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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Penn Students like THIS better than Shakespeare?

"Too white.  We shall have to discard
this visage."
The University of Pennsylvania is said to be one of our great universities.  It was founded by none other than Benjamin Franklin, one of the greatest Americans (or so the Reigning Establishment long opined, despite his sins of being white and unambiguously male.)

Anyway, it seems the wise Penn pedagogues tired of looking at the face of William Shakespeare. Way white.   Way old.  Way male.  They decided to replace his visage.  But they waited too long, and the oppressed students in the English department determined to pre-empt the faculty and purify the premises.  So they took Bill down, and replaced him with a properly politically-correct poet, a good lesbian, black and therefore holy in skin color, a "warrior" named Audre Lorde.

Mao's little babes.  Let America have its Great Cultural Revolution, and rid ourselves of the Four Olds: old race, old gender, old money, good poems.

And you called William Shakespeare "irreplaceable?"

Just look at this brilliant work!

 Hanging Fire

Related Poem Content Details

I am fourteen 
and my skin has betrayed me   
the boy I cannot live without   
still sucks his thumb 
in secret 
how come my knees are 
always so ashy 
what if I die 
before morning 
and momma's in the bedroom   
with the door closed . . . 

Nobody even stops to think   
about my side of it 
I should have been on Math Team   
my marks were better than his   
why do I have to be 
the one 
wearing braces 
I have nothing to wear tomorrow   
will I live long enough 
to grow up 
and momma's in the bedroom   
with the door closed.

Now that is real poetry!  It may not rhyme, true.   But how mysterious!  What is momma DOING in the bedroom with the door closed?  (Sex?  How subtle!  How universal!)  

One can almost picture this girl - how brilliantly Ms. Lorde has captured her essence, the perfect caricature of a 14-year old's heart!  The universal adolescent, with hardly a trace of individuality -- braces, check, acne, check, unrequited love, check, jealousy over being overlooked, check, misogyny (the whole point), check, questions about sex, check, worries about clothes, check.  Every single cliche one expects from an adult trying to remember or visualize the teenage female condition!  Why, this is almost as brilliant as paint-with-numbers!
  Compare such verbal wizardry to the tawdry doggerel of "The Bard," trying feebly to imagine "what dreams may come" to a desperate young man considering a rash act of revenge against his uncle: 

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? 
Image result for red guards cultural revolution
The Red Guards purify culture.

If only Shakespeare had added something about braces, or Hamlet had wondered what his uncle was up to when he closed the door!  Think how much more universal and suggestive that play would have been!  And why doesn't this young man talk about sex, sports, or cars?  If only Shakespeare had created more fetching and realistic portraits of young people, the eager pups at Benjamin Franklin's old school would not be ashamed to stare at his nose every day.  (Especially if he'd put black face on in shame for his wicked whiteness, and executed a quickie sex change operation.)  

There's one good thing about our Glorious Cultural Revolution.  It helps me sympathize with the lost generation in China.  And it also takes the edge off my nationalistic and class vanities.  It turns out that not a few bright young Americans, and their highly-credentialed teachers, have learned to Love Big Sister, and made themselves look every bit as daft as China's Red Guards, abandoning the wealth and beauty of a great civilization, selling their heritage for a mess of cold porridge, sprinkled with brown sugar and lots of nuts.    

3 comments:

William Brown said...

Bravo, well done. This needs to be sent to the student clones & lockstep admin. at Penn.

Walkinjoy said...

A case for devolution

David B Marshall said...

I removed this from the site for a few weeks, to see if I could get it published in a certain on-line magazine. But they have not responded yet, so here it is again!