It's yet another fun day of sloth here at House O' Samurai. It's rained all day, the Goober's been in her pajamas, and we've both been snacking and have totally blown off regular meals. She's having a ball. Boy, is she going to hate a return to real life, tomorrow.
Anyway, there have been a couple subjects raised here in the last week or so that got a lot of comments, and I wanted to comment upon them further, so here you go.
THE STASHING ISSUE:
I can't tell from some of the comments left if people were generally agreeing with me, or if some of you thought I was trying to tell you how to spend your money. If it's the second case, please let me reassure you. Not only do I think it's rude to tell someone how to spend their money, I also think there are a lot of worse things to do with your spare cash than buy yarn. I'm firing up the dye pot again, now that the weather has cooled, and will be re-listing the sock yarn left over from last year as well. So please. Buy all the yarn you want. If you wanna insulate your house with it, knock yourself out.
THE GREAT LITERATURE ISSUE:
I said Shakespeare was a hack, and people went wild. Which, no offense, is kind of why I can't stand the guy. It's not so much that he truly sucks, it's that everyone holds him up as the be-all end-all of English lit, and really all he was, was a pop culture wonk, trying to make a buck. Amy Lane and I have discussed this in e-mail a little bit... she compared him to Stephen Spielburg, that he made a bunch of movies/plays and some money and was pretty much the pop culture king of his day. Personally I think Amy's giving The Bard too much credit. Spielburg has used his talent for some good social awareness (Saving Private Ryan, Schindler's List), and The Bard's social awareness didn't go much further than sucking up to the royal family. I think of The Bard more as a historic version of Jerry Bruckheimer.
Studying Shakespeare in school, to me, is kind of like if they took a Brukheimer movie, let's say Pirates of the Caribbean, waited four hundred years, and because it was old, said it was profound. Then they make every kid in school watch it and discuss it, and people put on tuxedos and spend a week's pay to see it over and over in fancy theaters. That's what we do with Shakespeare. So, if you wanna read Shakespeare, and like the guy, knock yourselves out. But I don't think he was some fantastical example of Great Literature. He was just a guy, a product of his time, trying to make a buck. (And I don't think he's the one who actually wrote the plays, I think a peer of the realm did it anonymously, but that's a discussion for another day.)
What do I like, you may ask? Well, if we're talking about historic writings that I find profound, or at least throught-provoking, I go further back and hit what I consider the really good stuff. Beowulf, the Ulster Cycle (there is a good novelization of it called The Red Branch, by Morgan Llewellyn), the Arthurian Legends (and the related, older, Welsh stuff), the Icelandic Sagas (which Tolkien ripped off -er- adapted). Like that. All contain great commentary on the human condition, great stories, and fascinating characters. Plus they're as old or older than Shakespeare, and so I think legitimate if we're going for historic fiction. Plus there's always Canterbury Tales, but that's about sex and farting, though good for a laugh. Aristophanes was pretty funny, too, but seriously low class. I don't care if he was famous and ancient and wrote in Greek.
I guess profundity is in the eye of the beholder. Folklore fans, all those links above came from Sacred Texts, a wonderful database of all that is holy (or used to be holy) from all over the world. Enjoy.
It has begun raining, again, so I'm going to click "publish" before the cable goes out.