Monday, March 21, 2011

Suburbs of Our Discontent

I promise, promise, promise this is going to be my last post about Purim (at least until next year).

Yesterday was the annual Purim Carnival at our temple, so I'm still a little wack-headed (picture screeching children, cross-dressed adults, candy, noise-makers, a magician, Hebrew chants--and then stir vigorously).

But I had an epiphany about The Merchant of Venice during the chaos. Here it is: Shakespeare greatly underestimated the Jewish people's cultural mandate to party. Party hard. Anyone who's witnessed drunk, cross-dressed adults on Purim (or attended our temple's Michael Jackson-themed Purim party--the Thrilla Megillah) knows what I'm talking about. This is all in the Talmud, by the way.

But Shakespeare's Shylock gets all mad at the Christians for their noise, drinking, mask-wearing, bacchanalia and then gets even madder when his daughter wants to leave his "sober" house to join the fun. Shakespeare should have given him a line like "Hey, it's not Purim, so knock it off!" or "Jessica, don't worry about it! You can do all this on our special hard-partying holiday."

I knew there was something wrong with that play.

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