Today’s Sign Of The Apocalypse: OMG Shakespeare Series

Above: Emoji-speak versions of Shakespeare have been published
Above: Emoji-speak versions of Shakespeare have been published

The feature image for this post found its way into my Facebook feed on Monday morning, just as I was sipping my first cup of coffee and contemplating the various assignments I needed to complete in the day. After seeing it, I opted to go back to bed, pull the covers over my head and take an extra 30 minutes before facing the world because are you @$#%’ing kidding me?

Once I finally resigned myself to the fact that our world is going to hell in a hand-basket as we continue to dumb down life in every way humanly possible, I rolled the dice and looked up YOLO Juliet to find out a little more about it and the series, which is called OMG Shakespeare because of course it is. Here’s the description of the series from Amazon:

A Shakespeare play told through its characters texting with emojis, checking in at certain locations, and updating their relationship statuses. The perfect gift for hip theater lovers and teens.

Add this series to the list of reasons society is in decline, along with the celebrity status and fascination people have with the Kardashians and others of their ilk, how becoming famous (or infamous) has become more important than actually being a contributing member of society and the overall sense of entitlement that has replaced working for and earning the things you want.

Listen – I like emjois as much as the next person and send them to my friends all the time; my personal favourites are the thumbs up and the winky face – but I also love Shakespeare and appreciate the amount of work it took for me to figure out King Lear and Othello and MacBeth. Doing so made me a better, more well-rounded person and gave me a greater appreciation of the written word, not to mention teaching me some critical thinking.

This feels like another shift away from education and intelligence. I know there are going to be people that want to make the “Whatever gets the kids engaged” argument, but that’s a stupid argument. Sorry – it is. We shouldn’t dumb-down the world because kids don’t want to pay attention or find reading Shakespeare in its original form too hard.

Life is hard. You have to work at it. Learn. Grow. Educate yourself. Srsly Hamlet.

Head-shaking ridiculousness aside, here is why this stuff legitimately frightens me. This is a comment from a Guardian article about the series; you can read the individual’s full review here:

“I read Romeo and Juliet when I was a freshman in high school about 5 years ago. Being that young it was kind of hard trying to read through and understand everything because it was in old english, but now I’m pretty clear on what the story is all about. Its a tragic love story and I loved it even though the ending was sad.”

Shakespeare is supposed to be challenging for high school freshman, but is it really so hard to know what is going on? Even the Baz Luhrmann movie adaptation stuck to the original prose – it brought it into 1996 Verona Beach, but Leo and Claire Danes were still reciting the classic lines. Now that isn’t even enough. Now it has to be text-speak and emojis because why make kids learn anything useful and have to try hard, right?

SMH.

E. Spencer Kyte

E. Spencer Kyte

E. Spencer Kyte is a freelance journalist based in Abbotsford, British Columbia, where he lives with his wife and dog. In addition to his work here, he writes about sports for Complex Canada and covers the UFC for various outlets. His mom also still tells him what to do on a regular basis, even though he’s nearly 40. He tweets from @spencerkyte.

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