Thursday, May 20, 2010

Shakespeare at Large

We're delighted to be featuring our first guest blogger today: Dianne Berg of The Elizavegan Page. Dianne wrote us a rant on a news story she heard on NPR during the school run Tuesday morning. It's about juvenile delinquents getting sentenced to "doing time" with Shakespeare. "It's the kind of stuff that makes me feel like I've been taking crazy pills," she writes. Well, we love a gal who takes the crazy pills, so we knew she'd fit right in here at everydayshakespeare. Here's her rant.

"I'm sure you'll share my pleasure that Shakespeare is now a last-ditch
alternative to JAIL TIME! Of course, there's also the obligatory
Dead-Poets-Society-feel-good crap about how little Johnny went from
cutting people up in the cafeteria for taking the last chocolate milk, to
reciting the St Crispin's Day speech extempore for the delectation of the
Crips AND the Bloods, but the subtext (nay, the text) is clear:
Shakespeare = punishment.

And don't even get me started on the whole "Shakespeare is a really good
therapist...His insights are profound, they reveal human nature so
accurately. I mean, they’re working with about the best therapist they
could ever have in doing these plays” thing. Shakespeare was not a
therapist. Shakespeare was a playwright. "Shakespeare" says nothing - his
characters say things, all kinds of things, often highly ambiguous or
contradictory or just plain CRAZY things, all of which can be interpreted
in an infinite variety of ways.

Obviously, being familiar with Shakespeare is A Good Thing (I mean, it's
been keeping people in work for 4+ centuries, right?), and I hope these
kids DO develop a liking for the plays. I just fail to see how presenting
it like a therapeutic dose of castor oil - or as an analogue to hard time
in the hoosgow - sends any message but the by-now-standard, "Open up and
swallow your Shakespeare. I know it tastes nasty, but it's good for you;
you'll thank me later!"

Anyway, just thought I'd share my (probably hormone-related) rant - as THE BARD would say, I should probably get me to a nunnery, or women's prison!"

Thanks, Dianne.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I feel like I've hit the Shakespeare-related ranting big time! Thanks, ladies - any time at all!