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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: November ::
Re: Veteran's Day
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1121  Wednesday, 11 November 1998.

[1]     From:   Hardy M. Cook <
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        Date:   Wednesday, November 11, 1998
        Subj:   End of Veterans Day Thread

[2]     From:   Chris J. Fassler <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 10 Nov 1998 08:52:09 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: Veteran's Day

[3]     From:   Robin Hamilton <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 10 Nov 1998 14:01:24 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1114  Re: Veteran's Day

[4]     From:   J. K. Leonard" <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 10 Nov 1998 10:24:37 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1114  Re: Veteran's Day

[5]     From:   Michael Ullyot <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 10 Nov 1998 16:06:57 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1114  Re: Veteran's Day

[6]     From:   Mike Jensen <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 10 Nov 1998 09:16:00 -0800
        Subj:   SHK 9.1114  Re: Veteran's Day

[7]     From:   J. K. Campbell <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 10 Nov 1998 09:25:42 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1102  Veteran's Day

[8]     From:   Terence Hawkes <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 10 Nov 1998 13:09:47 -0500
        Subj:   SHK 9.1114  Re: Veteran's Day

[9]     From:   Neth Boneskewy <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 10 Nov 1998 12:26:09 -0800
        Subj:   Shrew and Veteran's Day

[10]    From:   Markus Marti <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 11 Nov 1998 01:27:45 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1114  Re: Veteran's Day

[11]    From:   Cora Lee Wolfe <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 11 Nov 1998 21:22:50 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1114  Re: Veteran's Day

[12]    From:   Cora Lee Wolfe <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 11 Nov 1998 21:26:02 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1114  Re: Veteran's Day

[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hardy M. Cook <
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Date:           Wednesday, November 11, 1998
Subject:        End of Veterans Day Thread

I would like to call a halt to this thread.  I am including what has
been submitted to me but ask for restraint if you feel called upon to
respond to any of the postings below.  I would also appreciate it if my
suggesting an end to this discussion does not become an occasion to
begin our almost annual meta-discussion about the conference.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Chris J. Fassler <
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Date:           Tuesday, 10 Nov 1998 08:52:09 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Re: Veteran's Day

Colleagues,

Here are some more slogans for the war/veterans/patriotism thread:

* War is an unwieldy and blunt instrument.
* There are as many reasons to serve and die as there are soldiers.
* There are as many bad reasons to serve and die as good ones.
* It's usually impossible to distinguish.
* Patriotism is a skunk ennobled with the stripes of the patriot's flag.

And (because I agree that we have veered from the purpose of this list)
Shakespeare's works demonstrate essential agreement with all of the
above.

Pacifically,
Chris Fassler

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robin Hamilton <
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Date:           Tuesday, 10 Nov 1998 14:01:24 -0000
Subject: 9.1114  Re: Veteran's Day
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1114  Re: Veteran's Day

There might be several ways of replying to Gabriel Egan's post.  One
would be to ignore it completely, another might be to treat it
rationally, a final one (which I've elected to pursue) would be to try
to work out just what (for me, at least) is so irritating about this
mind-numbing parade of liberal-humanist cliches.

>From:           Gabriel Egan <
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>Date:           Sunday, 8 Nov 1998 10:17:30 -0500 (EST)

>Most of Barton's offensive drivel about serving
>the military-industrial death machine concerned Vietnam and the Gulf War
>with just a glance at Nazi Germany.

Well, there is the very slight point that if you are an American alive
in 1998, you're much more likely to have friends and contemporaries who
were involved in, protested against, were wounded in, draft dodged-you
name it-than were involved in World War II.  Nazi Germany is a nice,
safe topic (not to speak of being further in the past than Vietnam and
the Gulf), and obviously we're all in favour of God, Motherhood, and
Apple Pie.  If Carol Barton had wanted to be safe, all she'd need to
have done would have been to stick to that.

And am I the only person who is annoyed by the use of what was once a
relatively powerful analytic concept-the military-industrial complex-
used for the purposes of vacuous rhetoric?

