The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2215 Thursday, 7 November 2002
From: Sam Small <
Date: Wednesday, 6 Nov 2002 14:35:46 -0000
Subject: 13.2208 Re: Taming of the Shrew Film
Comment: Re: SHK 13.2208 Re: Taming of the Shrew Film
Claude Caspar's defence of his previous peculiar remark should warm the
hearts of many an embryo dictator. To be told something is beautiful is
an assault on our freedom of thought. Many intelligent people thought
Communism was a jolly good thing 30 years ago. Where are they now?
That an intelligent person says something is beautiful means nothing at
all. Precisely nothing. It is in the eye of the beholder - to other
beholders it could be gross ugliness. For instance, I find Mozart's
music spiritless, clever-clever, computer-esque, soulless, two
dimensional, repetitive and tuneless. Why? I have no idea and I have
no intention of finding out. I think Rembrandt was a genius above all
others but find Picasso a bore. JS Bach's music always thrills me,
whereas Jazz leaves me stone cold. I love the Sex Pistols but find The
Clash tiresome. God only knows why and I don't think he's about to tell
Loving Shakespeare is not a truth waiting to be discovered by all
members of the human race. Millions of people find going to a
Shakespeare play near to torture. They find the plots mind-numbingly
predictable, characters seem camp and affected, speeches seem to last
for hours, relationships have no logic, the language deliberately
opaque, emotional outbursts seem to have no credence and - as a cab
driving father of an actor friend of mine said - "it's posh people
Of course it's true that our tastes change as we get older. But
sometimes things we liked as youths we no longer find attractive. It is
all a question of taste, upbringing, education, friends, chance, destiny
and a thousand other factors. In short - taste is a mystery.
America's irreverence for hierarchy is the centrepiece of the national
culture. Or else they'd still be a British satellite waiting to hear
the next wise decree uttered from another pompous barefaced English
aristocrat. I don't think so. America could be the spiritual centre of
the earth because of her rejection of traditional cultural tyranny.
Shakespeare would have emigrated. I might too.
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