Alright, I give up.

Saturday, 30 January, Year 8 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

So it all started (like all other good things always start) with a conversation in #b-a.

copypaste Also, mircea_popescu, if I may ask you what you think of the end of the Merchant of Venice, in this article you quote a good portion of it, but skip the end of the proceedings where the out of town lawyer is invited in and (nonsensically, in a deus ex machina way, in my opinion) determines that blood is not part of one's flesh and therefore the contract is unenforceable and goes on to seize all of the merchant's money or however it goes. i just found it odd how you skipped the end is all
mircea_popescu I think it's nonsensical pandering and not really worth the mention. Guy had to do a travesti because that's what a comedy was at the time. The situation of True Romance is very similar : compare Tarantino's own cut with the bullshit the studio released.

copypaste So we're in agreement then, even Shakespeare, one of the so called greats, pandered often in his plays for "widespread appeal". Good to know, thank you.
mircea_popescu Shakespeare is difficult to match in many ways, chief among which his inclination to pander.

copypaste Hehehe.
mircea_popescu He's an utter slut. I don't believe this detracts.

copypaste Oh no, up until that point it was an excellent metaphor, I understand why you left it where you did.
mircea_popescu No I mean, I don't believe Shakespeare's loose mores detract from his literary value.

* mircea_popescu realises with unmitigated horror that now he's going to have to rewrite the fucking merchant of venice
mircea_popescu Curse you copypaste.

copypaste D
copypaste mircea_popescu no one ever said that rewriting history would be easy, mind.i
mircea_popescu Motherfucker.

copypaste And further - I've read your essays about dead books, you can simply put the merchant onto the trash heap. Although I'd rather it not be placed there.
mircea_popescu At any rate, history dun even enter into it. The thing's broken for no good reason.

copypaste Indeed it is, but if anyone is capable of fixing it it's you.

A lot has happened hence, of all sorts. What hasn't happened is me succeeding in this attempt, in spite of spending a decent chunk of time on it. Looking through the detritus output so far, a single short fragment is actually worth the mention. I'll reproduce it below, with the original :

SHYLOCK: When Jacob grazed his uncle Laban's sheep -- this Jacob from our holy Abram was, as his wise mother wrought in his behalf, the third possessor; ay, he was the third...

ANTONIO: And what of him? Did he take interest?
SHYLOCK: No, not take interest, not, as you would say, directly interest: mark what Jacob did. When Laban and himself were compromised that all the eanlings which were streak'd and pied should fall as Jacob's hire, the ewes, being rank, in the end of autumn turned to the rams, and, when the work of generation was between these woolly breeders in the act, the skilful shepherd peel'd me certain wands, and, in the doing of the deed of kind, he stuck them up before the fulsome ewes, who then conceiving did in eaning time fall parti-colour'd lambs, and those were Jacob's. This was a way to thrive, and he was blest: and thrift is blessing, if men steal it not.

ANTONIO : This was a venture, sir, that Jacob served for; a thing not in his power to bring to pass, but sway'd and fashion'd by the hand of heaven. Was this inserted to make interest good? Or is your gold and silver ewes and rams?
SHYLOCK: I cannot tell; I make it breed as fast: But note me, signior.

ANTONIO: Mark you this, Bassanio, the devil can cite Scripture for his purpose. An evil soul producing holy witness is like a villain with a smiling cheek, a goodly apple rotten at the heart: o, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!
SHYLOCK: Three thousand ducats; 'tis a good round sum. Three months from twelve; then, let me see; the rate...

ANTONIO: Well, Shylock, shall we be beholding to you?

apud Shakespeare

SHYLOCK
When Jacob grazed his uncle Laban's sheep -- this Jacob from our holy Abram was, as his wise mother wrought in his behalf, the third possessor; ay, he was the third --

ANTONIO
And what of him? Did he take interest?

SHYLOCK
No, not take interest, not, as you would say, directly interest. Mark what Jacob did. Laban and himself were compromised that all the eanlings which were streak'd and pied should fall as Jacob's hire. The ewes, being rank, in the end of autumn turned to the rams, and, when the work of generation was between these woolly breeders in the act, the skilful shepherd peel'd me certain wands, and, in the doing of the deed of kind, he stuck them up before the fulsome ewes, who then conceiving did in eaning time fall parti-colour'd lambs, and those were Jacob's. This was a way to thrive, and he was blest. For thrift is blessing, if men steal it not.

