Archive for King Lear

12 April 2013: King Lear: Workout: Elizabeth Warren: Happy Joe Biden: Etc.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 12, 2013 by spinoza1111

Congee, completed King Lear and got started on Macbeth. I don’t like Macbeth, I must admit: it’s too high schooley, the text is corrupt beyond the Hecate passages which we know were written by Shakespeare’s colleague Thomas Middleton who may have written the first “treatment” of Measure for Measure.

However, Middleton must have had, in Shakespeare’s opinion, “a good fist” for playwriting since he was a major co-author when Shakespeare in his later career was too lazy, perhaps too ill (some modern scholars say that Shakespeare may have had a rare cancer of the tear ducts; this would make sense for the guy must have cried many bitter tears over Hathaway and Hamnet).

I very much like the way, in the 1608 version, Albany, “the milk livered man” according to Goneril, takes charge at the end. Feminists think that the don’t need sub-“Alpha” males (where the males who are “alpha” are such through their own proclamation) and share, in the case of feminists identified with the corporation, the alpha view of the other ranks: non-Alpha males are considered in our culture to be unworthy geeks.

But Albany, unlike Henry VI who merely tries, does a good job in Act V apart from failing to rescue Lear and Cordelia. Here’s Albany overruling Goneril and Edmund before Edmund and Edgar’s trial by combat is resumed:

ALBANY: The let-alone lies not in your good will.
EDMUND: Nor in thine, lord.
ALBANY: Half-blooded fellow, yes.
REGAN: [To EDMUND] Let the drum strike, and prove my title thine.
ALBANY: Stay yet; hear reason. Edmund, I arrest thee
On capital treason; and, in thine attaint,
This gilded serpent Pointing to Goneril
For your claim, fair sister,
I bar it in the interest of my wife:
‘Tis she is sub-contracted to this lord,
And I, her husband, contradict your bans.
If you will marry, make your loves to me,
My lady is bespoke.
GONERIL: An interlude!

“Goneril” probably should in performance say “an interlude” with a screech of half-mad laughter for “an interlude” probably means “a short but mirthful comic show”: but her daemonic female authority depends completely on that of Edmund who’s about to give up and give away the game, affirming his evil and Edgar’s right.

At this point Albany is risking his life by claiming that because his wife is unfaithfully in league with Edmund, this causes her titular rights to pass to him. It’s a bold move which Albany quietly makes. It restores the moral order which was disturbed by Edmund’s crime of assaulting his father Gloucester (incitement of Cornwall to attack his own father).

S clearly felt that the ideal ruler would be humble and if possible non-violent. Prospero in the Tempest is often cited as a tyrant; his critics refuse to credit him for preferring “closeness and study” to ruling but I find him close to an ideal model of kingship, even fatherhood, for stocking his boat, when fleeing his brother, with books.

Screen Shot 2013-04-13 at 11.10.39 AM
Lincoln Reads to Tad

Fathers who read make IMHO good fathers. Lincoln is photographed tenderly sharing books with his youngest son. Fathers who read often delight in buying and sharing books, especially their favorites from their own childhood.

In light of this it disturbs me that Prospero is dismissed so readily as less interesting than Miranda or Caliban by feminist-influenced critics. You have only to watch a gender-bender version of the play (such as Helen Mirren’s marvelous performance in which she plays “Prospera” which scans exactly the same as “Prospero”, thus does no violence to the text) to find Prospera an interesting character.

Workout

20 minutes rackety row: four laps walking. Lower legs like sticks.

Elizabeth Warren and Happy Joe Biden

Senator Warren rips into the savaging of Social Security as I struggle but merely with the mechanics of transmittal given the incompetence of HSBC employees.

Hmm. My benefits: higher than Warren’s brother. Altho I don’t deserve more than him I take what I can get. The key was working at salaried jobs with high pay in software throughout all of the 1970s & 1980s and most of the 1990s. The take-away is don’t be an “entrepreneur” unless you have the cash flow to pay in to social security from checks that clear the bank.

But that’s precisely the sort of checks and the sort of customer that writes them that’s disappearing to be replaced by internships, long term unemployment, and adventures such as working in China.

