1999

Sports and Shakespeare

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1213  Thursday, 1 July 1999.

From:           Tom Dale Keever <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 1 Jul 1999 00:26:00 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Sports and Shakespeare

NPR sports commentator Frank DeFord recently mused on the effect of
sports "highlights" on the appreciation of athletics and worked his way
around to an interesting observation about Shakespeare.  I quote it for
our consideration:

"Boring."  The one word that everyone in sports fears, and hears.
"That's boring."  "That's really boring."  "Soccer is boring."  "Running
the football is boring."  "Pete Sampras is so boring."  Nothing else
matters if the fans, especially the young fans, find it "boring."  Tony
Gwyn was trying to explain to me the other day why so few
African-Americans play baseball anymore.  He said baseball is perceived
as boring.  That's all.  Tony Gwyn himself is the greatest hitter of our
time, plus he's a gentleman of the first order,   He shook is head.
"I'm boring," he sighed.

But on the other hand because Mike Tyson's a total loose cannon he's not
boring.  He can't box, but promoters were lined up to vie for his next
fight as soon as Iron Mike got out of jail the other day.  Wrestling is
scripted so it is never boring and setting rating records by the day.
Neither is Shaquille O'Neill boring  He plays the Jolly Green Giant on
the court with slam dunks that are always called "awesome."  All season
long NBC showed Shaq's Laker team to the exclusion of all others.  But
free throws are boring.  Practicing free throws is even more boring.  So
Shaq's team got whipped by the San Antonio Spurs whose stars, Tim Duncan
and David Robinson are complete, solid, team-oriented players.  Boring.
Nobody wants to see them just win games.

I am convinced that a large reason for this burgeoning attitude is the
"highlights" on TV which fill up the local sports reports and the
network roundups.  "Highlights" consist of holes-in-one, hockey fights,
automobile race crashes, and desperation basketball shots taken from
half court that go in, in slow motion.  Naturally if you grow up
watching game "highlights" actual games are "boring."

Well unfortunately I'm afraid this is also starting to become true for
other aspects of our existence.  Life follows sports: the "highlighting"
of America.  If you notice the main thing we hear about the presidential
candidates is simply that they are boring.  Except of course president
Clinton isn't.  Like the Shaq and wrestling he's always had good
highlights.  That's the key.  I'm sorry but the real world does not have
good highlights.

And whereas everybody said that the Academy award winning show
"Shakespeare in Love" proved that everyone adored the bard, "Shakespeare
in Love" was basically just a Shakespeare "highlights" film.  Of course
nobody's going to see "A Midsummer Night's Dream" now.  It's not as good
as the Shakespeare highlights.  In "Shakespeare in Love" you didn't have
to sit through all of the "boring" stuff.   You just got the good
quotes, like "Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou?"  and a sword fight.
You also got to see Shakespeare's girlfriend rolling around in bed
naked.  Stupid Shakespeare never once had Portia, or Ophelia, or Lady
Macbeth naked.  I'm telling you, as a Shakespeare "highlight" film,
"Shakespeare in Love" is the worst thing that could ever happen to the
real Shakespeare.  Now his plays will forever be "boring."  . . .

Tom Dale Keever
Graduate Fellow - Columbia University
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
http://www.columbia.edu/~tdk3

Sports and Shakespeare

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1213  Thursday, 1 July 1999.

From:           Tom Dale Keever <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 1 Jul 1999 00:26:00 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Sports and Shakespeare

NPR sports commentator Frank DeFord recently mused on the effect of
sports "highlights" on the appreciation of athletics and worked his way
around to an interesting observation about Shakespeare.  I quote it for
our consideration:

"Boring."  The one word that everyone in sports fears, and hears.
"That's boring."  "That's really boring."  "Soccer is boring."  "Running
the football is boring."  "Pete Sampras is so boring."  Nothing else
matters if the fans, especially the young fans, find it "boring."  Tony
Gwyn was trying to explain to me the other day why so few
African-Americans play baseball anymore.  He said baseball is perceived
as boring.  That's all.  Tony Gwyn himself is the greatest hitter of our
time, plus he's a gentleman of the first order,   He shook is head.
"I'm boring," he sighed.

But on the other hand because Mike Tyson's a total loose cannon he's not
boring.  He can't box, but promoters were lined up to vie for his next
fight as soon as Iron Mike got out of jail the other day.  Wrestling is
scripted so it is never boring and setting rating records by the day.
Neither is Shaquille O'Neill boring  He plays the Jolly Green Giant on
the court with slam dunks that are always called "awesome."  All season
long NBC showed Shaq's Laker team to the exclusion of all others.  But
free throws are boring.  Practicing free throws is even more boring.  So
Shaq's team got whipped by the San Antonio Spurs whose stars, Tim Duncan
and David Robinson are complete, solid, team-oriented players.  Boring.
Nobody wants to see them just win games.

