Rest Day Read (SR-38)
“Friends, Romans and Countrymen…”
-Marc Antony’s speech fromJulius Caesar by Shakespeare
“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones; So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus Hath told you Caesar was ambitious: If it were so, it was a grievous fault, And grievously hath Caesar answer’d it. Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest– For Brutus is an honourable man; So are they all, all honourable men– Come I to speak in Caesar’s funeral. He was my friend, faithful and just to me: But Brutus says he was ambitious; And Brutus is an honourable man. He hath brought many captives home to Rome Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill: Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept: Ambition should be made of sterner stuff: Yet Brutus says he was ambitious; And Brutus is an honourable man. You all did see that on the Lupercal I thrice presented him a kingly crown, Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition? Yet Brutus says he was ambitious; And, sure, he is an honourable man. I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke, But here I am to speak what I do know. You all did love him once, not without cause: What cause withholds you then, to mourn for him? O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts, And men have lost their reason. Bear with me; My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar, And I must pause till it come back to me.”
A little high brow culture for the Rest Day Read? Well…not completely. I am of an age and place where (and I think many of you will relate) my exposure to culture and arts was mainly introduced through the magic of television. And no, I am not talking about PBS here, people. I am talking about UHF. You old folks remember the UHF, don’t you? The channels beyond the normal VHF world of channels 1-13. UHF, original cable TV before there was cable TV. Where the weird and risque’ would appear, where we would get our cartoons, the serials, monster and horror movies, Star Trek, Lost in Space, Ultra Man, Johnny Socko and His Flying Robot, Benny Hill, etc. In the KCK, our window to the world of UHF was Channel 41, possibly the greatest kid-centric station in the history of broadcasting.
I was introduced to classical music and even opera through Bugs Bunny, Road Runner, Yosemite Sam and the rest of the Looney Tunes gang. And how about the scores to Tom and Jerry? A virtual Music 101 course. And this video classic from the Little Rascals I posted today to go along with Marc Antony’s famous speech from Julius Caesar was my first introduction to Shakespeare. I honestly admit, if I would have seen Marlon Brando’s performance of the Marc Antony speech before the Spanky version, Brando might as well be speaking Portuguese. I just would not have cared.
But the Little Rascals version opened the door for me. I laughed till I cried when I first saw that. I still laugh my butt off whenever I watch it. It is a classic! It without a doubt made an impression upon my young, pliable mind. I remember years later in high school, reading Julius Caesar and watching the film version in either English or Humanities Class. Not the most interesting stuff for a high school lineman type of a guy, I must admit. But to this day I remember the light bulb of recognition flicker on as we came to the lines “Friends, Romans, and countrymen, lend me your ears…” I immediately had the visual of Spanky and the pea shooters! Finally, after reading line after line after line of Portuguese, William Shakespeare became a little clearer, a little brighter and made a little more sense. Give the “Hi Sign”!