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Yes, the War Against Shakespeare has been going on for years now. But the Woke Supremacists in universities are stepping up the volume, because, you know, Shakespeare is not relevant today. It’s not just because he represents white-supremacy, racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, and all other -isms. No. He’s not relevant.
What can Shakespeare possibly have to say to today’s youth, or today’s young adults, or even today’s old adults? How can Shakespeare possibly be relevant to them? Let’s take a moment to imagine…
Perhaps the Dems are pushing a doddering and forgetful white man with a young female heir because they are trying to tell a story; the party is pathetic and a little crazy as it wanders in the wilderness, cast out by an ungrateful public. It is also ancient, white and white-haired. It will be rescued by the loyal young female who takes the old white guy in but is the actual ruler.
It’s King Lear for millennials and a psychodrama that appeals to people who still love the old white guy and to those who can’t wait to see him leave the stage both because you’ve elected the story to play out in real-time.
When one thinks of great Russian literature, one does not associate it with the time period of Stalin. Venezuela probably has great literature in its history, but I doubt much of it is written today by some crony of Maduro. But such is the oddness of the English language and the English people that the greatest flowering of English literature happened during the time of an illegitimate, usurping dynasty that had its thumb squarely upon the people and the arts created, a dynasty that resorted to execution more than any since.
Some say Shakespeare was a genius for his accomplishments. But how much more of a genius was he that he accomplished all that he did in an oppressive atmosphere that saw many locked up or executed for offending the Tudor monarch? A play like Romeo and Juliet might not have been too dangerous. Classical comedies and tragedies were not too dangerous, especially when set in places like Italy. The Taming of the Shrew? Two Gentlemen of Verona? But Shakespeare delved into another realm altogether: the history play. With histories from far off in time, indeed, apocryphal histories, such as King Lear and Macbeth, danger was not so apparent, yet Shakespeare came closer in time, right up to the time of his monarch. And in the writing of these nearer histories, Shakespeare prostituted himself, becoming the propagandist of the Tudor Dynasty, or did he?
Presume not that I am the thing I was!—William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 2
The character speaking here is the newly crowned Henry V. As “Prince Hal,” he had endured and even enjoyed low company. He has known all of his kingdom’s rascals and rogues. But now he is king. He is a new-made thing, who is now in charge of enforcement of the law, and because of his misspent youth, he knows just where the heavy hand of the law should bear down.
We’re adding a new critic to the ACF podcast: America’s eminent Shakespearian, Paul Cantor! He’s a writer I admire and from whom I have learned much on Shakespeare–much to my surprise and delight, he’s getting into film criticism in a big way and he’s in the mood to talk about it. We have a long interview to offer you, the first in a series of discussions about pop culture in America. We go from Godfather to Breaking Bad, we get to super-hero movies and ancient mythic heroes–to tragedy in Greece and in Shakespeare’s England–and lots of other things about TV and movies in-between. Also, we do more than a little talking about Mark Twain. Listen and share friends, join the conversation in the comments, and read more Cantor!
I have the strangest of problems. My daughter is a bright, bookish 16-year-old, and therefore ought to be the bullseye of the target demographic for fans of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. She hates it; she hates it passionately, aggressively, and evangelistically. I’ve tried to explain its greatness: the heartbreak of the ending, the symphonic music […]
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America groan over Donald Trump Jr.’s stunningly poor judgment and apparent willingness to seek campaign assistance from a foreign government, while also lamenting the continued media hysteria over these latest revelations. They are wary of Mitch McConnell’s decision to delay the traditional August recess, worrying that it might not be very productive and, therefore, more damaging to an already embarrassed GOP. Finally, in a discussion of David Brooks’ controversial column about class divisions in America that features a bizarre anecdote about sandwich elitism, Jim admits that he himself is, to quote Shakespeare, “lowly taught, but highly fed.”
Summer is coming, and with it one of the treats of summer in Kansas City: the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival. Modeled after New York’s Shakespeare in the Park, it is an opportunity for us to experience the best local actors playing Shakespeare for free. This year is the play is “Hamlet.” I love “Hamlet,” particularly […]
Fair Daffodils, we weep to see You haste away so soon; Preview Open
Caesar: The ides of March are come.