I am convinced that a large reason for this burgeoning attitude is the
"highlights" on TV which fill up the local sports reports and the
network roundups.  "Highlights" consist of holes-in-one, hockey fights,
automobile race crashes, and desperation basketball shots taken from
half court that go in, in slow motion.  Naturally if you grow up
watching game "highlights" actual games are "boring."

Well unfortunately I'm afraid this is also starting to become true for
other aspects of our existence.  Life follows sports: the "highlighting"
of America.  If you notice the main thing we hear about the presidential
candidates is simply that they are boring.  Except of course president
Clinton isn't.  Like the Shaq and wrestling he's always had good
highlights.  That's the key.  I'm sorry but the real world does not have
good highlights.

And whereas everybody said that the Academy award winning show
"Shakespeare in Love" proved that everyone adored the bard, "Shakespeare
in Love" was basically just a Shakespeare "highlights" film.  Of course
nobody's going to see "A Midsummer Night's Dream" now.  It's not as good
as the Shakespeare highlights.  In "Shakespeare in Love" you didn't have
to sit through all of the "boring" stuff.   You just got the good
quotes, like "Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou?"  and a sword fight.
You also got to see Shakespeare's girlfriend rolling around in bed
naked.  Stupid Shakespeare never once had Portia, or Ophelia, or Lady
Macbeth naked.  I'm telling you, as a Shakespeare "highlight" film,
"Shakespeare in Love" is the worst thing that could ever happen to the
real Shakespeare.  Now his plays will forever be "boring."  . . .

Tom Dale Keever
Graduate Fellow - Columbia University
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
http://www.columbia.edu/~tdk3

Apothecaries of 16th century London

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1212  Thursday, 1 July 1999.

From:           Sean Lawrence <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 30 Jun 1999 21:48:05 +0000
Subject:        Apothecaries of 16th century London

To all and sundry,

I'm posting this on behalf of a friend.  We would both be grateful if
you would reply to him directly, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thank you all for your anticipated insight.

*******
I was wondering if you could ask the members of the SHAKSPER (or any
other relevant listserv) if anyone knows (and is willing to contact and
enlighten me about) anything pertaining to apothecary shops in London
from 1572-1634--what precisely they dealt in, what they sold,
particularly luxury goods. Pointers to articles, books, and other
references are welcome.
*****

Cheers,
Se


Apothecaries of 16th century London

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1212  Thursday, 1 July 1999.

From:           Sean Lawrence <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 30 Jun 1999 21:48:05 +0000
Subject:        Apothecaries of 16th century London

To all and sundry,

I'm posting this on behalf of a friend.  We would both be grateful if
you would reply to him directly, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thank you all for your anticipated insight.

*******
I was wondering if you could ask the members of the SHAKSPER (or any
other relevant listserv) if anyone knows (and is willing to contact and
enlighten me about) anything pertaining to apothecary shops in London
from 1572-1634--what precisely they dealt in, what they sold,
particularly luxury goods. Pointers to articles, books, and other
references are welcome.
*****

Cheers,
Se


Cliffs Notes

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1211  Thursday, 1 July 1999.

From:           Margaret H. Dupuis <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 30 Jun 1999 12:23:08 -0700
Subject:        Cliffs Notes

Although there may be valid criticisms of Cliffs Notes, I don't think
that the argument that such guides "prevent students from coming up with
their own interpretations" is one of them.  Surely, if academic research
teaches us anything, it is that most of us rarely, if ever, have
"original" interpretations.  We all build upon the work, thoughts, and
ideas of others and, at best, add our two-cents' worth to the
conversation.  At any rate, when my students (university level) do come
up with "original" interpretations of material from Shakespeare's plays,
these readings are usually completely "out of the blue" and not based on
historical evidence.  (I had a student paper that argued that
Shakespeare based the character of Olivia in *TN on Elizabeth because
they both had broken hearts.)  It seems to me that if Cliffs Notes
wishes to revise their publication in order to add more background
material "including sociopolitical, historical, religious, and economic
issues"-to quote from Mr. Tubach's letter- then these additions can only
enhance students' understanding of the text.

As has been pointed out, students do abuse Cliffs Notes, but as many of
you have suggested, there are very effective ways for teachers (of all
levels of students) to get around these attempts at laziness or
desperation.  And although Cliffs Notes may be more accessible than
other secondary sources, and thus more available for abuse, students are
just as adept at cribbing other sources, e.g., I once received an
"adaptation" of an essay by Northrup Frye on The Tempest from a student,
complete with a note about how he "fell in love with the play" and hoped
that I wouldn't mind that he didn't write on one of the assigned topics!

Margaret Dupuis
Dept. of English
University of Oregon

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