I would request that someone write a piece examining the literary line that directly connects Charles Dickens and Terry Pratchett. Oh, wait. Terry Pratchett laid it all out in Dodger. Well, there’s at least a couple of papers in that.
Screw you, Smash. Slings and Arrows did it first (and better).
All 3 seasons are on Netflix, and if you’ve never watched it, HURRY. Each season revolved around the same Shakespeare repertory company putting up a show (S1: Hamlet, S2: Macbeth, S3: King Lear). It’s funny even if you aren’t a theater person, but it’s doubly funny if you are. And triply funny if you’re just starting out as a lowly PA for a summer Shakespeare company when you discover it, like I was.
Thanks to Chris Hayes for bringing Wallace Shawn on Up With Chris this weekend. Shawn is a much better communicator in script form than in person. He is the archetypal shy actor. Reading his words, or better, acting his words is a source of joy and insight.
I enjoy watching Up With Chris Hayes on MSNBC early on Saturday and Sunday mornings. It’s important enough to me that I’ve set a DVR timer so that I won’t miss the show in the unlikely event that I can sleep in. I like the show because it feels much more like a graduate policy or journalism seminar rather than a news chat show. Hayes’ guests are intellectual policy wonks from the fields of policy, journalism, advocacy, academics, and politics. He always has a strong smarty-pants representing the conservative point of view, someone with a history of intellectual engagement. There are very few ideologues. Each week he brings in artists to discuss their work and its relation to policy.
The conversation jumps right into “the weeds” with only a shorthand of background information because the audience is highly-informed and generally younger. As an audience, we have already read multiple sources on the topics in order to understand the depth and complexity of the issues discussed. We want to listen to people smarter than we are, for a change. We meet together weekly via Twitter to discuss the show’s content using the hashtag #uppers.
Last week, Hayes and the panel discussed the so-called culture war that reared its head over the Obama administration mandate that all women have access to birth control without having a co-pay. A whole bunch of culture war issues popped up at once with this debate. Well, first of all, there really isn’t a debate, except among 20% of the population. Birth control as an issue has been done. There’s no going back. Our culture writ large accepted birth control more than 30 years ago. Nobody talks about it unless you try and take it away.
At the same time the society made its decision about birth control, as evidenced by its mention in the popular culture, the culture made a bunch of other decisions, which are in varying stages of manifestation now. Each shift started with an expansion of our collective legal and cultural sense of citizenship. Each expansion created a different “slippery slope” of rights that is feared by political/social conservatives.
1. We decided that women are citizens, with all rights pursuant therein, including the right to property, self-determination and corporeal control.
2. We decided non-white people are citizens, with all rights pursuant therein, including marriage and property rights, self-determination and access to benefits of citizenship such as public education.
3. We decided that homosexuals are citizens, with all rights pursuant therein, including marriage and property rights, self-determination and access to benefits of citizens, including the rights of family in life decisions.
All of our newer citizens have to make more progress before their citizenship is as “equal” as white Christian men, but the basic premise is now sacrosanct. There’s no going back. The goal is to get universal agreement about it.
The remaining non-citizens in our country are those who choose to believe there are other spiritual paths equal to Christianity. The culture does not yet currently believe that non-Christians are full citizens. But clearly non-Christians are gaining status because conservatives are screaming about a war on Christianity. Conservatives scream when their status quo is being threatened.