Today, I had the most interesting conversation with my English professor. Of course, by interesting, I mean highly intellectual-y stuff that would most likely be construed as boring. Anyway, societal-rants aside, I am assigned research paper to write for my English Reading and Composition class. I have chosen to deal with the famous and greatest (IMHO) sonnet of Shakespeare, sonnet 55. “Not marble, nor the gilded monuments…” for those who may be familiar with it from the very superficial and, frankly speaking, appalling reading of it we had in 8th or 9th grade CBSE. Obviously, it is unfair to compare the scale of learning that occurs between a full-fledged university and a high school, let alone that which is from a different country and hence a different methodology of teaching, but I will say that whoever selected the texts for CBSE English clearly does not know what he/she was doing. Such a text for such a young class simply does not make sense. We only took into account the stuff that was said in the text. We never considered the form, the structure, the shape of the sonnet form itself… (DIVERTED->BACK TO THE TOPIC)
I am crazily in love with what some may call a “high brow” way of looking at quality TV shows and stuff. While my not-friends would say this is to accomplish some sort of twisted elitist desire within me, it is actually to satisfy my brain’s curiosity. Its just that whenever I watch something with, say a political statement, tons of things flow into my mind from different perspectives; The acting, the direction, the writing… blah blah. So we were talking about the AMC show “The Walking Dead”, and we spoke about the whole apocalyptic “thing” as a genre in itself. My instructor had said sometime before in a discussion on the same topic when we had reached the climax of the story of Samson, “If the whole world was suddenly destroyed, there would be justice”. While you might superficially discard such a standpoint, say, for your love of children and cute puppies, I found to be a very stimulating (mentally) statement. Its like resolving a fight the way my dad did between me and my brother, he would just pronounce both of us guilty and banned us from touching the computer/game console for a week. In that sense, I imagined scaling up that argument on a global scale, and the ramifications it would have on any piece of art that takes up such a subject. Such was the way we ended up discussing The Walking Dead, an apocalypse is a Judgement by itself (renaissance poetry is, surprise-surprise, very Christian-y. So I’ve been picking up some stuff about that religion along the way…), so any actions by any survivors beyond that is post-apocalyptic, or not judged, since Judgement Day has already occurred. So whatever characters do in a post-apocalyptic situation is judged by themselves, or by the people around them. That is why The Walking Dead is such a character-driven narrative. Superficially thinking about it as a zombie show is, well, superficial. There is transformation of characters, pride, male-led power structures and the struggle against them (sometimes..), and other extremely interesting things that are pursued in the conceits that take place in the show. There is a parallel in sonnet 55, in the way the poetic speaker promises to immortalise his subject in his poetry. There is a conflict between reading the sonnet as narcissistic and as generous to its subject, and a bunch of stuff that I’m working on for my paper that would be not too interesting for the casual blog reader.
That’s all I had to say on some, to me, interesting stuff. Art matters! Stop watching stupid action movies and gaping at explosions superfluously! Get out there and appreciate the artistic value in stuff!!!
See you tomorrow!