Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Why King Lear Is Not One of the 101 Greatest Plays

Michael Billington, theater critic for The Guardian, is writing a book entitled The 101 Greatest Plays....and he comes right out and tells people, King Lear is not on the list. I encourage you to check out the article, as it does go into detail about a number of other non-Shakespeare works that he did choose to include.

But, of course, we need to know his argument against Lear, so we can discuss it.  Here you go:

I could offer a robust defence of my omission: the play touches great heights but is structurally unwieldy, shows a punishment disproportionate to the original sin and contains in Edgar one of Shakespeare’s most unfathomable characters.
What say ye, oh Shakespeare Geek readers?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Well, I Fell Into That Trap. And I'm OK With It.

[Warning, salty language ahead.]

I've been reading James Altucher's Choose Yourself! lately because I could really get behind his "Idea Machine" philosophy that lately I'm seeing all over the place. On the one hand it's really just another self-help guide, but maybe because the guy is a computer science geek, I can relate.

Anyway, I'm into the chapter about why you shouldn't have an opinion (I think this one comes straight out of Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People), because you're never going to change anybody else's so why bother. You'll only get into an argument.

He cites examples:

"I may say something like "kids shouldn't go to college," and everyone either already agrees with me or disagrees with me.
"Fine," I think, "I understand this position, and that people have different opinions. Personally I wish there were more viable options than the ridiculously expensive traditional four year route."
"Buying a home is ALWAYS bad."
"Wellllll, I get where you're coming from I guess but I don't know if I'd use the word 'always'..."
"Voting is stupid."
"I think most people agree with you on this one, actually. It's always just voting for the guy you hate the least, and regardless of who you put in there you'll hate him and want him out by the time the next term rolls around. The Freakonomics guys kind of back you up on this one."
"Shakespeare is boring."
"Oh go to hell right now you asshole."

Damnit!  Point to Mr. Altucher.  I freely admit, that is exactly the kind of visceral reaction his "opinion" evoked in me as soon as I read it. Couldn't help myself.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Trump on Shakespeare

Donald Trump on William Shakespeare (and His Works)

  • "He says he was born in Stratford. Where's his birth certificate? Why won't they show us his birth certificate?"
  • "I will build a great, great wall on Syracusa's border, and I will make Ephesus pay for that wall. Mark my words."
  • "I went to Fordham, I graduated from Wharton. Where'd he get his diploma? Case closed."
  • "Coriolanus is a hero, he's a hero - he's a hero because he got wounded 27 times. I like heroes that weren't wounded, OK? I hate to tell you."
  • "Look at my wife Melania, one of the most beautiful women in the world. And where's his wife? Anybody even got a picture of her? He left her at home because he's ashamed to be seen with her!"
  • "All the wives of Windsor flirted with me, consciously or subconsciously. But that's to be expected."
  • "This guy uses me for publicity just like they all do. Drops my name all over the place. Enter Talbot, with Trump and drum. Henry VI. Proclaim our honours with Trump. Titus Andronicus. When fame shall sound Trump. Troilus and Cressida. The only plays this guy's ever had any success with are the ones where he maliciously and illegally uses my name. I'll sue him for everything he's got and give it to my doorman for a tip."
  • “Sadly, because Othello has done such a poor job as general, you won’t see another black general for generations!”
  • "Stop calling him a gentleman, he's a gentleman because he bought his family a coat of arms because his criminal father couldn't get one on his own."
  • "Lavinia. Sadly, she's no longer a 10."