On the one hand yes, it’s frustrating especially when people get it a little wrong and I have to restrain my irate inner Shakesprof—
But that’s just tiresome. Not only because it’s a) a losing battle, and b) a deployment of cultural capital and privilege, but also because it’s unrealistic, and perhaps not altogether true to how popular culture, and Shakespeare, work. It’s the first thing I ask my students: what are we doing when we do Shakespeare? Only the texts? Only the plays in performance? Do the films count? Do the retellings count? One scholar calls it “Shakespeares After Shakespeare”: given that the plays themselves were never meant to be read, but enacted, and not designed to be literary monuments but theatrical experiments, always subject to revision, new uses of Shakespeare can’t be dismissed out of hand. Like it or not, these lines that circulate far out of context no longer have a meaningful relation to Shakespeare (we call them “post-hermeneutic”). But that doesn’t mean they’re not meaningful. It’s just that their meaning has grown not from their attachment to Shakespeare’s context and intention, but from their circulation in culture, from all the uses people have made of them outside of Shakespeare.
But yeah, as a Shakespeare geek it bugs me all to fuck and back when people spout one of these butchered lines without knowing what it means. It ESPECIALLY fucking bugs me when they do so in order to demonstrate how smart and classy and educated they are. But I try to rein in the bugfuck and use it as a
teachingsharing opportunity. “Oh man, have you ever read that play? It’s amazing—here, let me email you a copy. You want my notes?”
YAY! Thank you! Let’s not be dicks about stuff like this, let’s be chill and educate people. Ultimately we derive our own meaning from Shakespeare’s words both in the plays we read and in their wider cultural context.
all i’m saying is if an all-girls school crashed on the island in lord of the flies then they would’ve been off the island in a week
Instead of: “There is more than one way to skin a cat.”
Say: “There is more than one way to build a house.”
Instead of: “Kill two birds with one stone.”
Say: “Bathe two birds in one birdbath.”
Instead of: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”
Say: “How do you plant a forest? One seed at a time.”
Let’s work to remove the casual violence from our everyday speech, friends.
i found the vegan