Thursday, May 06, 2004

It's easy to chide yourself for not knowing enough about y'know stuff from the past. Or rather that you know more about some science fiction shows or pop music than you do about Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Catharine Lumby, associate professor of media studies at the University of Sydney, writing for The Age, thinks that's perfectly normal and rather healthy, quoting commentators making a case for Shakespeare's theatre being the Elizabethan Big Brother:
"Indeed, Hawkes has argued that the true heir of the Elizabethan theatre isn't Tom Stoppard or even David Williamson, but television. It's a claim Australian media studies scholar John Hartley enthusiastically endorses, arguing that television is the modern vehicle for popular drama. Comparing the last Big Brother series with William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, he notes that the latter employed "various stock characters, as carefully chosen as the housemates on Big Brother, to portray familiar types in the target demographic of the popular audience" and was equally "full of stagy artifice disguises."
There isn't any doubt that Big Brother is drama of a sort, and that the programme makers are manipulating the situation and unconsciously drawing out some very human themes such as paranoia and servitude. But will it be studied in four hundred years? Possibly but only as a cultural artifact, as a way of coming to terms with were humanity was at the turn of the millenium. It lacks metatextual depth -- the actual thing itself lacks a substance which can be studied.


posted 11:55 PM | link |

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The William Shakespeare Weblog is looking for contributions. If you want to comment or follow-up on something which has been mentioned or you have something which you think might of interest to readers please get in touch. We would particularly like to hear from anyone connected with a production of one of Will's plays for a prospective diary feature. Above all else Shakespeare's words are as relevant now as then and its important for this weblog to reflect that.
posted 09/05/2004 | link | email

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