High life

Is it time to cancel Sophocles?

27 February 2021

9:00 AM

27 February 2021

9:00 AM

Gstaad

The sun has returned, the snow is so-so, and exercise has replaced everything, including romance. What a way to go. After a wasted year that has done wonders for my health, the diet is about to kill the patient.

That is the good-bad news; the really great news is that Shakespeare has been cancelled by some woke American teachers because they think his classic works promote ‘misogyny, racism, homophobia, classism, anti-Semitism, and misogynoir’. That is a direct quote. All I can say is that, although I am perhaps overly attached to the past, it’s no wonder that so many people love Shakespeare.

In old Europe people can be arrested for saying mean things. But America is in a league of its own. If you comment, for example, on the size of a woman’s breasts, you aren’t just arrested; you’re cancelled. I’m not sure if Shakespeare ever dealt with women’s bosoms at length, but he’s been cancelled for his portrayal of Shylock (a bit money-minded) and Othello (dark and a bit jealous). The bard’s critics — and there are many in America, especially among women — are particularly annoyed about Romeo being presented as some kind of hero; they reckon the poor sod is suffering from toxic masculinity.


Whose turn is it next? Shakespeare has been denounced as a louse, but what about those ghastly Greeks? Now that young Romeo has fallen foul of the girls, what about Orestes? He killed his own mother for what she did to his daddy, and if that’s not toxic masculinity, then I don’t know what is. And it gets worse. Those American academics who have banned Willie have not uttered a word against Sophocles and his creation Oedipus, not to mention Jocasta. Mother and son made whoopee, then the son blinded himself and she committed Greek seppuku. Yet one is free to read about them in a Bronx high-school textbook. (Although I don’t think Oedi and Jo are exactly conversation pieces in the Bronx.)

Mind you, these days an Oedipus–Jocasta scenario is far more likely than that of Romeo and Juliet. Call me cynical, but 13-year-olds are giving birth in the land of the cancelled every day, so it seems more probable that a modern Sophocles will emerge than a Shakespeare. Never mind. The American education system, which is already lousy, with overcrowded schools and high-school graduates who cannot read in some cases, have found a new villain in Shakespeare. It is not enough that poor young Americans are hardly literate at 18; they are now expected to uphold woke standards on their way to becoming total simpletons.

After a consultation with old Pythia at Delphi, I see an educational gulag in the making. The system used to this day by the Chinese is called re-educational, but I prefer brainwashing. Americans will, I predict, be mercilessly brainwashed until they forget every Greek, Roman, German and Brit — in fact, every white person who ever put words on stone, papyrus or paper. There will, to be sure, be certain pockets of resistance to this trend, but by and large woke brigades will do away with western culture, which has always been their goal.

Every day brings fresh news from anguished oldies who are crying out for help in warding off the still greater horrors they see in store for them. Hollywood movies are now dominated by those that show whiteness to be the real enemy of mankind. Mind you, I have always had a beef with Hollywood because it has never taken to the old Greeks. I remember, still in my teens, going to see a film about the Trojan War, with Helen of Troy played by the sexy bomba Rossana Podesta. Oh, how I suffered watching the sexy one flirt with that arch-villain Paris, but then Menelaus came on to the screen and I became Orlando Furioso. He was fat, bearded and ugly, as was his brother and leader of the Greeks, Agamemnon. If I’d been older, I would have gone to Hollywood and made mincemeat out of the bum who cast two slobs as our two great kings.

Of all the Hollywood films about that period, and I used to line up to see them all, only one, about the immortal 300 Spartans at Thermopylae, with Richard Egan playing Leonidas, did us justice. The latest atrocity about the 300 was the worst ever. I went to see it with two karatekas, Richard Amos and John Rigas, and I walked out. They laughed at me, but I was right. The flick showed some kind of freak monster leading the Persian hordes, and although the Spartans came out okay, sci-fi has no business intruding on historical fact.

If anything should be cancelled, it’s science fiction. Art and history must be defended, but if we allow the modern barbarians even to argue their case, we will find ourselves collaborating with our enemies on the destruction of the very things we have set out to defend and preserve.

Let the barbarians cancel whoever they like. We will cancel them, their movies, their newspapers and, most important of all, their social media.

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