ANTONIO
This was a venture, sir, that Jacob served for; a thing not in his power to bring to pass, but sway'd and fashion'd by the hand of heaven.

SHYLOCK
Tis true that the thing itself were not in Jacob's power to bring to pass, for ewe in the autumn ram will seek, and one or another it will find, and fall with lamb. But lo! the rate of streaked eanlings to the herd is known to men, for it doth not change from one year to the next, but stays the same. This is why Laban so agreed to give Jacob the streak'd ones, for he knew that in twenty ewes there's one, and if not one then in forty ewes two, and if be more or less then in a hundred will be five nevertheless and so following. But Jacob, by his craft, did make nothing come to pass that weren't going to, yet altered how it passed and so what was to come to pass did come to pass -- but to his blessing and to Laban's loss.

ANTONIO Was this inserted to make interest good? Or is your gold and silver ewes and rams?

SHYLOCK
I cannot tell ; I make it breed as fast. But note me, signior, that what will come to pass will come to pass, yet man can alter such passage by his deeds, and that's a profit or a cost. What if Sodoma had one worthy man within its walls ? What then, pray ? What his reward ?

ANTONIO
Mark you this, Bassanio, the devil can cite Scripture for his purpose. An evil soul producing holy witness is like a villain with a smiling cheek, a goodly apple rotten at the heart. O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!

SHYLOCK
Three thousand ducats 'tis a good round sum. Three months from twelve; then, let me see; the rate -- Tell me, what does thy Scripture say of man that lay with man ?

ANTONIO
I'll tell you, Jew --

SHYLOCK
You'll tell me naught. I know. You think the Christians wiser in this town, but we have known the law longer than all of you. Like a child that broke his mother's pot doth set the pieces back again together as they were, to pass for whole, you have a boy you wish to turn a man. A fool you are, Antonio, but crafty, and so suppose that for my hate of you, which you suppose from your hate of me, I will supply your want.

ANTONIO
Well, Shylock, shall we be beholding to you?

apud MP

The idea was to reconstruct the symmetry of the piece over layers : between the high strung principles of the Christians, splendiferous rulers of Venice, who pretend homosexuality to be evil even while they pretend interest to be also evilii and the tolerant outlook of the Jews, actual substance of the power of Venice ; between Antonio's own punk, who aspires to attain humanity through a process not unlike that of obtaining a souliii and Shylock's own daughter, who is a woman and as such betraysiv. The crises this arrangement provide for everyone should be ample material for one great play.

In this model Antonio is for instance very reasonably welcoming the Jew's knife - he wants to give life the only way he knows how, through the model his faith endows him with, through Christic sacrifice to cleanse his own sin (of having fucked the Bassanio boy) and also give him what he's lacking, ie, grace. The Jew has every reason in the world to act the part of executioner, even while he knows that's what he's doing - chiefly because knowledge is in fact orthogonal to deed, and of very little help in that field. He was betrayed by Jessica and has literally nothing left in the world, so he can proceed to kill. I've not decided if Bassanio is to succeed or fail in his quest to manhood, nor if Jessica should dissolve in the procreative matrix marrying a shepherd somewhere in Thracia or else to mate with the young Venetian or what. You really can play it either way, there's no obvious solution - we could say with subtle irony that I've made the play into a tree.

At any rate - I've not the patience. Maybe a better man, sometime, or maybe me when older, or whatever.

PS. Aww, did I accidentally your hopes & ambitions ?

———
  1. I was convinced at a time this is a direct quote from yours truly, but I can't seem to find the source now. []
  2. Think about it, if they can derive joy without the possibility of procreation, why shouldn't they derive value without physical multiplication ? []
  3. Lengthy theme this, go, read. []
  4. This isn't an indictment, she has to, procreation and identity are obviously contradictory goals. []
Category: Cuvinte Sfiinte
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  1. [...] found this truth on my own skin, not that I complain. The man, literally 20 years old at the time, is exactly correct : the area he [...]

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