Humor Magazine

Poor America! Poor Will!

By Davidduff

Perhaps a better title might have been 'Impoverished America' given that the vast majority of their 'serious' universities have cut Shakespeare from their curricula.  Of the top 25 national universities only two insist that students studying English must study Shakespeare.  They are Harvard and the University of California-Los Angeles.  (Rah-rah-rah, er, and all that sort of thing!)

Of the top 25 liberal-arts colleges (whatever they are!) only Wellesley College and - wait for it! - the United States Naval Academy(?) insist on Shakespeare studies.  I now look forward to my regular commenter, JK, a fine, upstanding "former naval person", to provide an analysis of this, er, salty piece of Shakespeare:

“That trunk of humours, that bolting-hutch of beastliness, that swollen parcel of dropsies, that huge bombard of sack, that stuffed cloak-bag of guts, that roasted Manningtree ox with pudding in his belly, that reverend vice, that gray Iniquity, that father ruffian, that vanity in years?”

I trust that sort of language is not permitted in the mess or encouraged below decks!

Anyway, as Ryan L. Cole reports in the National Review,  the pressure to drop 'our Will', by which I mean, of course, your Will, too, is inexorable: 

What today’s English departments do offer is the expected cocktail of popular culture and political correctness. Princeton’s “Literature, Food, and the American Racial Diet,” for example. Or “Punk Culture: The Aesthetics and Politics of Refusal” at Cornell, or “The Politics of Hip Hop” at Emory. Though this be madness, there is of course a method to it, to paraphrase Polonius. Part of the motivation is economic, as departments pander to their customers with courses on children’s literature, cinema, television, Harry Potter, and vampires. Another part is political, involving academia’s devaluing of Western classics and its hostility to anything white, male, or old, adjectives that supposedly mean irrelevant and ethnocentric.   Sometimes, just sometimes, I can't help feeling that mass murder is not all bad!  Perhaps, just perhaps, shooting one in three college presidents "pour encourager les autres" might prove to be exceedingly beneficial.  Then we could start on the parents . . .


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