Thursday, July 5, 2012

Shakespeare at Large

Wads of gum stuck outside of "Juliet's House" in Verona
One of the strangest appearances of Shakespeare in popular culture is the cult of Romeo and Juliet. I just returned from Verona, where the R + J fetish is at a fever pitch. Why? I believe the wads of gum above might give a clue.

The R + J affair might be the most tragic love story ever told, but it's also the most finite. Meaning that the lovers have only one night to meet, one night to consummate, etc. It's a Renaissance love story at a high-speed internet pace! There's no room for every day crap. No space for the banalities of childcare and work fatigue.

Oh, wait. I haven't said anything about the gum. The gum is both intimate and aggressive. Like, here's a piece of me (spit) and I'm shoving it in your face, you Love Story!!!!! In other words, if you have the time to chew gum and place it on a wall in Verona, you have probably intellectualized and complicated the concept of love much more than either Romeo and Juliet. That's a good thing, people! Chew with pride!

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