Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Hope for humanities!

My colleague Zoot Horn sends me this optimistic cartoon about life as an English literature graduate.

I'll balance it with this quotation from Jeanette Winterson's abusive adoptive mother, justifying banning books from the house:
"The trouble with a book is that you never know what's in it until it's too late,"
I find it rather movingly profound. It's why I read for pleasure and profession. A book might make you cry, laugh, howl or groan. It might soften or stiffen your brain (or other organs). Most of the time, a book is a portal to a richer, more interesting world - sad, I know, but often true.

So hurrah for Mrs. Winterson, however evil she was towards little Jeanette.

Talking of high culture, I watched some of She's The Man last night, in which a teenage girl disguises herself as her brother to prove to the world that she's a top-class football player, moving into his boarding school, falling in love with her/his room-mate and having other girls fall in love with him/her.

There was rather too much prurient interest in teenage girls' bodies for comfort, but it did have the huge bonus of Vinnie Jones's presence as the soccer coach. His acting was so bad that this English footballer's English accent sounded like a bad American imitation - almost as bad as Daphne's brother in Frasier (who appears to be a fake Cockney worse than Dick van Dyke in Mary Poppins despite the family supposedly hailing from Manchester). The film was interesting because all the humour was based on the potentiality of gender disguise removing essentialist qualities, there was plenty of bawdy humour and yet the film was paranoid about closing down the possibility of viable same-sex relationships - having its very conservative cake and eating it too.

She's The Man is of course a retelling of Twelfth Night. Poor old Shakespeare.

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