March 11th, 2004

The Sopranos

I watched a whole show of "The Sopranos" for the first time. It was the season opener for this year. I watched with dread fascination.

It was a bit hard coming in in the middle, I'm sure a lot went over my head. The acting seemed exquisite.

I didn't feel very good when I was done watching it. Maybe I wasn't supposed to. It's kind of like watching Jerry Springer, except it felt more real than Jerry.

Play It Again Sam

Is the famous phrase that Humphrey Bogart didn't say in Casablanca that people imitate. It's also a play (and a movie) by Woody Allen. The movie starred Woody Allen and Diane Keaton. I'm reading the play right now, and the lead male part is perfectly designed for Allen.

In the play, Allen's character carries on imaginary conversations with Humphrey Bogart. Bogart give advice Allen finds helpful, although some of it is startling to read today: "There's no secret, kid. Dames are simple. I never met one who didn't understand a slap in the mouth or a slug from a forty-five."

Nowadays, here in Chicago, that line would be likely to draw some hisses from concerned audience members.

I'm not sure when this women-hissing thing started. I only hear it when on the North Side of Chicago, where more liberals and leftists live. Usually it sounds like just one or two people.

But I hear it done during Shakespeare!

Well, Shakespeare has always been controversial. He is a master of giving offense, but holding the audience spellbound nonetheless... if they can just figure out what the actors are talking about.

Somehow, many feminists still like The Taming Of The Shrew, even though Kate SAYS things like:

I am ashamed that women are so simple
to offer war where they should kneel for peace,
or seek for rule, supremacy, and sway
when they are bound to serve, love, and obey.

Of course, she says this only after establishing herself as a very strong character, leading many to the conclusion that she is merely saying this, merely acting the obedient wife, manipulating social conditions to her own ends. Given her character, it is hard to believe Kate really means this.

The little speech quoted is set to music in Kiss Me Kate, the Cole Porter musical which is half-based on The Taming. I must say that this song did not get hissed when I saw a big production of it recently downtown. But it was downtown, not the North Side.

Rhyme of the day:

Angry misses
Hurling hisses
This boy.

I suppose it should be Ms.'s, but then it wouldn't rhyme.