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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: January ::
Re: Ideology Once Again
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 8.0086.  Monday, 20 January 1997.

(1)     From:   Sean K. Lawrence <
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        Date:   Saturday, 18 Jan 1997 12:12:11 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0076  Re: Ideology Once Again

(2)     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Sunday, 19 Jan 97 14:55:26 GMT
        Subj:   Re: Tories and Education

(3)     From:   Dale Lyles <
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        Date:   Monday, 20 Jan 1997 00:12:56 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0079 Re: Ideology Once Again


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean K. Lawrence <
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Date:           Saturday, 18 Jan 1997 12:12:11 -0800
Subject: 8.0076  Re: Ideology Once Again
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0076  Re: Ideology Once Again

> > Are we not being quite narrow-minded on considering the
> > economic base as the Primum Mobile?
>
> It's Marxism. Any evidence that economics is not primary would help show that
> Marxism is narrow-minded, if you can find it.

Actually, Gabe, I'd say that the burden of evidence is to prove that economics
*is* primary.  Just saying it is and challenging others to dispute this finding
seems a little irresponsible.

A statement to the effect that all is economics is much like Thales's statement
that all is water:  you can always dismiss attempts to cite cases to the
contrary, but you can't really prove a statement so broad and ontological.
That all is economics, in other words, is an ontological postulate, not
provable in itself, but rather the presupposition on the basis of which
evidence must be treated.  As such, it is neither more or less verifiable or
true than a statement to the effect that all is water, the form of the good,
being, spirit, sexual desire, universal human needs, etc.  Anyone taking issue
with one of these broad ontological postulates can always be dismissed on the
ad hominem basis that they are themselves controlled by the form of the good,
being, spirit, sexual desire, economics or universal human needs in making
their arguments. The postulate itself, however, cannot be proven; it is merely
a prejudice.

Cheerio,
Sean.

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Sunday, 19 Jan 97 14:55:26 GMT
Subject:        Re: Tories and Education

Paul Hawkins asks

> how does a requirement that students study decontextualized
> passages confirm that the idea guiding the curriculum is that
> literature improves the moral character of those who read it?

The minds of Tory politicians are full of fragments of Shakespearian text which
they think amount to wisdom. This sort of thing...

- The course of true love never did run smooth.

- If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done quickly

- The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool

At party conferences they recite bits of speeches (eg Ulysses's degree speech
from Troilus and Cressida) which 'prove' that Shakespeare's values are Tory
values. They genuinely think that exposing children to small doses of
Shakespearian text makes them grow up straight.

They get a bit worried about children looking at the whole of a play,
especially in performance, because they dimly recollect that it all starts to
get a bit messy at that level. How to bridge the gap between the fragments and
the whole story? Rhodes Boyson, ex-headteacher turned education minister, said
"I'd start with Lamb's tales, so the children got the whole story first".

Rex Gibson predicts that the ISGC Globe will be a popular school excursion and
argues very convincingly that its historicizing influence will counter the
dehistoricizing tendency of the British national curriculum.

Gabriel Egan

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dale Lyles <
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Date:           Monday, 20 Jan 1997 00:12:56 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 8.0079 Re: Ideology Once Again
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0079 Re: Ideology Once Again

Here's where I have to part company with the "meaningless" crowd.  Yes, the
universe is meaningless, and yes, we humans attempt to impose meaning on this
random universe.  That is what we now recognize as learning.

However, one of the results of this feeble attempt is that we *create* meaning,
or at least what is good enough to pass for meaning in the only way we can get
it, and that is through closed-system/circular/kinds of pathetic things like
the works of William Shakespeare.

Sure, one can look further out into the empyrean and say, "Golly, there really
is no ultimate meaning, at least that I can discern," but the sensible thing to
do is then to reply to one's self, "That's cool.  I think I'll read *King Lear*
again."

We gotta have it, guys, it's hard-wired into us, so might as well make it Bill
Shakespeare as Tupac Shakur.

Dale Lyles
Newnan Community Theatre Company.
 

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