Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Ban Shakespeare!!

Open Culture published a funny Infographic about the way people die in Shakespeare's plays.


I shared the image on my facebook page.  A soldier I know who is against any regulation of guns made the comment "Ban Shakespeare."  

When I read the comment, I knew he was trying to be funny, but he is also part of the culture that is slowly wringing the life out arguably the greatest author ever.

Part of his belief that everyone should have guns comes from his belief that he needs to defend his family and himself from invaders, thieves and dangers that lurk everywhere.  

The chart carefully tabulates the means of every death in Shakespeare, but does not measure the how close the dead person is to his or her murderer.  When you summarize Shakespeare that way, nearly al the deaths are by friends, neighbors, family or coworkers--if I can call members of the kings court coworkers.

And then you get to the terrible irony of many gun deaths in America.  The huge number of guns means that accidents will happen in proportion to the number of guns.

My Army friend conceded that neither he nor any member of his rural Pennsylvania family has ever been threatened with bodily harm by anyone.  So many of the gun owners I know who claim self defense is the reason they have guns cannot point to any incident of threat to themselves or their family.

Many, sadly, know of someone who was accidentally shot by their own gun or by a family member.

My Army friend is nearly my age so he has read Shakespeare.  It was in high school, but he could vaguely remember "Romeo and Juliet" and possibly "Julius Caesar."  His most recent contact with The Bard was watching "Hamlet" the movie starring Mel Gibson.  Don't sneer.  Hamlet is an alienated loner who sees things in the night and is crazy.  Gibson is perfect for the role.

But my Army friend has not read Shakespeare or any other creative fiction in 40 years.  His life is Guns and Prose.  He wants to restore the Constitution and roll back all kinds of rights that do not apply to white males.  And he is defending his family from a threat that has never happened.

He doesn't have to do anything to Ban Shakespeare.  His whole life has made the greatest writer in English, maybe the greatest in world, just a marginal thing for elitists.  

SPQR and America

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