>One can distinguish between armed
>struggles which improve the world-the ANC against the white
>supremacists, the IRA against the British colonial presence-and those
>like Vietnam and the Gulf War which murdered hundreds of thousands of
>innocent civilians for no good reason.

What an interesting choice of examples, and how safely far away!  I can
just imagine Che Guevera giving a slight smile in his grave at this
one.  Or has America lifted the economic sanctions against Cuba, and
nobody's told me?  And just try and imagine Nelson Mandela or Desmond
Tuttu coming out with something as limply worded as "struggles ...
against the white supremacists."  Gerry Adams, also will, I am sure,
find it enormously useful to know that his problems with the Real IRA on
the one side and Ian Paisley on the other can be so easily subsumed as a
"struggle ... against the British colonial presence".  I do so love it
when we get initials rather than names.

>I propose Veteran's Day be scrapped and in its place we have an Innocent
>Victims Day, with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown
>Civilian.

Yes, friend, and then we can safely forget the complicated problems
raised by the whole issue.  While we're at it, why don't we add the
innocent victims killed by drunken drivers, or the millions who died in
Europe in the flu epidemic which followed on from World War One?

>PS As one who has been repeatedly accused of digressing from the agreed
>topics of SHAKSPER, I'd like to see an explanation of the relevance of
>Barton's posting to Shakespeare.

How about a set of plays beginning with the Henry VI plays, taking in
the whole of the Second Tetralogy, moving through the Roman Plays, and
taking in on the way _Hamlet_, _Macbeth_, and _King Lear_?

On second thoughts, I withdraw the comment on liberal-humanists-a real
liberal-humanist such as Noam Chomsky might be more than a little
embarrassed by what's said ...

Robin Hamilton

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           J. K. Leonard" <
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Date:           Tuesday, 10 Nov 1998 10:24:37 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 9.1114  Re: Veteran's Day
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1114  Re: Veteran's Day

Sean Lawrence (in an otherwise laudably temperate response) describes
Carol Barton's post as "over the top and irrelevant." How strange that
that phrase "over the top" should be pressed into such service.

John Leonard

[5]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Ullyot <
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Date:           Tuesday, 10 Nov 1998 16:06:57 +0000
Subject: 9.1114  Re: Veteran's Day
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1114  Re: Veteran's Day

Larry Weiss writes on the recent "string" (of epithets, really) over
Carol Barton's harmless Veteran's Day message:

>Hardy, lets call a halt.

Hear, hear.

Michael Ullyot

[6]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <
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Date:           Tuesday, 10 Nov 1998 09:16:00 -0800
Subject: Re: Veteran's Day
Comment:        SHK 9.1114  Re: Veteran's Day

It is interesting to see some Shakespearean themes played out on this
list.

As a proud survivor of Berkeley in the '60s, I like to think I am above
anything as inane and potentially dangerous as patriotism.  While
walking by the Viet Nam memorial in Washington D.C., I felt quite
unmoved.  That war was a big mistake and a waste, in my view, and the
memorial a sentimental tribute to something that was thankfully behind
us.

Then I received a jolt of reality.

As I walked along feeling all sanctimonious and superior, I passed
person after person touching the name of their loved ones and weeping.
However little it meant to me, it meant much to them.  It was a contact
with someone they loved who was taken much too early, a public tribute
to all that the lost ones meant to them.  It was a way of touching them
and an expression of their grief.

I didn't feel superior anymore.

Thoughts of that reality mingled with lines from Shakespeare in my mind,
most especially lines from the "little touch of Harry in the night"
scenes in HENRY V .  What is the responsibility of the man in the
trench?  What is the responsibility of the leaders who send them into
battle?  What is the impact on those who survive, and who gets the
credit or the blame?  The promise of honor may be a motivator, but where
is honor when all those arms and legs chopped off in battle, etc. What
of killing Viet Cong villagers, er, I mean the French prisoners and the
boys in the English camp?

