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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: June ::
Re: Similarities
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0552.  Tuesday, 21 June 1994.
 
(1)     From:   David Joseph Kathman <
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        Date:   Monday, 20 Jun 94 12:56:54 CDT
        Subj:   Re:  SHK 5.0544  Re: Similarities
 
(2)     From:   Christine M Gordon <
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        Date:   Sunday, 19 Jun 1994 21:28:30 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.042 Similiarites
 
(3)     From:   Cary M. Mazer <
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        Date:   Monday, 20 Jun 1994 16:24:35 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0544  Re: Similarities
 
(4)     From:   Rick Jones <
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        Date:   Monday, 20 Jun 94 11:08:14 EDT
        Subj:   Life and Art
 
(5)     From:   Hardy M. Cook <
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        Date:   Tuesday, June 21, 1994
        Subj:   Re: Similarities
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Joseph Kathman <
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Date:           Monday, 20 Jun 94 12:56:54 CDT
Subject: 5.0544  Re: Similarities
Comment:        Re:  SHK 5.0544  Re: Similarities
 
A quick apology to any who might have been offended by my flip comments on O.
J. Simpson/Othello.  Like Bill Godshalk, I find the whole situation sad and
tragic, but sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying.
 
Dave Kathman
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Christine M Gordon <
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Date:           Sunday, 19 Jun 1994 21:28:30 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: 5.042 Similiarites
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.042 Similiarites
 
To E. Pearlman: Yes, yesterday morning as we read our local paper, my spouse
(who's "not even in the lit biz," as he put it) said "This is like a
Shakespearean tragedy." To which I replied, "Yes, *Othello.*"  I'm sure we're
not the only ones who had this conversation. The only question is, who's Iago?
 
Chris Gordon
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Cary M. Mazer <
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Date:           Monday, 20 Jun 1994 16:24:35 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 5.0544  Re: Similarities
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0544  Re: Similarities
 
Regarding the parallels between O.J. Simpson and Othello:
 
Wow!  I guess they all are alike!  Also, I just met an alcoholic Dane who had
murdered his brother and married his sister-in-law.  I guess all Dane's are
that way!  And what about those Jews?  A gentile friend had just asked me for a
loan, and before I knew it, I had suggested to him a merry bond in lieu of
collateral.  The next thing I knew, the sonofabitch's friend had eloped with my
daughter, so when he defaulted on his loan, I figured, what the hell, I'd hold
him to his bond after all . . .
 
Seriously, folks:  without reopening the universalist/historicist debate, may I
ask my fellow SHAKSPER subscribers to be cautious about airing their racist
assumptions in this semi-public forum of ours.  Some thoughts had better be
kept to one's self.
 
Cary M. Mazer
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Rick Jones <
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Date:           Monday, 20 Jun 94 11:08:14 EDT
Subject:        Life and Art
 
Two recent posts suggest similarities between Shakespearean plays and both the
O.J. Simpson case and the new Disney film "The Lion King".  I'm tempted to
suggest that there are simply a finite number of plots, but that does seem a
little reductive.
 
As for "The Lion King": the articles I've read suggest that  there was a
conscious attempt to give something of the flavor of Aristotelian tragedy.
While there are certainly parallels to _Hamlet_, I was struck more by the
similarities to the Orestes story.  Chacun a son gout, je suppose.  Then again,
there is plenty of precedent for the evil brother of the good cartoon lion king
attempting to seize the throne: remember King Leonardo (and his skunk confidant
Odie Colonie) and the nefarious Itchy Brother and Biggy Rat?
 
The Simpson story is just too weird.  But life does sometimes imitate art in
bizarre ways -- it happened to me a couple of years ago when a Pirandello play
I was directing opened on the very night the Congressional hearings were
re-opened on the Clarence Thomas nomination in light of the testimony of Anita
Hill.  The second act of the play began with a sequence of "Which one do we
believe, him or her" lines, leading to the quasi-raisonneur character saying
"Believe them both!".
 
My wife and I, however, have developed the ultimate explanation of the Simpson
case, in light of recent events in the sports world, literary parallels, and
the current vogue of conspiracy theories.  There can't be a real _Othello_
parallel without a Iago character.  He doesn't have to be a direct equivalent,
but there needs to be a figure of evil to mitigate the hero's actions.  We
decided to take things a step further: Simpson was framed by an evil colleague.
Remember that damning evidence was found in CHICAGO. The conclusion,
obviously, is that the culprit was a Walter Payton fan who wanted to diminish
Simpson's claims to being the best running back ever.
 
[This theory is infinitely flexible, by the way -- had the evidence been found
in Cleveland, it would've been a Jim Brown fan, and so on.]  We're going to get
Oliver Stone to make the movie -- but we need a paltry $40 million or so for
start-up costs: I feel confident that fellow SHAKSPEReans will raise that sum
in a matter of days.
 
With too much time on my hands...
 
Rick Jones

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(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hardy M. Cook <
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Date:           Tuesday, June 21, 1994
Subject:        Re: Similarities
 
I too share many of Cary Mazer's misgivings about this particular discussion.
I loath talk-radio, talk-television, and tabloid television, and the last
thing I want SHAKSPER to become is like them.  Thus, I do not want to prolong
this thread at all, but I would like to respond to something Bill Godshalk
mentioned.  I do not consider Othello's death a suicide -- rather I see it
as a public execution carried out by the very person who traduced the State.
In a like manner, I also view Cleopatra's death as a noble act rather than
as a suicide.
 

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