Things I’m Going to Hell For: Not Celebrating Shakespeare’s Birthday


Okay, look Bill, I completely know what you’re thinking, and you’re right. I’ve been neglecting you these days. I’ve had my own work and life and neuroses on my mind, and I’ve been ignoring you and disrespecting your role as the original inspiration for this blog.


But in all fairness to me, I think I deserve a little self-focus from time to time. I mean, how many hundreds of blogs, scholarly studies, movies, TV shows, theater productions, spinoff comics, Sparknotes pages, plagiarized student essays, and ads are out there devoted to you? Not to mention the entire Western canon that’s built on your work and your legend. I only have this weensy little space on the Internet to promote myself. You get what I’m saying?


Okay, I know you personally are stuck on my shelf in your Original Packaging, and I’m out here living my life. But lives are more important than plastic. Seriously. Plus, you really shouldn’t be giving the Icy Stare of Doom to someone who can turn you around and make you face her Complete Prisoner DVD set for the next fifteen years.


This year’s an off-year anyway, right? We’re sandwiched in between the 450th year of your birth and the 400th year of your death. This year’s April 23rd was a day of rest and reflection, a time to meditate wordlessly on your greatness before we gear up for the next big cultural shebang. Plus, did you see that awesome comic that Mya Gosling posted on Good Tickle Brain? The one where she compares “Game of Thrones” to your history plays? That was SO funny and spot-on, wasn’t it? And I totally retweeted that! So in a way, I DID lift a finger to celebrate your birthday, didn’t I? My mousepad went click, and everyone who looks at my Twitter feed if they happen across my blog would see in that instant that I heart Shakespeare!!!




Fine. You’re right. I suck. I totally knew it was your birthday and I let it slip my mind. You can call me all the names you like. Here, I’ll get you started. I’ll consult the Shakespeare Insult Generator I got for Christmas: I’m an artless, beslubbering, greasy, barren-spirited, eye-offending, lisping, lumpish, sodden-witted, wanton, witless measle. Feel better now?


Sorry, Fickle Readers. This might take a while…




Shakespeare Is Everywhere: Burmese Edition

Time for a much-needed laugh from the annals of Good Tickle Brain!

For more on the story of the Burmese lesson, the full blog post is here.

This is one of the most bizarre random stumblings onto Shakespeare I’ve encountered in a while.  I tell ya, I don’t think anyone in the world–certainly not anyone in an English-speaking country–can go a day without bumping into a reference to Shakespeare.  Try it sometime.  You’ll be amazed.  And possibly a little creeped out.

Also: thanks and bravo (brava?) to you, Mya!  Mighty Tiny Bill is doing a tightly confined jig in his Original Packaging on my bookshelf.  I think you made his day!

Fun with Shakespeare and the World Cup!

Mya Gosling, creator of, has come up with yet another ingenious way to squeeze Shakespeare into pop culture: match teams in the World Cup to Shakespeare’s plays!  I have no knowledge of the World Cup, but I still say it’s brilliant.  Study the handy Shakespeare-team key here, and then move on to her further analysis in the group posts.  I’m rooting for Bosnia and Herzegovina, because the Windsor Falstaff always gets shit for not being quite as dignified (!) as the Lancastrian Falstaff.  Plus The Merry Wives of Windsor features smart, kick-ass, plot-hatching matrons.  Go, middle aged women of Windsor!

Mighty Tiny Bill would be proud of you, Mya!  Except that he’s still languishing away in his Original Packaging.  And he’s not coming out until he stops calling me a stinking stewed prune.  (Really, he’s just mad that it’s hotter than his buck-basket in here today.  But a girl has to defend herself against accusations of prunehood…)

An update and a brief digression

Just wanted to add on a note to yesterday’s post and a few new discoveries:

The epigram from the post came from Joyce Chng’s blog A Wolf’s Tale.  She adds some excellent commentary about the problem of dialects in Asian countries, particularly her home country of Singapore.  I have to admit, I had no idea this issue even existed.  (Indeed, I’m humbled at how much I don’t know about the world, even at my ripe old age.)  Please take the time to check out her blog, too–she contributes an important perspective to the discussion.


Have I ever told you how great Brevity is? This journal, the brainchild of Dinty Moore, is a pioneer in the genre of flash nonfiction.  Not only do they have a great blog that discusses all things nonfiction, they publish some true gems.  Three of my favorites from the most recent issue are Tim Hillegonds’s “A Story Like This,” about a father’s final meal with his daughter before he goes home; Sandra Gail Lambert’s “Poster Children,” which looks at the lives of disability activists; and Sonja Livingston’s “A Thousand Mary Doyles,” which encapsulates the experience of all the Mary Doyles who immigrated to the U.S. in the nineteenth century.  Go read these and discover others.  I can’t do justice to all of them here.

And finally:

Coriolanus, Act 1 Scene 2

Shakespeare in stick figure form!  Talking about fickleness!  Huzzah!

This comes from Mya Gosling’s blog, and it is truly hysterical.  Lots of Shakespeare comics, Shakespeare riffs, Shakespeare commentary, and even whole plays summarized in comic form.  Such a breath of fresh air in a world that takes Shakespeare waaaaaaaay too seriously.

Anyway, I’m off to procrastinate and read the comic version of King Lear.  More serious topics coming soon!