A constant whine among stupid people — professors and students alike — is that Literature classes should no longer have to read Shakespeare because he’s “not relevant to today’s world” or some such nonsense.

Now I can understand why students whine about reading Shakespeare, because they’re ignorant and immature, and “that’s not English, dude” — IDK wht u sez LOL — as though if it’s not “modern” then it’s not worth learning.

I will also disregard the usual cant about Shakespeare being beyond the pale because he’s, like, old and a Dead White Male Patriarch to boot.

Over at Taki’s place, David Cole has written an absolute masterpiece on Aaron, the arch-villian in Titus Andronicus  (one of my favorite of all the Bard’s works, because if you think that Brian De Palma is the be-all and end-all of violent writing, Andronicus  has him beaten by a country mile).

What Cole proves (as though any proof were needed) is just how relevant Shakespeare is in today’s world.  And what Shakespeare proves is that when it comes to the human condition, there’s very little new under the sun.

Go there now and read it all.

And then read Titus Andronicus, for the full treatment of malevolence and violence.


  1. I knew we were doomed decades ago when I first read that Harry Potter books were being translated from English to English (UK to American) because heaven forbid American kids learn what a crumpet is.

    When I was growing up we read the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe in elementary school. Being American kids we had no idea what Turkish Delight was, so our teacher brought some in to give to the students. We got to learn first hand how disgustingly awful it is.

    I know I sound like an old fuddy duddy, but that was what we used to call learning. Now-a-days we’re too worried about kids feeling stupid or ignorant to teach them anything. (And of course today: allergies!!)

    1. “…we had no idea what Turkish Delight was, so our teacher brought some in to give to the students. We got to learn first hand how disgustingly awful it is.
      Turkish delight is buttfucking, right? ;>)
      Very progressive school you had there, ahead of its time. The NEA only recently has gotten around to pushing for sex education in elementary schools.

        1. I have read widely. People ask, “How do you know that?”
          Don’t accept invitations from valine76 for “Hot Lunches” or “Watersports.”

        2. Actually, I made the connection from extensive reading some years ago about WW1. The Ottoman Turks were known to have gang raped Allied officer POW’s in order to humiliate them, believing it diminished the officers’ manhood, authority and ability to lead.
          Before reading your post, I had never heard of a Turkish delight, so I had no context for the phrase, other than the locker room connection to the Turks’ behavior in WWI. I meant no disparagement of your post.

          1. No need to apologize to me. It was CS Lewis’ plot device, not mine. Can’t believe you’ve never read The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe.

            That was a staple when I was in school.

  2. The hilarious part is how so many people deride Shakespeare for not being relevant, while their examples of “modern” literature are all ripped from Hamlet, The Taming of the Shrew, or other works by The Bard.

    1. Cirby,
      you’re absolutely right. change some costuming and the words, but the basic plots from Shakespeare are regurgitated throughout modern “culture.”

      To dismiss Shakespeare for any reason is utterly foolish. His writings have formed the basis for much of Western Civilization’s entertainment for centuries. And rightly so. I don’t see the equivalent quality coming from other cultures. But to point that out is to be too Euro centric according to the moronic scolds and harpies.


  3. The human condition is precisely what all literature, including theatre, is about.

    That, and wit and literary technique, are what make it so delightful.

    An English curriculum teaches a student how to think.

    Today’s curricula seem to teach the poor students what to think (mostly that white is bad and black is good).

    I’m on the steering committee for my university’s English Department.

    And we have a Hemingway room in our home.

    Literature inspires me.

    Just like guns, cars, women and music.

  4. I read that article before you linked to it Kim, and found it very good. I like you have moments when I could kiss David Cole, and other times I would love to watch him kneecapped.

    As well as your thesis of why Shakespeare is relevant. He is, in the original writing. Reading Shakespeare, and Kipling, and Wodehouse, and Haggard, and Thackeray, not only forced me to add to my vocabulary, but brought me the amazing opportunity to escape to another world the only way books can.

    As for the timeless nature of humanity, in a Rebecca Sharp, or Aaron, or Inspector Javier. What more can be said. My kids beyond theatrical renditions (heavily slanted btw) are unfamiliar and uninterested. Instead they consider drag-queens something relevant.

    Good God Almighty.

  5. For bloodthirsty Shakespeare fans looking for something with contemporaneous meaning, I’d also suggest Coriolanus (there’s a great adaptation with Ralph Fiennes and Gerard Butler available for boob toob viewing as well).

  6. The pseudo-intellectual slobs have been deriding the educational standards of the recent past, probably since the time of the Roman Empire, if not earlier. The cry always boils down to “Teach what we already know, so we look smart and hip!”

Comments are closed.