The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2191 Tuesday, 18 November 2003
Date: Monday, 17 Nov 2003 13:00:09 -0500
Subject: Bard Barred For Being Too Boring
Bard barred for being too boring
Chris McGreal in Johannesburg
Wednesday April 18, 2001
Generations of schoolchildren have been saying it for years but finally
it is official: Shakespeare is boring, unlikely and ridiculous.
At least that is the view of a committee of teachers appointed by the
education department of South Africa's most important province, Gauteng,
which wants to ban some of the Bard's works from state school reading
lists because they have unhappy endings, lack cultural diversity and
fail to promote the South African constitution's rejection of racism and
Julius Caesar never had a chance of making it past the sexism criteria,
with the committee condemning the work because it "elevates men". Antony
and Cleopatra and the Taming of the Shrew fared little better, both
being described as undemocratic and racist.
Hamlet was declared persona non grata on the grounds that the play is
"not optimistic or uplifting". But it was the "too despairing" King Lear
that fared the worst. "The play lacks the power to excite readers and is
full of violence and despair. The plot is rather unlikely and
ridiculous," the committee concluded.
Those that slipped through included Romeo and Juliet (presumably not for
its happy ending), The Merchant of Venice, (anti-semitism not being
considered racism?) and Macbeth.
. . .
Some of South Africa's most prominent writers and artists plan to send a
letter of protest to the ruling African National Congress accusing it of
"political correctness gone mad".
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