Friday, 11 February 2011

7 Quick Takes (74)

1. I spent a good portion of the first week of February preparing for a seminar presentation on Henry IV 1 & 2, in case you couldn't pick that up from the rant about "gentlemen of the shade" last week. Those are some plays, folks. If you don't believe that a scene can at the same time be hilarious and horribly sad, you might want to look at Part 2 (after reading Part 1 of course). I suppose the knowledge of how it ends makes it sadder than you might get on a fresh reading, but I still find the tavern scenes pathetic, in the full sense of that word.

In case you are somehow entirely unaware of these plays (which I realize is possible and not condemnable), you must be introduced to Falstaff. This video is an excellent way to begin, though I take issue with Welles' description of the reverend vice. It's a great piece of stagecraft nonetheless.

2. Last Sunday after church I attended the Lunar New Year Parade. It was held on Pender Street in the rain. This is, after all, Vancouver. After some (im)patience, I finally managed to get close to the front, at which point my photography improved.
I am a Rabbit, so it seemed important that I attend this parade. I had been planning on going with friends, but I did not get the text that everyone bailed until I was already on the #10, bound for Pender St. So I was there "alone," or as alone as one can be in a crowd. I overheard numerous homeless people griping about the sudden influx of people, though some of them were friendly. I had an interesting conversation with a down-and-out-looking fellow on the bus, who descibed to me in great detail how he manages to avoid fights with drunks through trickery.
The rest of this post will have photographs of said event along the side.

3. There is a used bookstore down the street from me, and they have been stealing my money ruthlessly. Fortunately, this yeilds books: a collection of Donne's poetry (Cait, the one I gave you), One Thousand Years of Solitude, and Fables of Identity. This last is a collection of Frye's essays. Frye is a Canadian and once-influential literary critic who enjoyed significant popularity and is now considered obsolete and/or unreadable by most literary scholars. I know this, and I know why. I cannot take his work 100% seriously (it's too universalizing, for starters), but I must admit that I'm enchanted by Anatomy of Criticism. I might not ever work Frye into my own scholarly work, but they can't stop me from holding a torch.
At any rate, I can't afford to frequent this bookstore too often, but it's not a bad place. And I have a coupon!

4. On the recommendation of a friend, I borrowed the film Long Life, Happiness and Prosperity (2002). It stars Sandra Oh (Grey's Anatomy) and Valeria Tian (Juno) and takes place in the Chinese Canadian community of Vancouver. It's funny, poignant, gripping, etc. and so forth. Mindy is a twelve-year old only child to her workaholic, money-harried mother. She is an eccentric little girl who tries desperately to improve her mother's financial and romantic prospects... by means of Taoist charms. Her inexpert attempts at these charms backfire, appearing to cause ripples in the local community. I suppose you might not like it if you are opposed to movies in which Taoist magic works. But it is a good movie. Watch it!
[American readers: I am not sure if this is available in outside of Canada. I am wholly ignorant of such things. I couldn't get it at the Roger's Video here, not even before it closed down. I had to get it from the library.]

5. Weather-related take: Last Friday I was tempted to write a post raving about the beautiful weather. I finished reading one of the Henry's in the Rose Garden, no sweater, no shoes, no socks. It was gorgeous. Yesterday was nice, too, but otherwise it's generally been rainy. No surprises.

6. This up-coming week is Reading Week. Today, then, was the last day before break. This afternoon I went to a lovely prof talk by one Prof. Patsy Badir on shame and failure in Shakespeare's Love's Labours Lost and Twelfth Night. If I do post at all this week, it will either be a continuation of one of the unofficial series (The Fantasy Genre, for instance) or some more explicit form of literary geekiness. However, I have grading, reading, and writing to do for Monday and Tuesday after Reading Week, so I may be too busy for blogging fun.

7. If you aren't already, I suggest you go take a look at the debate at Leah's Unequally Yoked. The argument surrounds whether it is at all acceptable, from any point of view, for someone to steal a host from a Catholic church, desecrate it, and post a video of said desecration on-line. What fascinates me is that there should be no debate at all. It's an obviously reprehensible act. I don't, for instance, think that a Zoroastrian fire is actually sacred, but I would react in horror if someone put it out; I don't, for instance, think that the Qu'ran is the revealed word of God, but burning one in public is a gross insult. I don't see how anyone could fail to make this connection, though it's also clear that many do. Anyway. Go take a look. I've linked to the most recent post on the issue, but from there you should be able to navigate to the older ones. [Edit 12 Feb: I should clarify that Leah is not the one advocating desecration. Not at all. I commend her for what she's said so far.] [Edit 14 Feb: I have now linked to her index of the posts. Thank-you, Leah, for your lovely indexes.]

And that's it for me. Please visit Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary for more.


Calah said...

Oh Henry IV! Love. So much more than I love Henry V, although it was the latter that started the argument that ended in my (now) husband proposing to me. This argument was the means by which we met and still goes on in our house. If you read that one, let me know. I'd love to hear what you think of Hal the King.

Regarding #7: I agree wholeheartedly and am disgusted by people who take these things so lightly. It would break my heart if someone desecrated a Host, and I am sure burning a Qu'ran would have the same effect on many Muslims. It's absolutely wrong to insult someone's beliefs in that way. I'll look at the debate.

Christian H said...

What can I tell you about Hal the King, as I see/read him?

I prefer Alessandro Juliani (better known as Gaeta to Battlestar Galactica aficionados) as Harry than Kenneth Brannagh as Harry, though I must begrudgingly admit that the latter actor has popularized Shakespeare more than almost anyone else in recent memory. I want to be enchanted by him (Henry V) but can't be. His courtship of Catherine is not a real courtship; she had no choice. And he is a strict, demanding king, whose actions lead to bloodshed whether he wants to accept responsibility or not. Depending on how its acted, this play could have Henry V as a monster or as a man deeply, negatively affected by being king. If it isn't latter, it must be the

(And I can't rule out the possibility of it being both. Much of what he does is perhaps necessary, or at least I could understand that he thought it was necessary. So if he is horrified by sentencing Bardolf to execution, he is the latter. If he isn't, he is the former. I still can't see any way to call his 'seduction' of Catherine as anything other than dominating her through language.)

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