Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Shakespeare and Hookers In the Same Post

We've all wondered about William Shakespeare's love-life. I mean, just the other day, I was asking a friend "hey do you ever wonder about Shakespeare's love-life?" Okay, that's total baloney, but it was the premise for last night's film, "Shakespeare In Love" which starred Joseph Fiennes, Colin Firth, and Gwyneth "Yes I'm better than you" Paltrow. The idea was that Shakespeare had a terrible original idea for "Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate's Daughter" but then was inspired by the love he felt for a pasty woman (played by Paltrow) who dressed like a man and made him feel all sorts of sexual confusion (ha, now we know how the guy from Coldplay feels! Take that, Coldplay!) but ultimately regains his muse and writes Romeo and Juliet and then a bunch of other plays that have gone on to plague high school English students for centuries.

Frankly, making kids read plays in high school? Not only cruel, but stupid. I mean, you don't come home after a hard day's work and say "I really like NBC's 'The Office', so instead of watching the show being performed on the telly by actors, I'll just read the script for this week's episode." Plays are fine to watch, but read? Weak!

Anyway, Dame Judy Densch (who got the "Dame" title from hanging out with the Rat Pack far too much in her youth; had she spent more time with them we'd be knowing her as "Broad Judy Densch") got the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her 8 minutes of acting time as Queen Elizabeth, and of course Ben Affleck played a pompous, vacuous actor which I'm sure was a stretch for him. The director probably had to just say "be yourself, but do it with an unconvincing English accent".

But the main question I had was with the arranged marriage between Paltrow's character and Firth's character (Lord Wessex), where the Lord was all about the marriage and Paltrow wasn't because she didn't love him. This is a common theme in movies that take place in olden days or India--marriages are arranged for the families or politics, and one or both parties doesn't feel "love" and so they rebel against it. Just once I'd like to see the cliche broken, where there's an obvious arranged marriage and yet BOTH parties are like "hey, there's no love, but plenty of money, and you can always buy hookers."

Just ONCE.


  1. I never minded so much reading the Bard. The Canterbury Tales on the other hand, to describe them in just one word, blew. I just never got them.

    I do wonder, with all the protectionism going on in schools these days, do they even teach R&J anymore? I can't imagine parents approving of the topics of teen sex, drugs, poison and suicide. Of course, the parents probably didn't get R&J in high school either. Unless they're english teachers, then they probably get it.

  2. Foggy, not sure about most English courses, the only Shakespeare I got in my classes were Julius Caesar and MacBeth. I didn't like that we were reading plays--it seemed the wrong format to appreciate them in. (Sort of like reading a description of a great painting rather than looking at the painting itself) As for what they teach now, it seems like an odd tug of war between multiculturalists trying to get more "non-dead white male" literature in the classes, and traditionalists trying to expunge the cirriculum of "liberal bias" and considering most of the kids are idiots anyway it probably makes no difference. We're just going to be working in Brazilian rubber pits in the next few hundred years anyway.

  3. "hey, there's no love, but plenty of money, and you can always buy hookers."

    I think that was called "reality."