Thought for the day: Shakespeare’s plays are like the musical Cats — deep down everyone thinks they are awful, but some famous critic published a sarcastic review saying how great they were and people took it seriously. Then everyone went along because they didn’t want to look stupid. Let’s just do a quick round of polygraphs and we can end this charade.

Did you get your letter from the Census Bureau telling you that they’ll be sending you a letter next week? Was that a good use of millions of dollars? They insist that it cuts down on personal visits and therefore pays back.   I’m going to do a blog post telling you that I’ll be doing a blog post next week.

Outstanding health care roundup by Haemet. Loved this quote from the WSJ:

The president has one set of Congressional Budget Office cost projections, based on terribly misleading assumptions developed by Congress and the White House, that show it’s possible to provide health-care coverage to 30 million more people, while reducing overall costs and the federal deficit. If that projection makes any sense at all, then it’s too bad we don’t have 60 million uninsured so that we could save twice as much money.

Yes, we do need tort reform — Dad disables daughter via his negligence and disobedience, but the jury isn’t told all the facts so they award him $24.3 million.

Answering the “Sarah Palin is a quitter” charge — Good dialogue suggestions to respond to a common MSM / Liberal meme. If they think Sarah is so bad and so easy to beat, why are they so obsessed with taking her down? Why not wait until after she wins the nomination? Hint: Because she’ll run rings around Obama now that she isn’t hamstrung by the McCain campaign team. Hat tip: Hillbuzz

0 thoughts on “Roundup”

  1. Well, I liked Much Ado About Nothing after I saw the movie several times… But I can’t comment on Cats. Being a dog guy, I never saw the play.

    BTW, I did get the letter today! Yea Census Bureau.


  2. I strongly disagree. Shakespeare is amazing. Unfortunately, the way Shakespearean plays are taught makes students believe they are boring and staid. Nothing could be further from the truth. I wish all students could take a class on Shakespeare by a teacher who actually appreciates it.


    1. Hey, I’m just agreeing with Leo Tolstoy: . “I remember the astonishment I felt when I first read Shakespeare. I expected to receive a powerful esthetic pleasure, but having read, one after the other, works regarded as his best: “King Lear”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “Hamlet” and “Macbeth,” not only did I feel no delight, but I felt an irresistible repulsion and tedium.”


      1. Well, given Tolstoy’s politics and religion, I’m sure this is the only time you’ll be agreeing with him. 😉


  3. Thank you for the link!

    As for Shakespeare: you need to either see it all acted out, or at least hear it read aloud with some emotion, in order to appreciate it. There’s some great stuff in there.

    Just as a picky note: the dad did not kill his daughter; he disabled her. Nevertheless, the trucking company was left with the bill, even though it wasn’t on company time and was clearly through no fault of the company anyway.


    1. Thanks, correction made!

      My daughters made the same points about Shakespeare (“Why are they making us read plays instead of watching them?”).


      1. That’s a brilliant point, I never thought of that all that time in school labouring over the plays. Though we did get to see Roman Polanski’s film version of Macbeth; most violent movie I ever saw.


  4. One other point on Shakespeare. If I created a work of fiction, and invented my own words in the process, I would be scoffed at by critics and made fun of in the press.

    Shakespeare does that throughout his writings, and he is hailed as a genius for it.


  5. Neil, Neil, Neil:

    I love you, but while apathy toward the Bard could be understood, I will not be silent about outright contempt.

    “Awful”? Hardly.

    I didn’t have much love for Shakespeare in high school, probably because it was presented so clinically, but my wife introduced me to the Shakespeare Tavern in Midtown Atlanta…

    …and the plays have finally really come to life, to the point that over the last few years we’ve seen three or four of Shakespeare’s plays each year. Heck, my wife’s taking me to see King Lear — which I’ve never studied but about which I consistently hear great things — on my birthday, no less.

    I could gush about the Tavern itself — good food, reasonable prices, and a gift for connecting with the audience while deeply respecting the author’s original intent — but my point is that I’m slowly beginning to understand why his plays are set alongside the King James Bible as the pinnacle of English literature.

    The plays are, in turns, hilarious and gut-wrenching, and we see every facet of humanity in its dignity and its many, many, many flaws.

    I believe that, as someone with whom I share conservatism theologically and politically, you should indulge a conservative disposition on this matter.

    Wise, learned men have upheld Shakespeare’s works for literally centuries. You should give them the benefit of the doubt that they do so sincerely *AND* for good reason.


    1. Hi Bubba,

      Thanks for the insights. I will concede that effective presentaions make a difference in how accurately something is perceived. Some teachers think that their love for Shakespeare will be contagious and that just reading it is all you need.

      Sent from my iPhone


    2. “Wise, learned men have upheld Shakespeare’s works for literally centuries. You should give them the benefit of the doubt that they do so sincerely *AND* for good reason.”

      While I agree with the upholding of Shakespeare’s works for centuries, I disagree on your assessment of the individuals that have done so. Or that it was for good reason. I think the truth lies somewhere between Neil’s argument that they didn’t want to be considered stupid and what you say above.


  6. (Heck, beyond the character studies, there’s the clever wordplay, and soliloquies that are really worth memorizing for their wisdom.)


  7. Neil,

    I’ve only seen a few film versions of Bill S’s works, but most I found worth the time spent. There was one with Kenneth Brannagh (who’s done a few as well as plenty of stage productions) with Emma Thompson, as well as Denzel Washington, Kate Beckinsale, Keanu Reeves, Kenneth Branagh, & Michael Keaton. I don’t know that it got the best reviews, but knowing all the actors will help one get through it.

    Mel Gibson did Hamlet and it wasn’t too bad, but I found an interesting Hamlet film called “Rosencrans and Gildenstern Are Dead” which tells the Hamlet story from the perspective of those two characters. It stars Tim Roth and Gary Oldman as either of the two characters (it never says who is who and makes it clear no one else does either, including them) and while Roth is trying to figure out why the king has called for them and what intrigue is afoot, Oldman is constantly finding the laws of physics played out before him in a very humorous manner. I don’t know if this is something common to the actual play and every presentation of it, but in the Gibson film, he, as Hamlet, also seems to have a problem remembering which is Rosencrans and which is the other, both of whom were supposed to be old school chums. A great little known film .


  8. “Cats” was created with a very thin story line as an excuse to act out various individual and unrelated poems about cats. In one of our more upscale suburbs NW of Chicago, Lincolnshire, a Marriott hotel has a theatre-in-the-round where-in they put on various plays, almost always musicals (I.e. Big River a Huck Finn play, Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Hot Mikado, two hilarious presentations, Annie Get Your Gun, 1776 etc.), using minimal props. My impression of Cats was that here we have a bunch of people made up to look like cats posing as if to say, “Hey, look! I’m in Cats!” I was very unimpressed and found only one segment at all entertaining, and everyone’s heard the only song that anyone can say they know comes from Cats. My mother-in-law insists that the full Broadway production is probably better, and I’d say it probably looks better, but it’s still the same crappy play, only with a far higher ticket price than we played. I’ll never get that 2+ hours of my life back.


  9. Seeing Kenneth Branaugh slather at the mouth while reliving the lines of King Henry V before the battle of St. Crispin Crispian should show the lie to your heretical comments.

    “We few, we happy few. We band of brothers!”

    Sorry, I like and appreciate Shakespeare. He’s tough to read, but each time I see a new adaptation of his work I get a little more of its depth and sophistication as well as new nuances of humor and truth.


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