What of those waiting at home?  "My Nell is dead."  How was her life
different for the war, win or lose, except that her husband was away
when she was dying?
In a disguised and unfortunately antagonistic and mean spirited way,
members of this list have debated some of the questions above.  Do I
think Carol Barton's quote was appropriate for this list?  Probably not,
though others have been given similar latitude.  Do I think the
arrogant, mean spirited slashes at her were appropriate?  Certainly
not.  Am I glad to see these great themes debated, even if the writers
do not realize that is what they were doing?

You bet.

Mike Jensen

[7]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           J. K. Campbell <
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Date:           Tuesday, 10 Nov 1998 09:25:42 +0000
Subject: 9.1102  Veteran's Day
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1102  Veteran's Day

Thank you for the tribute and here is an amusing story to go with it.
Paris Island, South Carolina,  August 1967.  A private stood at
attention in a hot squad bay, dressed only in Skivvies and combat
boots.  It was his second day in the Marine Corp.  The dazed recruit (a
prep school; graduate and acting school draftee) was wondering what he
had gotten himself into, when he heard the bellow of his senior drill
instructor's voice thunder out, one of the most terrifying sentences he
had ever heard.  "All right! Give me my actor up here."

The recruit froze in place and mentally raced through his actions since
boarding the plane for this god forsaken place.  No, he had not told a
soul of his avocation nor of the Summer Stock or the Shakespeare company
he had worked for the summers before.  His DI clearly had someone else
in mind, there most be an actor of some fame in the platoon as well, he
thought.  The comfort of that thought did not last long, as the an even
louder and more agitated command followed.   Private Campbell! You
better get up here!

The unfortunate sad sack flew towards the center of the squad bay and
introduced himself to the waiting DI.  " Sir! Private Campbell reporting
as ordered, Sir"

DI:  "Are You an Actor?

Recruit: "Yes Sir"

DI:  "Act"

Recruit:  "Well, Sir.  What I do... is mostly react.. under given
im...".

DI:  "You better do something!":  "You know any of that, To be or not to
be BULLSHIT!

Recruit:  "Yes, Sir!"

DI:  "Do It."

Well the recruit went through the speech as best he could in his combat
boots and underwear and years later when he played Hamlet,  he would
remember his reading of the lines "the insolence of office and the laws
delay" that evening in the squad bay in South Carolina.

The next thing the Drill Instructor asked nearly floored this poor
recruit.  "You know who Joseph Verner Reed is ?"  The recruit looked at
this maniac, who he was convinced could not have possibly graduated from
the eighth grade and only managed to say," yes, sir."

What he really wanted to say was of course I know who Joseph Verner Reed
is, I worked for him last summer.  He is the philanthropist who built
the Stratford Theater in Connecticut.  What I want to know is how the
hell you know about Joseph Verner Reed.
The recruit never got the chance because the next thing he knew he was
attempting to comply with his next command, which was to execute
pirouettes around the 90 other recruits in that squad bay.

Those recruits watched the private fall several times, as pirouettes are
difficult to do in brand new combat boots.  The other recruits dared not
laugh but the actor could tell, they were very glad, they had no
ambitions for the stage.

And so basic training proceeded. Whenever there was a line to wait on or
an officer to impress this recruit was hauled out to recite Hotspur,
Richard III, Macbeth ad nauseaum.

On graduation day, resplendent in my Dress Blues bearing the lofty rank
of Private First Class,  I finally got the chance to ask, Sergeant
Anderson of Springfield Conn. about his knowledge of Mr. Reed, to which
he replied he, was a season subscriber and had been for years.  I
learned that that day, Shakespeare spoke to more then just actors
Several short months later in the Quang Tri provence before what was to
be the longest battle of the conflict, "Shakespeare" as I was known as
then, was hailed up once more.

My fellow Marines wanted to hear "some-um good".  "You got anything in
that book like to soldiers?" I was asked.

