My son came home from school and said they were going to study Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. I said what the hell do you want to study that crap for?
I told him it’s one of a string of plays that Shakespeare set in Italy, bits of them at least. Shakespeare probably never went there. Besides Romeo and Juliet, there’s The Merchant of Venice. Then there’s All’s Well that Ends Well, Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, Cymbeline, Julius Caesar, Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, The Taming of the Shrew, Titus Andronicus, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and The Winter’s Tale.
Shakespeare seemed to have a thing about Italy. And yet as far as I know there’s not a single mention of spaghetti bolognaise or for that matter any sort of pasta. Not even a tomato. Nor pizza. Romeo and Juliet are young and so are all their friends. You’d think they’d be eating pizza all over the place. But no! I mean, where’s the bloody piatto del brigante, or the rafanata, or ciaudedda, or the baccalà alla lucana? Minestrone? Did Gaius Cassius Longinus, Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus, and Marcus Junius Brutus tempt Julius Caesar with tiramisu or calzoncelli before stabbing him? Not on your nelly.
It shows you that Shakespeare knew sweet little about Italy and Italians. In fact, I find the lack of reference to Italian cuisine quite racist. That’s why I said they shouldn’t be teaching this crap in schools. It’s divorced from reality.
So I’ve taken my son out of school and he’s getting a decent home education without all this xenophobic brouhaha shoved down his throat. I said to him if he learns proper stuff he’ll get that job at Pizza Hut I told him to aim for.