Today I bring you a different kind of grumpy intolerance, and also some poetry. I’ll probably be a prosaic hippy again later.
So Twitter is this place where people like being funny and making self-referential jokes about stuff. Other shit goes on too, but it’s the bit with all the parodies and creatively amusing pop culture references I’m interested in now.
In particular, there have been any number of accounts created in the name of fictional or historical characters, which emulate their style of speaking and writing. One of my favourite examples from days of English yore is Dr Samuel Johnson, and there are plenty more of that ilk.
And while much of this is great fun to follow and join in with, you can probably guess (even if you aren’t familiar with Sturgeon’s Law that predicts it) that a lot of these accounts are crap.
I don’t want to pick on Shakespeare Lyrics in particular – there are surely numerous worse offenders out there, and there’s nothing that offensive about some dismal “songs in archaic language” – but it’s had the ill fortune of irritating me with its unimaginativeness a couple of times now. Also, it has over 30,000 follows, and got over a thousand retweets for this:
We art never, ever, ever, becoming reunited
Seriously? That’s a sufficiently authentic Shakespearean adaptation of a Taylor Swift lyric to impress over a thousand of you?
I can’t find the tweet now that first bugged me a couple of months ago (I’m not entirely certain it was the same account), but it was a fairly similar cut-and-paste job of some olde worlde vocab into a couple of lines of Sir Mixalot. More or less off the top of my head, I tweeted an example of how it’s meant to be done:
“Rebecca, such a strumpet do I spy! / A hip-hop minstrel’s wench she doth resemble!”
“A curvèd rear’s most pleasing to mine eye / On this point, ’tis beyond me to dissemble.”
Now, I’m not going crazy, that’s pretty good, right? Assuming you know the song, that’s a recognisable paraphrasing of “I like big butts and I cannot lie”, and it’s in actual iambic pentameter, right? It’s not just me?
Anyway nobody noticed because I’m not a Twitter megastar and life moved on.
Today Kirsty goaded me by retweeting another effort from the same account:
Oh Mickey thou art indeterminately divine, thou art indeterminately divine thee explode my cerebellum, greetings Mickey, greetings Mickey.
Okay, first: scientists didn’t even begin to understand the cerebellum’s function until the 1800’s, so it’s unlikely Shakespeare would have mentioned it at all, let alone used it as a casual synonym for “mind”.
Secondly, there’s still nothing that scans. You’re just swapping in some high-falutin’ words with no context and expecting us to be impressed. And thousands of people are, depressingly. Currently 8,129 retweets on that one. Fucking hell. I should start myself one of these accounts.
But mostly, this kind of thing is exactly what would run through any mentally functional person’s mind within seconds of considering how to cross the memes of “contemporary songs people like quoting” and “Shakespeare talk”. “We art never, ever, ever becoming reunited” is what you do to make an anachronism of We Are Never Getting Back Together without even trying. Anyone could do it to that level.
So I had a proper go at turning some modern pop lyrics into very loosely Shakespearean-style poetry, in a way that not just anyone could do without applying some effort, not that they’d necessarily want to. If I truly cared about my art, I’d have stretched it out into a proper sonnet, but life is short.
Dear ladies unrestrained by marriage yet:
If romance be your driving aspiration,
And someday true love falls into your net
And makes you raise your arms in celebration,
Do not risk losing what you sought so long,
And ever tighter to it you must cling.
Draw inspiration from that old love song:
Thou shouldst ensnare their digit with a ring.
That’s how we play in MY house, bitches.