Our learned professor was trying to hold forth about
1.) Parody of novelistic conventions
2.) Demonstration on the limits of language and
3.) The medieval tradition of ‘learned wit’
The two girls beside me were discussing
1.) some fellow
2.) one of their friends
3.) some cherry flavored vodka and…do you really want me to retell it all? Because I can… I heard all three hours of the story.
My three-hour night class went like this:
Prof: Alright then, let’s just look at some of good ol’ Rabelais, that’s right, the best of 1653, How there was a Great Strife and Debate Raised Betwixt the Cake-Bakers of Lerne and those of Gargantua’s Country, Whereupon Were Waged Great Wars
Girl: Heh heh heh, omg, that was just too too funny, I, like, seriously see what you mean though about…
Prof: The great thing about this is just the pure violence in it!
Girls: That stuff just tastes like S— though. I mean, eww, I can’t believe that…
Prof: I mean, there really is a great amount of sheer dirt and filth and blood in comedy from back then, and I mean, bone breaking back then was no fun time! Your odds of death were huge! You might get it set right, but if you didn’t let me tell you, the odds of gangrene were phenomenal! But they just really don’t care in plays and stories like these! Haha, he broke his arm, he’ll probably die in 6 months…oh well! There’s a real blood thirst and bawdiness in these comedies…I think we’ve lost that…
Girls: So then we needed to find someone who could drive a car and we were all like, crap, who didn’t drink? Wow…it was so funny.
Prof: So…here’s a bit about a bunch of cake bakers. These shepherds would like some cakes to go with their grapes, but these high and mighty cake-bakers! They just insult them! And look at this long passage of insults…really good stuff…and then everything just breaks loose! The cake-baker throws a rock at this poor fellow, and then all the shepherds and shepherdesses just go at the cake bakers!
Girls: The thing is, I just have these moments when, I don’t know…I think I really like him…but do I like the attention I get from him? Or him? It’s really difficult to tell…so, where was I?
Prof: So they kill the cake bakers…*slaps thigh and laughs* and just make off with the cakes! And then the tone just sort of bizarrely shifts…it’s almost pastoral here…these shepherds all now just sitting in a field, eating cake, singing and laughing…it’s really just a bit crazy!
Girls: I think it’s totally ok to feel that way, you know…
Now, don’t get me wrong, if you want to talk about how you nearly got arrested for streaking or the time you locked a squirl in the bathroom, be my guest, however….they weren’t even talking about anything interesting!When the Prof. is more amusing than you are, that should be a sign to either step it up or shut up.
This class cost me some $800.00. There are 7 full months of class, one class a week. Let’s assume that each month has exactly 4 days of class in itdays in it, a total of about 26 days of class. With this reasoning, these two girls were cheating me out of $30.00. This might not sound like much, but if someone came up and outright grabbed $30.00 from your pocket, I bet you’d beat them down.
My friend and I looked at each other, and remembered the wisdom of Rabelais’ shepherds.
We didn’t act on our urges though.
The Prof. was right. We have lost a lot since the comedies of the 17th century.