Don’t Get Your Kirtles in a Bunch

Clarification: I have no issues with Shakespeare, the writer; he seems like a stand up kind of guy. Nor do I have any major objections to “Shakespeare” as a body of work (although I must say that if I never read Hamlet again it wouldn’t be too soon). I’m just tired of permanent residents of the Ivory Tower foisting the theories of terrible German philosophers on me.

My issues are with Shakespeare, the subject, as taught by most college profs. Because this is where most of the terrible philosophers pop up. Because people who teach Shakespeare think it’s important. Because other people who teach Shakespeare say it is. (These are also the same people who think it’s cool to talk about all the great places they’ve traveled to/teached at/lived in about every 20 minutes.)

Plus, I suspect, the reason these awful teachers don’t break down theories like Hegelian dialectics into palatable chunks is (I’m nearly certain at this point) because they (the profs) don’t understand terrible philosophers any more than we do. (You can tell when they start to try and “summarize.”)

Really, huge chunks of many impenetrable philosophic theories just look good on a syllabus. Your gig is up, craptastic Shakespearean professors. I know your game.

More matter with less art.




6 thoughts on “Don’t Get Your Kirtles in a Bunch”

  1. Bingo! Any professor who can make Shakespeare humorless and boring (this goes for Hegel as well as your local yokels) is not worth listening to.

    I managed to avoid reading all of the great philosophers by taking a survey course called “European Intellectual History,” which was basically Philosophy Spark Notes by a fabulous lecturer who gave used all the best quotes and did lots of summarizing, so I can sound like I've actually read the stuff without all the work.

    Or, you could memorize the lyrics to The Drunken Philosophers Song (Monty Python), which is also a pretty good summary.

  2. If you liked Hegel on Tragedy, check out Stalin's essay on Midsummer Night's Dream. A must read. Turgid, whacko, tone deaf.

    Come to think of it, I should write that essay. It would be weirdly funny.

    As a general matter 19th century German philosophers are insufferably bad writers. Sadly, they have become something of a model for academia and left-wing film critics. Now THAT'S Tragedy.

  3. You've hit the big problem of returning to Liberal Arts as an adult instead of an impressionable 18 year old. Your brain having returned from the mushy stage to a functioning organism can now identify the posturing and ego trips of those brainy but flawed people filling the halls of ivy. It's the price one has to pay to get those letters after your name. Learning is something that can be done on one's own

  4. Both of these posts made me LOL (probably the worst abbreviation to use when discussing Shakespeare).

    Although I know you clarified that you don't have any problem with Shakespeare, I, despite many years of having read/theorized about him and his works, do.

    Maybe it's just over-exposure. Maybe it's exactly what you have a problem with. But, I'm more of a Dante girl.

    I almost moved my wedding date when I found out it coincided with his birthday. But now, I am forever linked with Shakespeare.

    You are not alone. 🙂

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