Hey Ruth, Shakespeare is pretty cool

by MW Cook

I’m devouring Othello for English class right now. You’d love it. It’s about an African Muslim guy who marries a Venetian Christian girl–pretty wild for the 1600s. It doesn’t end happy, but it’s a fun ride.

Near the opening there’s a few scenes of angry Europeans talking about how horrible it is that a decent white girl ended up with a dirty Moor. They say it’s immoral. Irrational. Disgusting. The girl’s father, Brabantio, says,

For if such actions may have passage free,
Bondslaves and pagans shall our statesmen be.

Funny thing is, he was right. As soon as we allow people to hook up with whoever they want–regardless of race, sexuality, religion, etc–homogeneity can’t exist anywhere. Diversity reaches all levels of society. Brabantio thought it was a horrible idea. But he never got a chance to see how fun diversity is. Look at this awesome family we are building! Our children have a rare chance of rising above the tangled chains that hold down the people in my culture and the people in yours. Freedom comes through diversity.

Brabantio and the others were concerned with vaporous things like honour and propriety. Those things are all well and good, until they start to ruin fun. I can’t imagine how boring life would be if I had married someone who was like me. I’m thankful that you are so amazingly different and strange. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I miss you and the fun we have together. Here’s a little ditty Othello used to seduce his wife (you know, before he was driven mad with jealousy by his adviser, Iago. Everything kinda turns yucky after that):

Come, my dear love,
The purchase made, the fruits are to ensue,
That profit’s yet to come ‘tween me and you.

I’ll let you decide what profit means. 

Have a diverse sixth day, Ruth. I’ll say Hey again tomorrow.

PS – Remember that awesome version of Hamlet we watched with Kenneth Branagh? He’s in a film version of Othello with Lawrence Fishburn. Looks fun. We’ll watch it when you get back.