My comrades were incredulous to hear Hal mention his cousin
Westmoreland, who was supreme commander in Veit Nam at the time,  in the
St. Crispian's Day speech.

I am one of the few, the happy few, who get to stand a tip-toe when the
Second of May comes around.  The wounds I got on that and other days
would conspire to send me home, others were not that lucky but we all
took comfort from Shakespeare that dark night.

[8]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <
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Date:           Tuesday, 10 Nov 1998 13:09:47 -0500
Subject: Re: Veteran's Day
Comment:        SHK 9.1114  Re: Veteran's Day

Dear Sean Lawrence:

Oh, I see. Father Denis Edward O'Brien, USMC's claim that  'It is the
soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press'
actually EXCLUDES German, Russian, Chinese, Italian, Japanese and Viet
Cong soldiers does it?  Silly of me not to spot that.

T. Hawkes

[9]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Neth Boneskewy <
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Date:           Tuesday, 10 Nov 1998 12:26:09 -0800
Subject:        Shrew and Veteran's Day

Jean Peterson has reminded me of the theatrical production of Shrew by
Charles Marowitz, which must have been the germ for my notion of Shrew
as a horror flick, recalled thru a Halloween fright night frame of mind.
Re:What is a vet?  Perhaps I am wrong to assume it was a bluff and
brotherly reminder from Carol Barton that a man "for thy maintenance
commits his body to painful labor both by sea and land" while women's
"bodies soft and weak and smooth" are "unapt to toil and trouble in the
world"?

Ta.
Neth

[10]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Markus Marti <
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Date:           Wednesday, 11 Nov 1998 01:27:45 +0000
Subject: 9.1114  Re: Veteran's Day
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1114  Re: Veteran's Day

Dear Father Denis Edward O'Brien, USMC:

Do ye not know that Jesus said unto Matthew or one of them 52 veterans:
for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword or have a
missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye?

I do not pity them, because I have not asked them to do this. The world
will be a better one for every soldier less. I do not believe that US
citizens have/had got the duty, the right, or the mission to burn
Vietnam (in order to protect their own families?), to bomb some
oilfields (because former intimate friends turned into maniacs or
Judasses, quite inexpectedly), to save Nicaragua or Granada (because
they want to conquer the States?) or to boycot Cuba (because they
produce cigars) or to teach the world (because of their moral
superiority). Those veterans may be victims, and innocent, either
because of their stupidity (poor subjects of an ideology that propagates
freedom) or because of some material needs - so why not have an Innocent
Victims Day, as Gabriel Egan says, with a wreath-laying ceremony at the
Tomb of the Unknown Civilian? And have some good porn, too.

A Falstaff! A Thersites! A Pandarus and Antony! Down with Talbot,
Hotspur, Richard and all their Henries!

Heartlessly yours, Markus Marti

[11]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Cora Lee Wolfe <
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Date:           Wednesday, 11 Nov 1998 21:22:50 -0700
Subject: 9.1114  Re: Veteran's Day
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1114  Re: Veteran's Day

Thank you Carol Barton.  It bears repeating.

They went because they felt duty bound to protect their families and
friends;they served, in many cases thanklessly...  And if you think
those kids in uniform from the Revolution on didn't preserve your right
to dissent, no matter what lunacy you may be spouting, spend a year in
Turkey shooting off your mouth, or criticizing the government there, and
you might develop a little more respect for the people who gave so much
to get only contempt in return from the likes of those who sit intact in
the safety of their ivy covered towers Thinking Great Thought...

[12]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Cora Lee Wolfe <
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Date:           Wednesday, 11 Nov 1998 21:26:02 -0700
Subject: 9.1114  Re: Veteran's Day
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1114  Re: Veteran's Day

Considering Carol Barton's comments on Shrew, Veterans, the great Bard,
etc., may I ask: Is she a "Shaksper" mole for the fundamentalist right
wing? Fran Barasch

I would say that it is only fair since we seem to have plenty of moles
for the left wing.
 

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