Thursday, September 30, 2010

Are You Angry?

Disclaimer: Yes, JM, this post is inspired by you ;). But I hope that's not a bad thing, and I hope what I'm about to say opens up some conversation. I am going with an idea, here, not trying to paint you into a corner and most certainly not trying to put words in your mouth. Fair enough?

I think that everybody here would like Shakespeare to have a larger presence in the world around us. What exactly that means will probably be different for everybody, but I hope that this is at least a fair statement. If there was more Shakespeare in the world, we'd be happier. True?

So, then, are you angry that we don't have that? The current state of education, the movies, the pop culture references, the badly misquoted lines that become cliches ... do those things bug the living daylights out of you, to the point where you can't be happy until you live in a world where they're fixed? What standard do you hope to achieve? Are we aiming to recreate Shakespeare's world, or to integrate what he gave us into our own? What's the difference between integrating and diluting?

For me, personally, I don't get angry about it. Sometimes I get disappointed, sure. And I do throw a minor tantrum when people use "wherefore" to mean "where", but only people who should know better. If a coworker pulled that nonsense I would correct the mistake, gently. If somebody puts up a television commercial where Juliet says "Wherefore art thou, Romeo?" and Romeo says "I'm over here, yo!" then yes, I'll get a little more upset about that because they should at least have some level of quality assurance.

But in general I'm happy to see Shakespeare in the world wherever I see him, and encourage more. Bring up Shakespeare around me and you will have to walk away, because I won't stop talking. Seriously. I'm ok with that. I will go see Gnomeo and Juliet, and I will tell all my friends to go see it. Maybe here on the blog I'll pick it apart, but I'd much rather see a bunch of my children's friends all go to see it, than to keep it from them because of the aforementioned wherefore/why problem.

Very important to note, though, is that I'm not in the business. I don't do Shakespeare for a living, and I think that could easily be the key difference. I don't have to write grants to get my Shakespeare projects funded, only to see them turned down so the money can go toward other, lesser projects. I'm not out of a job if my kids' school cuts the budget for the arts. As a parent I'd do what I could to complain, sure. But I'd also have the option of taking them to more theatre on my own, at least. I wouldn't have to worry about where my next paycheck is coming from.


JM said...

The most prosperous country on the face of the earth is 23rd in education.

Anybody angry?

JM said...

Guess not.