Shakespeare Saturday: Shakespearean Satire

Happy Saturday, good friends! I hope you are all in good health and spirits, and excited for the inevitable return of Shakespeare-a-palooza. You may have noticed my complete absence from last week’s posts… My campers infected me with their little kid germs and I came down with a flu that would NOT go away. Now I’m rested, healthy, and back in control of my senses – in the nick of time, too, Shakes-a-palooza is important y’all.

Before we begin the main event, however, (set your clocks – Shakespeare-a-palooza officially starts on Monday) I’m just gonna drop a strikingly hilarious bit of satire for everyone to enjoy.

As you well know, C and I are firm believers that William Shakespeare wrote his own plays. We actually wrote our own play in which he laments not writing his name at the top of everything he ever wrote, but I digress… We hold a strong, immovable opinion on the subject, and do have a tendency to get particularly catty with those that call into question Shakespeare’s lack of education. It’s nonsense, I tell you! The man was talented, learned (and, to be fair, stole) from the best, and was, more than anything, a great observer of the human condition. His plays have lasted this long because he was able to grasp all the major themes, ideas, and emotions that humanity has experienced from the dawn of our existence.

Shakespeare’s approach to story and character is human itself – not reliant on, or enslaved by, what some critic or great master had preordained as “art”. His words are not those of some fancy, learned duke attempting to make pretty, flowery sentences. It just sounds like it now, because we don’t speak like that anymore, guys… No, Shakespeare, in all his “lowliness”, wrote his own shit – and where his lack of education presented an obstacle he made up his own damn words. He made up so many words, you guys. He wrote words that felt good in the mouth as they were spoken (trippingly on the tongue, if you will). Words that just made good sense, describing some thing or some feeling that everyone could get on board with and go “hey, yeah, I do sleep in a bedroom”. I mean, c’mon, it’s not like the guy some homeless miscreant that crawled out of a sewer one day claiming to have learned to read and write from rats. His parents were respectable, middle class people and he had a grammar school education which, at that time, would have covered subjects such as Latin, Greek, and classical history.

Anyhoo, I know this became a little tangent-y and I promised you satire so without further ado… Please enjoy this little article which actually elicited a bark of sardonic laughter as I read it. That, my friends, is exactly what satire should do.

See you Monday!

A

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Boozy Books: Getting Ready for The Return of Shakespeare-a-palooza!

Hey, guys! Sorry this is late. Even more sorry that it doesn’t actually include a book pairing. But I just realized we hadn’t actually announced anything, and I feel like that’s on us.

Well, of course it’s on us. It’s our blog.

I had an idea that I was going to pair Washington’s Farewell this week. (If you watch The Daily Show, yes. The one featured on The Daily Show that one time.) It felt right given my Muse from Monday (for the record: since then, Jefferson and I commiserated over the amount of religion in our government. He was not pleased.), and I am just about finished with it. In fact, I could tell you what I would pair with it now; I just couldn’t write a summary without finishing it. I mean, I could…

Washington gave a farewell address. He had two people from the opposing camps help him write it. Included in this speech were wisdomy bits like “don’t form political parties” and “don’t be isolationist but also don’t be interventionist”. Everyone nodded, said, “That Washington sure is a smart cookie”… and promptly ignored it. Seriously. We were involved in a war by 1801. The only reason we weren’t in one sooner was… you know… the other war that had just ended a few years earlier and from which the United States was really just recovering… (For the record, that war–the First Barbary War–wasn’t really interventionist per se. We were paying tribute, there were pirates, trade was impacted, and we’d already tried a peace treaty. So… maybe not the perfect example. But we were already moving west, too. Manifest Destiny existed well before the term was coined.)

We like war. Always have. Knowing us, always will.

Drink Whiskey. In honor of Washington personally putting down the Whiskey Rebellion.

OK. Moving on.

The reason today’s pairing is a little slapdash is because, well, A and I are preparing for the Third Annual Shakespeare-a-palooza, now featuring people other than Shakespeare! It’s one month out from our trip to Stratford, Ontario and, for those of you who haven’t been with us since the beginning, that means we’re going to spend the next month discussing, pairing, and making stupid jokes about four of the plays we’re going to see next month in Stratford. While we’ll review all of them, we’re going to focus on two of the Shakespeare plays and two non-Shakes plays we’re really looking forward to.

First up will be A, who’ll be discussing Twelfth Night. I’ll follow with Timon of Athens. Then A has decided to discuss Guys and Dolls (musical actress that she is), while I’ll discuss Tartuffe since Molière stole the show last year and we felt like we’d missed an opportunity to go in depth on our favorite writin’ Frenchman. (OH MY GOD. WHY DID I DO THAT?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?) Yes, we’re skipping Romeo and Juliet.

You guys know why.

I’ll see you Sunday!

C

Monday Muse: This is Getting Difficult

I am having an increasingly difficult time not talking about politics these days. Like, it’s gotten to the point that I shout at my cats (poor creatures) and construct elaborate imaginary audiences with our Founding Fathers because I can’t keep it in anymore.

James Madison and I recently bonded over the Second Amendment. Seriously. I’m not going to tell you what the conversation was about, but if you know anything about Madison’s feelings on the nature of our military, you know what it was about. It was a good, cathartic moment for me.

