[here is a mission district stop sign displaying the bad news.]
today i tried to knit in shakespeare class. i thought it might help turn my potential irritation energy into something more kinetic. but that class is like windshield wipers on the bus. the ones with no rhythm that are impossible to ignore and cannot be made into lemonade. i have begun to realize the teacher is, like so so many teachers, a recruiter for the dark prince of mediocrity. his new approach to shakespeare, the let’s-just-assume-you-don’t-know-the-alphabet approach, means he spends quite a bit of time asking the class, “what does shakespeare mean here?”
as in literally.
and he accepts all answers, even non sequiturs from the girl in row 4 about her “nana” and her “nana’s” roommate at the “rest home” that “passed” (seriously? did i miss the announcement that it was talk like a kindergartner in the 1940’s day?), and he accepts them with nods and smiles and understanding. except for mine. in fact, he isn’t nice about my comments even before i can make them. today he said something about edmund and followed it quickly with: “i know SOME of you think edmund is sympathetic and that’s fine,think whatever you want, but it just isn’t in the play.”
as the only vocal edmund supporter in the class, i find it offensive that he can so quickly dismiss my idea while seemingly backing the theory that king lear is basically about senile old people.
does he have that little respect for shakespeare?
anyway, even more offensive is the idea that he is the final word on what king lear means. people have been discussing the play for 400 years and HE is the guy who knows exactly what’s going on? he’s the guy with the right to end the debate?
i know that i am a jerk and i know that i think i am right pretty much usually. but at least i’m not trying to tell people i know the contents of some dead genius’ brain. instead i’m trying to use my own brain to figure out why i should care about what the dead genius wrote.
i have to say, it isn’t just shakspeare than riles me up. my three classes that aren’t printmaking are all the kind of classes that inspire mid-discussion fantasies about jumping out of the window so my legs will break and i can scream without seeming crazy.
i was accused last night in fiction class of “not believing in poverty.” it was a situation that reminded me of a day in a class at lewis & clark when a girl brought in a generic getting-drunk-getting-taken-advantage-of story and then hated me forever when i told her that if she wanted anyone to care about her story, she had to make it more specific and she had to show us why it was any more important than a letter to 17 or something. i didn’t mean “i don’t believe this happened,” i meant “as a reader i need a little more than the obvious response to date rape to get me involved with the protagonist.”
so last night when i said, “i want to know more about these people and why they are here,” my teacher said, “there are people all over the world living in poverty; why are you having such a hard time believing they live in hawaii?”
the story is set in hawaii.
i know there are a lot of very poor people in hawaii. but relying on things like “we were poor” or “i was raped” for the conditioned reaction they illicit in a reader is like playing sappy string music in a movie when the babies are coming in to see their dying mother for the last time. it’s lazy and meaningless.
or option b: i live such a high-class life, it is out of the realm of my imagination to comprehend the idea of poverty.
another girl in class wrote a story in the vein of something (she actually said this) “that might be in cat fancy magazine.”
see what i mean about the allure of broken legs?
oh well. i already knew that most people love mediocrity and generally hate anything that challenges them in anyway. that means hugging cliches, making-out with people who call cats “baby” and pecking people with interesting ideas to death as quickly as possible. no big surprises really.
otherwise: the global warming destroyer is now officially moved out and tomorrow we are getting a new guy. i’m trying to hate him for awhile because the last few people i’ve really liked at first are now my mortal enemies. so i figure, why not reverse the process and see what happens?
so: god what is the deal with my new roommate? if he looks me in the eye one more time, i am calling the police.
now on to eternal friendship.