2017-07-26 22:22:38 UTC
Instead of Dumbing Down Shakespeare, Smarten Up the Kids
My father loved to explain things. He was an academic, and in some ways
the lecture was his natural format. I’ve spent my life around academics,
and there are moments, especially around the dinner table, when you need to
try to nudge the format over closer to a seminar. But here’s the benefit:
When people teach you about the things they really care about, there is usually a lot to learn.
Explaining all the way, my father introduced his children to Shakespeare, play by play, as well as to classic Westerns. He explained each and every joke in each and every Gilbert and Sullivan operetta (“You shall sit, if he sees reason, through the grouse and salmon season!”). He read aloud an astonishing number of the works of P.G. Wodehouse, explaining the jokes, however inappropriate (in Wodehouse’s Mr. Mulliner stories, each character is described by what he is drinking; a Whiskey Sour said this, a Pint of Stout said that).