November 23, 2004

The Crack Young Staff Steps

The Crack Young Staff Steps Up to the Microphone

In a recent post, dear reader, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” discussed an insipid graduate student conference entitled “Transformations and Mutations.” One of the senior editors here at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly”—let’s just call him “Chip”—decided to submit a paper to this conference. Below is a transcript of the speech, which we hope will be delivered at the conference.

Before I begin my talk, I want to thank the Department of Romance Studies here at august Duke University, for accepting this paper—especially since I do not hale from the University of Richmond, Salem State University, or any of the other prestigious institutions of higher learning whose graduate students, like a plague, have descended upon this campus.

I would also like to thank the previous speaker, Mary Adkins, for offering such an illuminating look into the culture of hermaphroditism and otherness. It is this kind of work that is compelling political figures worldwide to stop and take notice of the important contributions to human learning that the academy is making.

My paper ostensibly answers a question that the conference organizers, in all their wisdom, have proffered in their advertising for this event: Why is a Royal Shakespeare Company production of Titus Andronicus different from one put on by prisoners at the Luther Luckett Correctional Complex in LaGrange, Kentucky?

I believe that I can present a few reasonable answers to this deeply serious—nay, crucial—query.

First, though, a little postmodern theoretical throat clearing, as it is my understanding that such papers are always replete with this kind of palaver. As Baudrillard once wrote: “In the Euclidean space of history, the shortest path between two points is the straight line, the line of Progress and Democracy. But this is only true of the linear space of the Enlightenment.”

Frankly, this statement appears to have no relevance to my topic today, and does not even appear to make much in the way of sense. (I always thought that Euclid wrote before the Enlightenment, but that may simply be the result of my white-male narrative of history.)

Without further ado, then, I humbly submit some potential differences between an RSC and an LLCC production of William Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus. May I simply say, however, that the Department of Romance Studies’ decision to foist this text into its advertisement seems elitist? Why not highlight a less Eurocentric play—a play less linked to the traditions of the classical canon? How about Cloud 9? It’s like this department has never heard of women before.

Anyway, on to my list of potential differences:

1. The Royal Shakespeare Company’s performance is less likely to feature performances by men named Bubba or given the sobriquet “Fingers.”

2. The Luther Luckett Correctional Complex is infamous for having one of the worst black-box theaters in the history of American correctional facilities. As such, its performance is more likely to be vexed by bad acoustics.

3. Idiotic graduate students such as those represented in today’s audience are far more likely to attend a performance of Shakespeare offered by the RSC, despite their misguided championing of the thespianic art of the LLCC.

4. Ticket prices.

5. Although an equal number of RSC and LLCC actors are likely to have been brought up on sodomy charges, the LLCC will pretty much have a lock on arrests for other crimes.

6. The LLCC actors, being American, will have better dental work.

7. The prison uniforms of LLCC actors in the play will not amount to a dramatic political statement regarding the injustices of contemporary life in the West. Rather, they will be prison uniforms.

8. The RSC actors will have better headshots.

Posted at November 23, 2004 12:01 AM | TrackBack