Monday, July 29, 2013

Everything You Know is Wrong: Romeo and Juliet Edition

Not that Anne Hathaway, idiot.
Let me explain to you a thing about "Romeo and Juliet" (affectionately referred to as RomJule throughout this post), the one play that is universally known as being a Shakespeare creation. Kind of. First off, Romeo and Juliet is indeed a tragedy. That is how Shakespeare classified the work. Shakespeare also wrote it for the Duchess of Cambridge "his true love" because he wasn't able to divorce his wife, Anne Hathaway, to get with her. So, just as a side note to my friends who have read Romeo and Juliet, imagine Shakespeare as Romeo. Blech. Shakespeare's answer to his love for the Duchess was a play in which a 13 year old and a 15 year old fall in love, cause general mayhem, and then, because Romeo is too stupid to check for a damn pulse, die.

Now even though the concept of everyone important ending up dead is a pretty easy one to grasp, people still seem to mess up when referencing the play in accordance to well - everything. But mostly their love life. What I really hate is when girls claim they are "looking for my Romeo" or say "he's the Romeo to my Juliet". Really? Really. Would you get married behind your parents back to a boy you have only known for 24 hours? Let's not forget the whole "let's profess our undying love for each other" scene happened the same night that they met at a party Romeo got ejected from, because like the little ass that he was, he showed up at a Capulet party with all of his Montague buddies. Anyways, after marrying this random guy off the street, would you participate in a fake suicide plan to be with him but then later commit suicide because of his idiocy? Would you kill yourself after three days because you love him so much? If not, you two are DEFINITELY not comparable to RomJule.

And since we're on the topic of the professing love scene - also known as the famous "balcony scene" let's talk about the fact that a disturbingly large amount of people think that the phrase "wherefore art thou
Hello, my name is Zac E-I mean Romeo and I'm your stalker.
Romeo" means "where are you, Romeo". First of all, no. It does not. Juliet is actually asking why he has to be named Romeo, and furthermore, why he has to be a Montague, which makes sense because their families are feuding, and "where are you" doesn't fit in the context of the rest of the line, or the scene. Juliet, not knowing that Romeo is sitting in her garden like the little creeper he is, is lamenting over his last name being Montague, and how many problems that could cause, because as seen in the beginning of the play, these two families hate each other so much that they basically riot against each other and almost get banished from Verona. And why would Juliet be seeking Romeo out? I mean honestly? I sit on my balcony and muse about hot guys all the time, but I don't expect them to magically show up, because that would be weird. Asking where Romeo is would imply that Juliet expected him to show up, and she did not. Romeo is just a creeper, and also not who everyone thinks he is.

WHAT?!? Did I just rock your world a little? Well hold on to your pants, kids, because I'm about to rock it some more. The majority of people like to think that Romeo is a hopeless romantic and harbors this unquenchable thirst for Juliet's love. To that I say no. Also, I say, read a book. In the beginning of the show Romeo is moping around because another Capulet, by the name of Rosaline, won't give him the time of day because hello, he's a Montague and also, she probably doesn't know he exists, considering Romeo has never actually seen Rosaline. In fact, he crashes the Capulet party to see Rosaline, but gets distracted by Juliet. Everyone wants a Romeo because they think he's this wonderfully romantic guy who will do anything for love, when in reality, he's incredibly needy, petulant, and not to mention an asshole.

But will anyone ever remember the asshole part? No. Why? Because of a.) ignorance and the lack of thorough examination when taught and b.) pop culture, such as TSwifty's song "Love Story" which has Romeo not only approaching Sir Capulet but asking for his daughter's hand in marriage (pretty ballsy for a 15 year old) and then asking Juliet to go pick out a white dress. Although, technically they have sex before they are married so maybe an off-white dress instead? Or she could wear a red one that they dye with the blood of the her cousin who Romeo killed in a pointless dispute. And then of course there is DiCaprio's portrayal of Romeo, which, while amazing, does very little justice to the original work and perpetuates the idea that Romeo is a hopeless romantic who loves Juliet and only Juliet when in reality he probably would have gotten over her in a few weeks once being with her proved too difficult, or someone prettier came along.

