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01 December 2006 @ 04:29 pm
for the last bloody time, Queen Mab is not a tablet of E!  
That's it, Ron Rosenbaum. The Shakespeare Wars and I are through. Seriously.

I sat through the needless slams on academia, your weird obsession with Peter Brook, your ridiculous idea that people use theory to protect them from the unbearable instability at the heart of close-reading (um, because, what?), your self-aggrandizing throughout the book, your statement that "acolytes" of Greenblatt's had somehow caused the death of the author (really?), your support of The Merchant of Venice as an anti-Semitic play that consisted only of the fact that the Nazis staged it a lot--which is a telling observation, sure, but not so much about the play as about the play's reception. (Whenever he presents an argument that attempts to point out anything else about the play, like the fact that, hey, it's not like the Christians are all sunshine and virtue either, his "rebuttal" consists of, "Yeah, that must be why the Nazis staged it so much, because of all the critique of Christians." Seriously.)

But then you had to go and defend the hallucinatory crapfest that is Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet. Defend it on the grounds that people who don't like it require their Shakespeare to be stately and RP (as opposed to, you know, acted by actors who have some idea of what their words mean). Defend it on the grounds that it's so surprising that Luhrmann's film actually contains, like, Shakespeare's own words and stuff, instead of being a retelling like O. (To which I say, at least then I wouldn't have had to listen to Leo mangle "Let lips do what hands do: they pray. Grant thou, lest faith turn to depair...") Defend it on the grounds that Harold Perrineau's black, cross-dressing Mercutio (who is pretty awesome, I'll grant) is Christopher Marlowe and that the whole stupid "Queen Mab as a drug" thing actually illuminates something about the text. (Sorry, but no.)

And then, adding insult to crap, he defends the ending because of some shared communion Romeo and Juliet manage to have, and how "Luhrmann's mute mutual gaze of loss and horror could be said to have illuminated rather than contradicted [Peter] Holland's vision of Shakespeare's 'tragedy of incompletion' (343). I love how Rosenbaum completely gets his knickers in a twist about how damaging cuts in the recent Merchant of Venice film are to the conception of the play, and how it's so important to let Shakespeare have the last word instead of going for directorial intervention or invention, but completely ignores the fact that Juliet, like, has words and stuff in her last scene in the play, and that "mute mutual gaze" only works--only exists in the first place--if you deny Juliet her chance to speak. If you deny her her chance to say her goodbyes to Romeo as poignantly as he has just done. HATE.

Current Mood: crankycranky
the cold genius: oh noes by ablog_ortwoangevin2 on December 1st, 2006 10:06 pm (UTC)
Does this mean I'm a Bad Person because I, erm, actually sorta liked that movie?

Erm, the rest of the book sounds silly though. Especially the bit about theory and close reading. I have to admit to a certain suspicion, though, about people who are anti-theory because it reminds me of a prof I had whom I really dislike.
tempestsarekind: viola as thomastempestsarekind on December 2nd, 2006 04:48 am (UTC)
Hee. No, it really just means that Leonardo DiCaprio's inability to recite verse properly drives me up a wall, and that my best friend and I used to get in arguments about the movie. And that I'm really irritated by this book I'm reading. The notes of his interviews would be so much more interesting.

I'm somewhat anti-theory, but I suspect this is mainly because I don't Get It. If I actually understood what I was reading, it would be a whole different ball game. Someday, perhaps...