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Some thoughts on Shakespeare

So a couple of days ago my roommate David and I were talking about Shakespeare, who really is very good in spite of all the people who say he really is very good (as opposed to, for example, William Faulkner, who really is pretty dreadful in spite of all the people who say he really is very good).

Now, I started reading Shakespeare on my own in middle school; during recess, I'd sit in a corner of the playground with Macbeth, which probably explains a great deal abou why I m the way I am today. Though that's a whole 'nother subject altogether.

Anyway, the part the folks don't seem to get about William Shakespeare is that the man was the Quentin Tarantino of his time. The way we teach Shakespeare in high school literature class is absolutely awful; we suck the joy and fun and off-color humor right out of him.

I have visions of lit classes 300 years hence subjecting Quentin Tarantino to the same sort of academic savaging:

"Now, class, today we're going to be discussing the symbolism of the wallet owned by the hit-man Jules. His wallet had 'Bad Mother Fucker' written on it. As we discussed yesterday, the word 'bad' in the English of the time meant something that was of inferior quality, but it also had a vernacular meaning of something that was especially good, or dangerous. Today, I'd like us to turn our attention to this dual meaning, and how Mr. Tarantino played on the juxtaposition of the two meanings of the word 'bad' in the slogan written on the wallet.

"Tonight, when you go home, I want you to write a 600-word essay about the meaning of the two hit-men's conversation about foot rubs in the beginning of the movie. Pay particular attention to what their conversation says about gender roles and assumptions during the late 20th century. Compare and contrast the view of gender and gender roles in the line where Jules says 'Now look, maybe your method of massage differs from mine, but, you know, touchin' his wife's feet, and stickin' your tongue in her Holiest of Holies, ain't the same fuckin' ballpark, it ain't the same league, it ain't even the same fuckin' sport' to the ideas about gender and gender roles later when the character Jody tells the hit-man Vincent that her tongue ring is 'a sex thing. It helps fellatio.'"


Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
tacit
Oct. 27th, 2008 05:23 pm (UTC)
You know, that actually sounds like it could have been brilliant.
(Deleted comment)
tacit
Oct. 27th, 2008 05:23 pm (UTC)
Yay! I live to please...
the_failed_poet
Oct. 27th, 2008 03:53 pm (UTC)
Heehee. I'd like to see people do that. I think it would be hee-larious.
greendalek
Oct. 27th, 2008 04:17 pm (UTC)
This is f$%#&*ing brilliant.
jane_etrix
Oct. 27th, 2008 04:48 pm (UTC)
as opposed to, for example, William Faulkner, who really is pretty dreadful in spite of all the people who say he really is very good

Philistine!
tacit
Oct. 27th, 2008 05:21 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes. At the very least.
kjpepper
Oct. 27th, 2008 05:15 pm (UTC)
permission to metaquote?

By the way, if you like Shakespeare, I highly recommend a book called Ink and Steel. Shakespeare, Fae, Elizabethan politics and hot gay sex. It's good. :)
tacit
Oct. 27th, 2008 05:22 pm (UTC)
By all means! And I'll have to check it out. :)
red_girl_42
Oct. 27th, 2008 05:37 pm (UTC)
Shakespeare, who really is very good in spite of all the people who say he really is very good

Did you just say this same thing recently, because I know I read this recently, word-for-word.

Either that or I am becoming psychic, which would be cool, but highly unlikely.
ab3nd
Oct. 27th, 2008 06:05 pm (UTC)
Deja vu all oaver again
He said it before, recently.

"I've always been a fan of William Shakespeare, who really is very good in spite of all the people who say he really is very good (unlike, for example, F. Scott Fitzgerald, who really is pretty mediocre in spite of all the people who say he really is very good)."
madscience
Oct. 27th, 2008 06:36 pm (UTC)
Ha. Exactly! Shakespeare was entertainment for the unwashed masses, not the high-brow shit educators make it out to be today. Untangling the language and catching the dirty jokes was supposed to be fun, not an academic chore.

Praise Bob!
segnbora
Oct. 28th, 2008 12:56 am (UTC)
Ah, another person besides me who got into Shakespeare at an age before school had a chance to ruin it for them!
brockulfsen
Oct. 28th, 2008 01:24 am (UTC)
I remember my best friend and I in the 10th Grade reading the opening scene from Romeo and Juliet one lunch hour and friends rolling around laughing at gags like "I'd cut off their heads." - "Yeah, their maidenheads."

They wouldn't believe it was Shakespear.

A few months later we had to get parental waivers to watch the Polanski McBeth.




aberranteyes
Dec. 22nd, 2008 03:13 pm (UTC)
Here (belatedly) via metaquotes (which I got to via TV Tropes), and beautiful.

(Also, I friended you. Austin here, from New College 88-89; already had Brent and Watts friended. Is Barbara on LJ, perchance? Or Raven, or David?)

Edited at 2008-12-22 03:14 pm (UTC)
tacit
Dec. 22nd, 2008 03:26 pm (UTC)
Wow, I got Metaquoted? I had no idea!

Also, welcome aboard! Barbara has an LJ at katrinahawke, but it hasn't been updated in more than a year. David used to have an LJ, but it's been deleted for quite some time. I have no clue of Raven's around or not.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )