Romeo and Juliet: the basics-
Boy meets Woman
Woman doesnt fancy Boy cos he's about 13
Boy winges about it for a while
Boy gets over it when he meets another pretty 13 year old Girl at a party
Girl is seduced by the guy from Titanic's ruggedly coiffed hair-do
They chat a bit
They get wed the next day
Boy casually kills Girls cousin on the same day
Girl pretends she's dead
They all die
I was browsing through a copy of this timeless play (also the 16th Century's answer to Hollyoaks) a few days ago. Can we imagine what the reaction would be to such behaviour nowadays? Well, that depends how well advertised this dirtiest of dirty laundry was hung out on Facewipe.
The various old school friends who I haven't spoken to since...well...school, who choose to use FaceSpace as an outlet for their ever-changing relationship "statii", made me think about the nature of the love affair between these two eponymous idiots. If this was nowadays, couldn't we just imagine Juliet sitting around in her room all day waiting for Romeo whilst updating her status?: "Juliet Capulet is wondering what's in a name?"
Would their love be taken as seriously nowadays? Or would the underpant-changes to status ratio of 1:18 lead to some scepticism? Yes of course it would. But I think this is possibly affirming The Bard's whole point- R&J isn't only some great love story that ended in tragedy- its a clear look at a basic element of being a stupid teenager in love. Stupid stuff like this still happens the world over-except maybe lacking the suicide part most the time. Of course this is why people believe Shakespeare's psychologicaly thrilling plays lasted longer than "Jerry Springer: The Opera" ever will. Or maybe he just stated the obvious? Either way he gave the English something to use as a vito in any "who-has-the-best-culture" debate.
I suppose the modern way to deal with your average "star cross'd lovers" situation would involve a few status updates proceeded by various mindless clichéd commentaries from people who call themselves "Jenny 'jager-bomber' Smith". Hmmm, what was I saying about winning culture debates nowadays? Is this our new Shakespeare????? Is this how we rationalise ourselves as human beings and stake a claim to some kind of immortality? How are the people of 2010 to be remembered? "Joe 'banta' Bloggs is mingin from ring of fire". Eeeeshh.
My overall claim isn't as snobby as it may sound at this point. After looking at some of the language Ol' Shakey-P uses in his plays, perhaps they were just the equivalent of today's gospel according to Assbook. After all, he was writing to entertain the rabble, and wrote accordingly. Facebook allows us all to do the same thing. To make comments on life's little troubles, and show them off to the world (somewhat self-indulgently at times) and ultimately to share in common human experiences.
Could this explain why Shakespeare is ignored by all bar school teachers and the pretentious? Why watch a play when you can simply become a fan of "not being on fire" or "I hate it when you move out the way for someone and they move the same way" to express how you feel about the world??
Is this a dumbing down of our society? -(To quote the average Daily Mail reader), or just the same old thing in a new format? I think it's the latter. Of course you can disagree with me, and of course a silly statement about "what's on your mind right now" isn't even intended to have a long-lasting literary meaning in the same way that plays and books and films are. I just think it's an interesting thing to think about. When we write anything that expresses an opinion, taste, interest....whatever, we are communicating ideas to the world. Technology has just moved up a few stages making that a bit easier. It's a natural human thing to want to do. Just a simple change in status is a reflection of the same old problems that churned in the heads of the 16th Century working class. Shakespeare was just one of the only men educated enough to write anything down. I guess our English teacher's at school were all wrong- Willy was no genius, just a boring old muppet like the rest of us. Maybe I wouldn't go that far, the economy needs the tourism and school kids need something to deface.
Anyway, I need to go now. Im knackered from a long day and hate driving home in the traffic. I am also interested in goin up town with ma mates n like any music wat makes me wanna boogie lol.
I fare thee well.