Thursday, March 15, 2012

Much Ado about Tumblr

One of the reasons I love teaching high school is that I get to do Shakespeare. I'm not at all a Shakespeare expert, but few authors set my imagination on fire the way Shakespeare does, or make me marvel at how little human nature changes over hundreds and hundreds of years. I'm only on my second go-'round with teaching Shakespeare, but I love it and am consistently delighted by how much even some of my most challenged students get out of it.

Of course, another great gift of teaching is when students are inspired to learn more about whatever you're teaching on their own. One of my students was, it seems, inspired to learn more about Shakespeare.

"Miss!" he exclaimed today. "You know the Shakespeare play Much Ado about Nothing?"

"I do!" I said delightedly. "It's my favorite of his comedies."

"Did you know that 'Nothing' was Elizabethan slang for 'vagina'?" he asked brightly.


"Ah," I said, "no, I did not." I paused. "Hon, are you sure? Where did you read that?"

"Tumblr!" he said.

I let it go, but was determined to find out of this was the case or if I was being baited, having done no scholarly study of Much Ado beyond repeated obsessive viewings of the Branagh/Thompson film version. (Those are some thick eyebrows on a young Kate Beckinsale, by the way, as Hero.) I did some very cursory research, and, lo and behold, this is apparently true. It makes sense, fond as Shakespeare was of dirty double entendres.

I will say that this is not necessarily what I had in mind when I encouraged my students to learn more on their own, but, on the other hand, he was clearly interested enough in Shakespeare to do some Googling or Tumblring on the topic. So, you know, it's March, I'll take that as a win.
blog comments powered by Disqus