But of course that couldn't happen in Shakespeare's RomJule because RomJule is super cliche and the cliche doesn't take that direction, now does it? Now if you're shaking your head because you disagree with the fact that RomJule is cliche, then kudos. You're right. However, once upon a time in my AP English class, there was a boy who thought that not only was Shakespeare a piss poor writer, but also that RomJule was too cliche for his taste. Yes. An 18 year old high school senior criticized William Shakespeare. First of all child, Shakespeare was a fabulous writer whose work will live on for many more years to come. He had to have been a great writer because the staging of his shows were actually quite low in quality. Also, RomJule is not cliche, because RomJule basically created the whole "star-crossed lovers" trope. In fact the term "star-crossed lovers" comes from "Romeo and Juliet"!

And that theme of forbidden love is the reason that "Romeo and Juliet" continues to live on in ninth grade classrooms everywhere. Because ninth graders feel they can relate to that, and also, they are so used to it now, from reading series like Twilight that its good to know how that whole theme really got popular. If you've read Romeo and Juliet, kudos! If you understood it, have a gold freaking star and a license to quote it at will. But for the rest of you, for the love of all that is good and holy, please read "Romeo and Juliet" before you run around carelessly quoting it, because if I get another text message that asks "wherefore art thou?" I'm going to have an existential crisis.

Alexis Olmstead is an English Major and self proclaimed literature snob. For some reason unbeknownst to God or man her mother let her read RomJule in the third grade. She has read it six times since then, just to make sure she still understands it. Alexis lives with two cats, both of them hate listening to her ramble. That is why Alexis blogs. Everything You Know is Wrong is going to become a regular occurrence on "Alexis, Unwritten" so for more useless knowledge check back often. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013


I am 19 years old and have never experienced the death of a celebrity before. That is, until tonight. Tonight I learned that Cory Monteith, best known for his role as Finn on Glee was found dead in his hotel room from an apparent drug overdose, and honestly, I'm a little less than emotionally stable.

I'm not going to sit here and tell you all that he saved my life somehow or even made it better or any other stuff, because I would be lying and that's not fair. But I will tell you that Cory Monteith was only 31 years old and was a joy to see on screen, and apparently a joy to be with off screen as well. I have watched him grow as an actor and singer on Glee since season one, I have followed him on Twitter, and when he went into rehab, rejoiced with his co-stars about his brave decision.

I mean, its just really - surreal because as fans of television shows we immortalize these people, we don't imagine our shows without them and then suddenly bam. Something like this comes along and you realize that yes, death is a real thing and it touches even those we thought untouchable.

And what about his family and friends? I mean, someone just lost a child. I cannot even begin to fathom what the Monteith family must be going through right now, they only heard the news an hour before the Vancouver Police Department announced his death on the air. Someone just lost a best friend, a brother, a beloved coworker, the night sky just lost a star.

Going on the internet doesn't make it better, either. A place where you can normally escape from sadness is now full of it. My Twitter feed is full of his co-stars heartbroken tweets, Mark Salling's being the worst of all, with just the word "no", and other celebrities sending their condolences. Tumblr is full of my fellow Gleeks posting their heartbroken notes about how cruel the world is, and begging others not to tweet or message anyone linked to Cory because they deserve to just be left alone.

This man was so young. Thirty one is so young. His last tweet was literally about Sharknado. He was about to go back to work on Glee next week. He didn't even look thirty one, which is how he managed to hold on to his role as a recent high school graduate. He was going back to college in the show, he had  a while left on Glee, he had so much longer left to live.

Cory Monteith didn't change my life. Cory Monteith didn't save me from anything, he didn't teach me anything, but as Finn on Glee, he made my life better. He was talented, he was hard working, he was hilarious, but he had demons, and unfortunately, not everyone comes out on top every time.

I am sad. I am so very, very sad.

Rest in peace, Cory Monteith.