Tag Archives: King Lear

1976. First class

It was the first class that Owen had ever taught as a qualified teacher. He had spent a few years getting a university degree and passing the required training at Teachers’ College. He had no trouble finding employment. He would teach English to High School students.

Discipline was the catch cry. Discipline! Let the students get away with murder and they’ll be murdering the teacher for the rest of the teacher’s career. Be stern – at least for the first week or two. Owen was well prepared. He was nervous, but having thoroughly prepared lessons lessens the unpredictability of the classroom. He would walk into the classroom and announce work! Work! Work! Work! Let the students know from the beginning that he meant business.

Owen strode into the room carry a class set of “King Lear”. After introducing himself, he would hand each student a copy of “King Lear” and say “Turn to page 24”.

The teacher’s desk was on a small rostrum. Owen tripped on the rostrum step, fell, and threw the pile of twenty-two books into the air. The students roared with laughter. Owen himself laughed! After all his preparation and that happened!

The students saw him laugh. Yes! He was a jolly good fellow. He enjoyed his first class. He never had any problem ever with class discipline. Teachers who can laugh rarely do.

1714. The incomprehensibility of tragedy

When Goldilocks broke into the Three Bears’ House she had to prise open a window. It came as no surprise to her that after all these years they had at last begun to lock their front door.

The first thing she did upon entering was to eat the porridge. As always one was too hot, one too cold, and one just right. Then there were the chairs to sit upon, and the beds to try. All this was done and she fell asleep in the third bed as was usually the case.

When the Three Bears came home they went through the customary rigmarole of who’s been this? and who’s been that? And there she was lying in Baby Bear’s bed!

She was dead.

“The poison in the porridge work!” cried Baby Bear, jumping up and down excitedly. “Hurrah! Hurrah!”

So enamoured were they with the success of their poisonous porridge that they let it loose on any character in any book they could lay their hands on. They became crazed with success. They became serial killers. First it was Humpty-Dumpty; then Little Red Riding Hood. Then it was Jack and Jill, followed by Snow White, and Mary Mary Quite Contrary. Before you knew it, it was Heathcliff and Cathy Earnshaw, then Lorna Doone, and Jane Eyre. Hamlet was on the list, as was King Lear. And finally came Winnie the Pooh.

Oh what a mistake that was!

What happened to Baby Bear? What happened to Baby Bear? They had murdered one of their own. It was an incomprehensible tragedy.

667. Three sons

© Bruce Goodman 8 August 2015


Jacqueline and Carlton had three sons; Darcy, Caxton, and Pedro. The three sons were all grown up and married. Jacqueline and Carlton didn’t have a great deal of money. They did have money in fact, but they’d lent it out to their three sons. With young families, the sons needed to have a house to live in. Lending them money to buy a house each was Jacqueline and Carlton’s way of giving them a head start in life. Jacqueline and Carlton lived off the minimal amount of interest that their sons paid.

Then Carlton upped and died. His will “forgave” the debts owed by the sons. Jacqueline could no longer live on interest paid because there were no longer loans.

“That’s fine,” thought Jacqueline, “my sons will help me out I’m sure.”

Clearly, she’d never read Shakespeare’s King Lear.

555. Three contemporary lectures


(I’ve always wanted to reach the mark of 555 stories, because that’s how many sonatas Domenico Scarlatti composed! I know it’s a bit of a meaningless point to reach, but why not? To celebrate, here are three short (fictional) contemporary lectures on music and literature).

1. Contemporary lecture on Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach was married twice and had twenty children. It can be surmised from this that he had heterosexual leanings. This however should not detract from the enjoyment we might get from his music today.

Given his proclivity for heterosexual behaviour, it is little wonder that his large body of surviving works reeks of complacency. If comfort could be expressed in sound, Bach achieved it.

He also cared little about global warming, unlike Handel (oh no! that was himself what wrote it), his contemporary, who wrote a green number called Where Sheep May Safely Graze.

Part of Bach’s music is ruined by overt religiosity. His Mass in B minor, for example, reeks of religion. It must surely be regarded, if not politically correct, at least as distasteful. In fact, most of Bach is unteachable these days; not only are we rightfully not permitted to teach religion, but most students don’t have a clue what the words of Bach’s chorales and cantatas mean.

Then, if you take his book of keyboard music, Anna Magdalena Notebook, we find there are a number of pieces borrowed (“stolen” would be a better word) from other composers. The true authors are not even given credit. Plagiarism. This must surely confirm his heterosexuality, as most thieves in the world today are dyed-in-the-wool heterosexuals.

So if you intend to listen to Bach, or even try to perform his music, be prepared to be open-minded about his personal life. It is best to ignore the subversive religious and anti-gay agenda hidden so shamelessly in the counterpoint.

2. Contemporary lecture on King Lear

Shakespeare’s theatre sketch, King Lear, deals with the timeless theme of ageism. The way his two older daughters ruthlessly treat their father would have been unnecessary if he could have been legally euthanized. But, oh no! they had to get rid of him in a painfully cruel way rather than put him down quickly with an injection.

Of course there are other more important themes that Shakespeare omitted to mention. The issue of climate change is one example. If King Lear had taken greater care of the environment then there might not have been the dramatic storm he was seen to be running about in half naked. He brought it on himself, and Shakespeare omitted, point-blank, to point out the connection.

Also, once they’d ripped out Gloucester’s eyes, they could have donated them for body parts. They seemed to be perfectly good eyes, and someone with a similar blood type was possibly desperate for a cornea transplant. But, oh no! Shakespeare had to ignore that and have him also wander around in the Lear-inflicted storm. What a waste!

Then there’s the question of Cordelia. Such chauvinism! She is treated as a sex object of iconic beauty. Who is the real Cordelia? Not to mention that her part would’ve originally been played by an underage boy who was possibly paid less than the minimum wage. And where is Lear’s wife? Is she mentioned? She was no doubt viewed as no more than a baby-making machine.

There’s so much in the play that Shakespeare ignored. Where are the endangered whales for example? What about the trading of elephant tusks? Back then women didn’t get the vote. Is that mentioned? Did Lear have a woman in his retinue?

Next week we’ll deal with the anti-environmental bastards who chopped down an entire forest of trees in Birnam Wood.

3. Contemporary lecture on Tchaikovsky

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky was one of those fucking faggots you find everywhere in the music scene. At least you find them in the classical music scene, not in the rock band scene where they have no trouble getting a woman for the night.

You seen what Tchaikovsky done? He got all those guys in tights cavorting round in front of him. He would’ve loved that. Nutcracker is right. And Swan Lake. Poof.

Then in the 1812 Overture he has cannons firing everywhere. The nancy-boy is trying to disguise his leanings by pretending to be macho and firing guns.

So if you want my advice, don’t listen to the fudge packer. Give me a real man. Like Justin Bieber.