, made from himself, and these gifts grew into colours of their own; to Red he gave orange, and to Blue he gave green. And he forced his two new companions to make peace, and to ensure that they would keep their word (and because he could not change his nature now that he had shed his skin) he remained with them, a third primary colour.

And that, my friends, is why yellow.


Disclaimer: some of this blog post may be untrue. Scientific-historical reasons for the primary colours vary. Please consult a local expert before accepting what you read here.


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