Looks like I might avoid cat food and I’m getting excellent medical care through dumb luck and a Hong Kong ID. But as individuals struggling for our own survival, we need to work salaried high paid jobs having cultivated the skills to do so. Interestingly, these jobs almost uniquely are high-skill jobs in high technology demanding that we know things like “objects”, “semaphores”, and “compilers” cold.

I cultivated this type of knowledge and retain much of it. But it is also interesting that the very knowledge of geek subjects destroys personalities, making them apolitical and uninteresting.

Nonetheless, traditional jobs for the middle class demand this type of skill/knowledge.

People now employed need to avoid the sort of sabbaticals and skylarking so characteristic of Baby Boomers and myself: Gap years, internships and working in China all tear holes in your Social Security, and if even Democratic Presidents attack it, you need to protect your Social Security. Of course, a blazing revolution may yet occur if these sorts of stratagems do not preserve SS.

But we need to start talking about electing Presidents based on a new criterion.

We need to elect Presidents with low or negative net worth. Just because Aristotle said that the ideal ruler would be a leading citizen, which implies high net worth, doesn’t make it true, and whether the virtuous man (fit to rule) is necessarily rich is an open question. On the one hand the elite of the ancient world felt that only rich people were interesting or willing to benefit from a liberal education. On the other hand Christ and Spartacus questioned the superior wisdom of the rich. The question is undecidable.

We can start with Happy Joe. The Vice President appears to have low or negative net worth. Then we need to investigate Warren and make sure she’s not rich. It’s encouraging that her brother is on Social Security.

Being rich gives you certain insights and takes away others. Ditto for being poor. For one thing, a woman who’s poor right now, or who grew up in poverty and isn’t filthy rich now, just comfortable, would be a better fiscal manager than a male Republican.

Mohammed Yunus, the founder of the Grameen bank in Bangladesh and the inventor of “micro lending”, lending poor women (not men) small amounts so they can start their own business, has found that in managing their own funds women manifest a great deal of discipline. This may translate to managing public funds.

Male Republicans have since Reagan talked a good game about being good at budgeting but this is belied by the monster deficits created by Reagan and then Dubya. If we gave Warren (or Hilary) a chance they might be able to balance the budget without Obama’s unprecedented, sinkhole-like cave-in on Social Security.

Change Record

9 May 2013 Added this Change Record
9 May 2013 Corrected spelling of “Demoratic”

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12 April 2013

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 12, 2013 by spinoza1111

Congee, completed King Lear and got started on Macbeth. I don’t like Macbeth, I must admit: it’s too high school-ey and the text is corrupt beyond the Hecate passages which we know are Middleton; modern scholars say that much of the original text is lost.

However, Middleton must have had, in Shakespeare’s opinion, “a good fist” for playwriting since he was a major co-author when Shakespeare in his later career was too lazy, perhaps too ill (some modern scholars say that Shakespeare may have had a rare cancer of the tear ducts; this would make sense for the guy must have cried many bitter tears over Hathaway and Hamnet).

I very much like the way, in the 1608 version, Albany, “the milk livered man” according to Goneril, takes charge at the end. Feminists think that the don’t need sub-“Alpha” males (who are “alpha” through their own proclamation) and share, in the case of feminists identified with the corporation, the alpha view of the other ranks: non-Alpha males are considered in our culture to be unworthy geeks.

But Albany, unlike Henry VI who merely tries, does a good job in Act V apart from failing to rescue Lear and Cordelia. S clearly felt that the ideal ruler would be humble and if possible non-violent.

Prospero in the Tempest is often cited as a tyrant; his critics refuse to credit him for preferring “closeness and study” to ruling but I find him close to an ideal model of kingship, even fatherhood, for stocking his boat, when fleeing his brother, with books.

Fathers who read make IMHO good fathers. Lincoln is photographed tenderly sharing books with his youngest son. Fathers who read often delight in buying and sharing books, especially their favorites from their own childhood.

In light of this it disturbs me that Prospero is dismissed so readily as less interesting than Miranda or Caliban by feminist-influenced critics. You have only to watch a gender-bender version of the play (such as Helen Mirren’s in which she plays “Prospera” which scans exactly the same as “Prospero”, thus does no violence to the text) to find Prospera an interesting character.

