The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0452 Thursday, 5 July 2007
Date: Thursday, 5 Jul 2007 10:22:35 +0100
Subject: 18.0447 Degree in Shakespeare
Comment: Re: SHK 18.0447 Degree in Shakespeare
I think Donald Bloom come nearest to defining the social value of
studying Shakespeare's works - but for the most part the response to my
original plea has been vague and unconvincing. I am therefore bound to
conclude that their reading of the bard is no more than an intellectual
position - that this list is a collection of nerdy literary buffs with
absolutely no idea of the true social implications of propagating
Shakespeare's writing. And as incredulous as Terence Hawkes may sound,
the boy Brian on TV actually had never heard of Shakespeare - I bet my
shirt on it.
The weak justification from this list prompts me to widen this topic.
The war that is raging around us - not least in London as I write - is
not of car bombs and mad suicides but one of opposing visions of global
morality. Not one person in this list applied themselves to this aspect
of Shakespeare's works which is tragic in itself. The most I got - and
from other like posts - was that they were promoting some marginal
pleasure which looks alarmingly like intellectual escapism.
Unless we lay out our moral stall for the whole world to see - and be
proud of it - all the future holds is some tyrant's version of Sharia
law - or something. The sum total of the product of the West is not
George Bush and Tony Blair and all the vile incompetence that goes with
them. This great rambling, incomprehensible, loose federation of
neo-Christian cultures we call the liberal democratic west has also
produced Leonardo, Rembrandt, Bach, Dickens, Van Gogh, Einstein, the
consumer economy - and yes, Hollywood and Rock'n'Roll.
Shakespeare was very often enraged by the morality of his contemporaries
- but he spoke out in drama - and for the most part, was allowed to do
so. Shakespeare was almost consumed by moral behaviour - morals of self,
sexuality, religion, politics and the plain effects of how we treat each
The fact that smart people don't want to be part of our governments
anymore is a problem for all of us to face. Perhaps it's Shakespeare theme.
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