Soothsayer: Ay, Caesar, but not gone.
— Julius Caesar, Act III, Scene 1.
The word ides is derived from the ancient Roman calendar and comes from the Latin idus, which, as Oxford explains it, means “a day falling roughly in the middle of each month (the 15th day of March, May, July, and October, and the 13th of other months) from which other dates were calculated.”
In the beginning of Shakespeare’s excellent play, Julius Caesar has this premonitory exchange with the soothsayer:
What makes Shakespeare a classic author? Put simply, it is his marvelous ability to depict human nature. Reading Shakespeare is like encountering a curtain that covers up a statue. Shakespeare, the author, is the curtain; his characters are the statue. When you first start reading Shakespeare, the name of the author is foremost on one’s […]
In our previous lessons, we learned about everything necessary to enable us to compose what some would call the pinnacle of English-language poetry, the English sonnet. We have learned about measurement systems, rhyme, rhythms, formal lines, and the pivot. Now, we shall put these all together into one package. History and Origin: The English sonnet, […]
This is the Star wars cantina song–maybe some of my fellow Ricochetti are legally prevented from enjoying this fun song by the, one hopes, inimitable Mr. Richard Cheese. Some other version on youtube may be legal or legal-ish… Preview Open
The classic romance tragedy: two lovers from different worlds fall in love. However, their worlds collide with one another, creating a challenge to their relationship. They will either fall because of the conflict (the original, tragic ending), or they will overcome it (a more satisfying ending for many). This is such a great plot that offers […]
Has everyone already read this? Mr. Mark Judge is trying to say a few things about a problem one does not much read about: Men committing suicide. This is called male suicide & I think I alone am bothered by that. I think the piece is a failure on every level. It’s hard even to understand how […]
Need some cheap entertainment this weekend, but are all caught up with your DVRed episodes of “Naked Amish Tattoo Removers” and “Say Yes to the Transgendered Storage Auction?” Elevate your entertainment by firing up the audio app Spotify for nearly 100 hours of free and fabulous Shakespeare.
The Bard’s plays and poems are meant to be heard, not read, so Spotify user Ulysses Stone collected more than four days worth of the finest actors performing his works.
The actors represented – Sirs Gielgud, Olivier, and McKellen, Derek Jacobi, Edith Evans – are mostly English stage royalty, but we also have Welsh poet Dylan Thomas and actor Richard Burton, and Americans Paul Robeson, Rosalind Russell, and Orson Welles. The value of such a collection is inestimable…
I was seventeen when when Franco Zefferelli’s Romeo and Juliet was released. I was a rural farm boy who knew a little — very little — about Shakespeare, had only read a few lines by him, nor had ever seen a complete play on TV, let alone a live performance.
I was blown away. My crush on Olivia Hussey is just beginning to ebb a bit, 47 years later. It was like an entire new world had been handed whole to me. For a seventeen-year-old, the drama of the last scene was overwhelming. “Come on, Juliet! Wake up, for heck’s sake!”
And the language. I didn’t understand a lot of it, but I knew what it meant. Gorgeous and rhythmic. In the scene where Romeo laments being banished from the city, he cries about being “banish-ed” (two syllables, not one). My reaction: “they sure said ‘banished’ different in late medieval Italy than they do here in southern Utah.”
This will be a recurring (maybe) series of posts on science, mathematics, and related topics. Apparently, there’s an appetite for this sort of thing at Ricochet. Who knew?
I can’t promise this will be a weekly feature, but call it one in a row so far. Some of you may be put off by math. I hope I can reel you in. Trying to discuss science without mathematics is a little like trying to discuss great works of art without seeing them or great musical works without hearing them. I’ll walk the reader through the math and make it as simple as it can be, but no simpler. Relax, you’ll love it.
Shall we begin?
Americans seem to live with the illusion that love is a good thing. This is because democrats do not read books. In English, the great writer is Shakespeare, than whom no greater can be imagined. One cannot read the love stories in Shakespeare without coming to three basic insights: First, love leads to civil war […]