It’s time to end this marriage equality nonsense in America. How about that Declaration of Independence, US? “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal and that they are endowed by their creator with certain, unalienable rights, and that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” That pretty much says it all for me. Whether you personally/religiously/morally agree with it or not, it’s time to recognize that a person’s right to marry another person is not something that can or should be legislated. Looking back, do we think it was just or right to prevent slaves from marrying? Or to outlaw interracial marriages? I guarantee you that in a hundred years, the world will look back at these debates and think, “What?! Our ancestors were barbarians!”

This post was inspired by the following two links, one disturbing, one awesome (See if you can guess which is which!) :

Starbucks’s official statement can be viewed here:


PhD Proposal Process: The Little Proposal That Could

Two unrelated posts in the past 24 hours? I must be procrastinating…

Looking back through my posts, I realized that I abruptly stopped updating on my PhD proposal process. This was probably because things started changing and growing quite quickly after January 1, and after I submitted something for real I was way too nervous to show it to the world, lest the world harshly condemn it and my hopes of funding be dashed. But now! the hopes are as high as they have every been! Pending the results of my MA, I’ve been offered an International Studentship with the College of Humanities here in Exeter! Yay!

And so, now that the dust has settled a little bit, I am pleased to present to you a segment of my Little Proposal That Could:

‘lines of which Shakespeare or Sophocles might have been proud’: an analytical performance history of Middleton and Rowley’s The Changeling

I propose to undertake an analytical performance history of The Changeling, beginning with its original performance circumstances and running through to the present day. My analysis will include all accessible productions, whether for stage or screen, amateur or professional companies. Additionally, I will carry out close readings of critical writings on The Changeling, such as T.S. Eliot’s essay ‘Thomas Middleton’ (which lent a quotation to my title), in order to properly contextualize the productions in question. The focus of my analysis will be on the ways in which various productions of The Changeling reflect and respond to the circumstances within which they were created and the ways in which the same productions fit into the larger theoretical arc of The Changeling in performance. I am also interested in how The Changeling responds to Shakespeare’s plays in production and how it functions as independent of Shakespeare.

This project will be a valuable contribution to the study of early modern drama, as it will allow the opportunity to examine both specific circumstances and long-term trends across the history of one of the most important tragedies from that period.  The performance history of The Changeling has the potential to reveal the moral, political, and social circumstances of the times and conditions within which each particular production came to life while simultaneously tracking larger trends in these areas across the play’s history. Within the framework of performance history, I hope to explore both reasons why the play continues to be performed and the ways in which various productions inevitably reflect the circumstances under which they were produced. This sort of study has frequently been conducted with regard to Shakespeare’s plays but has never been done on The Changeling. Given the play’s continued popularity, I feel that the study I propose is both timely and important. Here follow roughly 2000 words about the play and its performance history as well as a lengthy list of sources and known productions. I’ve since learned that “reflect” is a dangerous word to use when discussing art and society because, in reality, art shapes society as much as society shapes art. Various other glaring errors include misspelling Joe Hill-Gibbins’s name as Joe Jill-Gibbins and leaving a couple of significant film adaptations off of the bibliography. But I feel solid about the core ideas, and I can’t wait to start the real work of actually doing all the stuff the proposal says I’ll do!

Despite my hopefully evident excitement and glee, the proposal for this beast was the most difficult thing I’ve done in academia to date, so I can only imagine that the road ahead is paved–at least partially– with stumbling blocks and prickly bushes. Therefore, any words of wisdom will be greatly appreciated!


Hypocrisy? Hypocrisy!

Somebody explain this conundrum to me, please: 

One of the basic tenets of conservatively-minded Americans is that there should be less government involvement in the daily lives of the public. Lowered taxes, relaxed regulations, privatization, and so on. 

How, then, can a Conservative support any of the recently proposed or passed legislation surrounding marriage equality and reproductive health? How does legislating who I can marry or how I choose to reproduce (or not reproduce) serve the goal of limiting governmental involvement in my day-to-day life? 

Just curious. 

Ars artis gratia?

Here’s a daydream I’ve been developing for some time: every artist in the world takes a month off.

Imagine: if everyone who is either self-defined or societally defined as an “artist” stopped working for 30 days–and also pulled the usage rights to any of their previously existing work for the same amount of time. This would include people who have ‘day jobs’ and are artists on their own time. This would include actors, dancers, musicians, photographers, painters, graphic designers, poets, novelists…the list goes on endlessly. Anyone who considers himself an artist or is considered by her peers to be an artist would be included in the global strike. If that happened, I don’t think anyone would ever again argue that art is not important ever again.

There are several reasons why this would never actually work (and why I don’t support actually doing it!!). Chiefest in my mind is the fact that we’d have an awful lot of insane or suicidal artists at the end of the 30 days in which they vowed to make no art and to allow no consumption of art. I know I’d be ready to jump off of something by the end of the first week!

But what would be great about it (besides a temporary lack of terrible pop music…) would be the awareness it would bring of just how much art and artists permeate our day-to-day lives.

It’s just a fantasy…but gosh darn, wouldn’t it be nice?

“I am not a slut…

…though I thank the god(des)s I am foul.” ~As You Like It

I’m not a hardcore feminist by any means, but I still don’t think it’s okay to call someone a slut, especially when you don’t know her personally and especially when you’re being broadcast for an awful lot of people to hear. I would apply this stance to other derogatory terms (for both sexes). I would further apply this stance to anyone, anywhere, no matter what his or her politics. That’s a long way of saying that there was certainly a better way for Mr. Limbaugh to voice his objections–but he is by no means the only one who uses this kind of language.

Just to dispel a few myths I’ve seen floating around FB:

*The Pill is NOT available over the counter (at least not in the US, Canada, or the UK!). The Plan B or ‘morning after’ pill IS, but this is explicitly not meant to be used on a regular basis.

*There are lots and lots of reasons that women take the Pill. Most of these have nothing to do with sexual activity.

*A Catholic doctor / hospital / institution can prescribe birth control in good moral conscience if it is being prescribed to treat a medical condition (ie, debilitating cramps) rather than for contraceptive purposes. I do not know if this applies equally to other sects of Christianity or other religions that oppose the use of birth control.

Let’s all think before we speak.