February 09, 2010

A little more than kin, and less than kind

Russian actor Nikolai Massalitinov as Claudius with Olga Knipper as Gertrude in the Moscow Art Theatre's production of Hamlet (1911), by way of wikipedia.

For first time visitors, the theme lately is Hamlet, but you'll also find links and comments about current events. If you like this kind of thing, please click on earlier posts.

We first get to meet what's left of Hamlet's family in scene II of Act I, which opens with the usurper Claudius justifying the hasty marriage to Gertrude that followed Old Hamlet's mysterious death:

Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's death
The memory be green, and that it us befitted
To bear our hearts in grief and our whole kingdom
To be contracted in one brow of woe,
Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature
That we with wisest sorrow think on him,
Together with remembrance of ourselves.
Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen,
The imperial jointress to this warlike state,
Have we, as 'twere with a defeated joy,--
With an auspicious and a dropping eye,
With mirth in funeral and with dirge in marriage,
In equal scale weighing delight and dole,--
Taken to wife: nor have we herein barr'd
Your better wisdoms, which have freely gone
With this affair along.

Young Hamlet isn't exactly wearing a party hat and is chided for his excessive grief. In what would turn out to be a big mistake, he is asked by Claudius and Gertrude to stay in Elsinore rather than resume his studies in Wittenberg. Note to Claudius: dude, you screwed up there big time.

Along with family hassles and political intrigue, the scene also contains Hamlet's first soliloquy in favor of death. Here's a taste:

O, that this too too solid flesh would melt
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!
How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable,
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fie on't! ah fie! 'tis an unweeded garden,
That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature
Possess it merely...

I've had days like that...

FROM THERE TO HERE. Here's Jared Bernstein on how bad the Great Recession is (was?) and how far we've moved back from the brink.

FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH, over 60 percent of Americans opposed the US Supreme Court's Americans United ruling, which opens the floodgates for corporate contributions in political campaigns.

UNLIKELY ALLIES. For the last few years, some of the usual suspects have been trying to get a bill passed in the WV legislature that would set up voluntary employee retirement accounts for workers without pensions. It would be handled by the State Treasurer's office through payroll deductions and workers could continue to build savings as they moved from job to job. Recently, the WV Center on Budget and Policy teamed up with the Heritage Foundation to build support for this measure, something that doesn't happen every day.

NICE KITTY. Here's video of a wild Sumatran tiger and her cubs.