James Madison also looked like his character in Hamilton. I don’t know why, but it feels less weird to imagine the character than the real guy. Plus, the real Madison was 5’4 and it would feel weird to look down at a Founder.

I don’t know. I’m weird.

It’s a cathartic experience for me. Someone does or says something, I conjure the proper historical personage, and I get out how I feel. I yelled at Hamilton the other day about not making enough provisions to reign in the banks; he yelled back that he was just building a system, it was those that followed who allowed the system to grow out of control. He also got really upset to find out what Andrew Jackson did to his bank. Seriously.

(Anyone who knows me knows that the one thing about Hamilton’s early death that really upsets me is losing out on an elderly Alexander Hamilton kicking Andrew Jackson’s ass over the closing of the bank. I combine it with the Brooks/Sumner cane incident in my head, and it. Is. Glorious.)

Maybe I really am crazy. I don’t think so. There has to be a school of psychology that advocates the creation of imaginary constructs in order to deal with overwhelming emotion. If not, I recommend it. It’s especially handy if you know how that person would argue back. Not knowing that makes it an exercise in confirmation bias. Which doesn’t really help.

But, seriously. Without doing stuff like this, I think I might become a ball of anxiety and anger. I need to do it to function.

And it’s the reason this blog has yet to descend into historical and political ramblings that reek of desperation and despondency.

On occasion, I also apologize profusely to George Washington.

Well, I’ll be back on Friday to talk about books. It might be a historical book. I take solace in the study of the past.

C

Shakespeare Saturday: It’s Still Saturday Somewhere!

Hey guys! I thought it was Sunday and, thus, A’s turn to write. Yeah, I forget what day it is, too… except she probably has more reason to do so. What with having a life and things to do. Neither of which are true in my case. I just forget days because what is timekeeping, right? It’s just an artificial construct.

Also, I may or may not have been catching up on the latest series of Doctor Who. I’m going to miss Capaldi. I mean, I’m looking forward to Jodie Whittaker because I’ve liked her in everything I’ve seen and I know she has a relationship with the new showrunner, which is always good. But I really enjoyed Capaldi’s mad cackling.

I’m also glad to be seeing the back of Moffat. I was always on the Moffat > Davies train (The End of Time is on the same list as Braveheart, aka “things not to mention around C if you don’t want her to turn green and smash things), but I’m so much on that train that I can’t admit it’s run out of steam. While I do think Series 9 and 10 were better than Series 8, I think it was Moffat’s time to leave a while ago. So… I’m excited about the new Who coming to us!

I don’t know what this has to do with Shakespeare. I guess I could go into the fact that men used to play women and gender is fluid and stuff like that, but I don’t want to. Instead, I’ll…

Post an article about your brain on Shakespeare.

It doesn’t looked like a cooked egg.

C

Monday Muse: Children are Exhausting

Hi everyone! I’m supposed to Muse today, but given that it’s the start of another week of summer camp and I had the least relaxing weekend in the history of weekends, I’ve got next-to-nothing left. I’m pooped and sore for reasons that are unfathomable to me because I didn’t actually do anything physically demanding. 

All I can say is children are exhausting and people who decide to actually own more than two are out of their everloving minds. Last week I had a whopping 12 kids to keep track of and, as if that weren’t enough, it was an insistently rambunctious group. This week is only seven – which, in contrast, feels a bit like a vacation – but I swear they’re sucking the life out of me. Are children the real vampires? Are they actually causing the aging process? Maybe if everybody stopped having children we’d all just live forever. I kid. Some children are pretty great. Just not in packs…

Good night, friends!

A

Silly Sunday: If Winter’s Here, Why Am I Melting?

Hey, guys!

I’m still sick, but I can breathe through my nose now, so… WOOOOOO!!!! Huge step toward normalcy!

Anyway… tonight was the GoT premiere. I watched it live, but I know a lot of people can’t do that, so I’m promising a spoiler-free zone here. We’re pretty good about that already, but I want to be extra sure to tell you.

But if you haven’t watched it… YOU GUYS ARE GONNA LOVE IT.

Also, I would follow Lady Mormont into the depths of hell. But that’s not a spoiler… unless you’ve managed to go this long without knowing of the awesomeness, in which case shame.

Pretend I wasn’t lazy and put an appropriate shaming GIF here.

Um… I didn’t have anything planned. Actually, I forgot today was Sunday. Which is weird because I remembered that the GoT premiere was today, but… apparently, I’m living on Westerosi time, or something.

So, here is Cactus favorite Chris Evans being adorable:

The dog has his own computer. How adorable.

Also… dog love is forever.

We’ll be back tomorrow. I might have to remind A tomorrow is Monday. Hopefully, I remember to do that…

C

Shakespeare Saturday: Watching Will

You guys! TNT’s Will premiered last Monday and I didn’t watch it!!! UGH. Listen, you know I can’t keep the days of the week straight, so how was I supposed to keep track of a single Monday in the month of July? Anyway, C asked if I’d seen it – throwing me completely for a loop – and here we are. I had an entirely different plan for Shakespeare Saturday today, but now it’s turned into me urging you to watch Will with me this evening. I’ll be streaming it On Demand in just a few so my Saturday just got a whole lot Shakespeare-y-er. Hopefully yours will too.

PS C has seen the first episode and  approves! As I’m sure you’ve noticed, C is extremely discerning/selective in her tastes so the fact that she approves is an excellent sign in my opinion.

A