commented on Ira Glass Tweets: "I Think I'm Realizing: Shakespeare Sucks"
@16 A minor correction: Edmund, not Edgar, is the character who rails against the unfairness of his position, giving the "Why bastard? Wherefore base?" speech. He's clearly a villain, but one of Shakespeare's most seductive ones, which has the effect drawing the audience into complicity.
Edgar is the "good" (and legitimate) son who spends most of the play in disguise, working behind the scenes.
Since the similarity of the names makes them easily confused, I tell my students that Edgar is Ed Good, and Edmund is Ed Mean.
As for the "relatability" of Lear, I think there are two aspects of the play that almost anyone should be able to relate to.
One is the issue of jealousy, rivalry, and competition within families. Nearly everyone has experienced some degree of family dysfunction, and families don't come much more dysfunctional than the Lears and the Gloucesters. I'd much rather watch a good production of "Lear" than sit through the two hours of pissing and moaning that is "August in Osage County."
The other is is the randomness of justice. Call it Fortuna or Fate or Cosmic Irony, but "Lear" truly does depict a world in which the gods "kill us for their sport," and at the end of the play, neither good nor evil seems to have triumphed. Instead, you have a world in which nearly everyone has died, and the few survivors are left basically saying "WTF?" If you've ever looked to the heavens and thought "Why me?" or "What's the point?" (and who among us hasn't), then you've got at least one point of access into Lear.
commented on NYPD Allegedly Continues to Use Chokeholds in Wildly Inappropriate Situations
I can actually see why it would be illegal to grill on a public sidewalk: the heat and flames could be dangerous to passers-by.
That said, I can't begin to imagine why police couldn't simply have said, "I'm sorry, but this is a public safety hazard. I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to extinguish the fire and finish cooking your meal inside."
Chokeholds seem to be a disproportionate response, to say the least.
commented on What Do You Think of the 50 Shades of Grey Trailer?
So, judging by self-deprecating, frumpy presentation of the woman, and the handsome, tailored, too-rich-to-be-real presentation of the guy, I'm guessing this is basically an updated Cinderella story in which Prince Charming comes equipped with handcuffs.
commented on SL Letter of the Day: License to Dump
A person who abandons you during pregnancy and then shows up after the baby is born to borrow money and get sex is not a man. He's a manipulative, selfish, self-centered creep. DTMFA
commented on Paul Ryan Has a New Plan to Fine Poor People for Being Poor
I, too, see Paul Ryan's name floated as a 2016 presidential contender, and I, too, think he's a ridiculous longshot.
But--realistically--who else have they got?
Which of them has a snowball's chance in Hell?
commented on On the Future of Work
@20 There are plenty of benefits that a person can get from an employer that he/she cannot get individually.
I have a defined-benefits pension as a result of having worked for the same (state) employer for 25+ years. I'll retire at an amount that is predictable year after year for the rest of my life, including occasional cost-of-living adjustments. The state will also pay half of my health care costs every year between my retirement age and 65, when my Medicare kicks in.
People in the private sector who have 401 k plans very often get an employer match, effectively doubling the amount saved: if the employee puts in 5%, the employer puts in another 5% (for example) resulting in a 10% contribution. Hard to get that if you're self-employed. Sure, you can put in 10%, but it's you and yourself, not you and your employer.
Some companies pay full health care, or at least they pay half. Some offer dental and eye care. Some offer tuition assistance with college students. Some will match contributions to favored charities. Many offer paid vacation and sick days (again--hard to do if you're self-employed).
A lot of people dream of being self employed or entrepreneurs. Me--I've always liked the security that comes from being part of a larger entity.