“It is indeed a fortunate man”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on June 27, 2012 by spinoza1111

Listen!

In a pool of light at the Apgar scoring table
He struggled to breathe and when he was able
He gave a God Almighty yell
Like a bat outa hell
For “we come crying hither”,
As the King admonished Gloucester
Who was such a loser
In Goneril’s eyes.
But lemme say this.
It is indeed a fortunate man
That’s got an attention span,
And it starts in pain
Which we darenot disdain.

Edward G. Nilges, 27 June 2012. Copyright 2012 by Edward G. Nilges. Moral rights asserted.

Genesis 9:18

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on September 3, 2010 by spinoza1111

Don’t you dare, oh don’t you DARE, call me a stalker
If once upon a time I was a walker
But am trying as your father
Merely to re-establish contact with you.

Don’t you dare, oh don’t you dare,
Relabel a Father’s love and despair
As something that amuses because you know that teases.

I will not say amen
To a world in which there are no men,
Returning at night like a broken king,
You in your room, hearing the car door slam.
And I say unto you: if you will be a man
You cannot be the image of one
A waxworks dummy: you must be Ham. [1]

In the Old Testament, unlike in Kant, intentions mean nothing, neither for Ham nor Onan, and “justice” is not “fair”. Ham saw his drunken fool of a father passed out butt naked and innocently, I say, went to get help. Noah, the patriarch who cannot show weakness, cursed Ham. This story was used in America as a justification for slavery and it stinks. It’s a fragmentary story, the meaning of which has been lost.

Christ made a radical break with Torah in saying “blessed are the pure in heart”.

We can’t go back to the Satanic Verses, whether of Torah or of Qu’ran. Even if these are “God’s word”, something I do not believe, God is evolving. Even if there is no G=d the persistence of time as human time requires that we love one another. There are landowners in Pakistan who deliberately flooded their neighbor’s smaller fields, and a lotta people thing they’re awfully cute these days when they act like swine.

But: end times prophecy and bullshit like that are an interesting way of avoiding the fact that Time itself may not have a stop until accounts are squared with Ham, and the pile of bodies mourned by the Angel of History. How convenient it would be if only behind the sun there is some bullshit planet Niguru ready to wipe us all out (there isn’t), because it would be easier to get wiped out and then use justification by faith to avoid trying every day to clean up the mess you made!

The evil things that the bad parent hisses in despair
Are in forgiveness transformed into air
Justice once was crude, Justice once was brutal
But do unto others. It’s the new deal and it’s fair.

A Dream

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on June 22, 2010 by spinoza1111

Edg.The waight of this sad time we must obey,
Speake what we feele, not what we ought to say:
The oldest hath borne most, we that are yong,
Shall neuer see so much, nor liue so long.

I had a dream
About the Queen.
Keeping in mind King Lear, I fear,
I talk’d the usual Tommy rot,
“Yes, mum, no mum, certainly not.”
But then she said to me
As the dream dissolved,
“Children are a blessing.”

Well well well how about that,
You old bat. Are they, indeed?
Was Goneril?

Or is there a language, perhaps more than one,
In which the word for a poison is a word for a cure,
In which the word for work is the same as fun,
In which there is the deepest love in the hatred that is pure?

Teenagers are hard on you, Prince Charles was a pain
But babies can be smelly and don’t enjoy cigars.
But all in all in the Fall Adam he loved his Cain
Tryin’ to make up for God’s mysterious ways that are hidden in the stars.

That’s what we do, oh imperfect you,
We find things that don’t bother us too much,
And we build a shelter from the rain
Oh yes, we do.

Starting from there, or anywhere,
With you.

Lear

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on June 15, 2010 by spinoza1111

Remove the master from the master ring
Remove the Mister from his place at home
What’s left is mysterious misery…a bone
For boys to gnaw upon, fierce, and circling.
Don’t throw the baby out with the water
Don’t purge history of the father’s rage
Lear, the guy with only one real daughter
Was the old storm on Saturn in his old age.
The great red spot, the angry dot,
That has not ceased for centuries,
Has oases of the greatest calm, blue and kind
The green flash, the eye of the storm’s furies.
Learn what I know, to expect no quarter
That way she you’ll be glad to know. Oh my daughter.