Rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture.
Friday, December 25, 2015
"Nice Play, Shakespeare!"
(notice the earring)
Remember “Nice play,Shakespeare!” You’d say it to someone
when they’d flubbed up. Makes you wonder if anyone ever said it to Shakespeare
himself, say when he committed a faux pas. Also makes you wonder whether
Shakespeare would have gotten the joke, Was he self-involved enough to think
that he was simply being praised for one of his masterpieces? An example of this might
have been a situation where Shakespeare broke a floorboard at the Globe on the
night of a scheduled performance of Twelfth
Night. One of his techs could easily have said “Nice play, Shakespeare,” to
express their annoyance at the clumsiness of their boss. It might even has
simply come off as a bit of good natured chiding of the kind that Shakespeare
would have endured if there’d been a WHCA (White House Correspondents' Association) annual dinner back in Elizabethan
times--which he’d been invited to attend. Horatio might have said “Nice, play
Shakespeare,” when Hamlet stabbed Polonius who was hiding behind the arras, but
the self-conscious reference to the author of the play might have fucked with
Coleridge’s “willing suspension of disbelief.” The case of Hamlet is even more
complicated, for if you said “Nice play, Shakespeare” to Shakespeare and he was
too narcissistic to get the sarcasm, he still wouldn’t know which play you
were talking about Hamlet, or the
play within the play, The Mousetrap.
Your average Joe has an advantage in this regard. He doesn’t have to worry
about being Shakespeare and he knows he’s screwed up when someone says,
“Nice play, Shakespeare!”
Francis Levy's debut novel, Erotomania: A Romance, was released in August 2008 by Two Dollar Radio.
His short stories, criticism, humor, and poetry have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, The Village Voice, The East Hampton Star, The Quarterly, Penthouse, Architectural Digest, TV Guide, The Journal of Irreproducible Results, and other publications. One of his Voice humor pieces was anthologized in The Big Book of New American Humor (HarperCollins). He is presently the Co-Director of The Philoctetes Center for the Multidisciplinary Study of Imagination (philoctetes.org), where he supervises roundtable discussions on topics as varied as “The Psychology of the Modern Nation State” and “Modern Traffic Theory, Behavior, and Imagination”.