Mass, I cannot tell.

I think there was a Freakonomics episode about how important it was to say you don’t know when you don’t know – how we are shamed for not saying it or admitting it. So while the First Clown is about to shame the Second for not knowing the answer to his riddle, it is, in fact, the Second Clown who has been more intelligent in acknowledging what he does not know.

We see this in play in the current political moment wherein the Dumpster in Chief is constantly proclaiming how much he knows when it is stunningly obvious that he is making stuff up.

He’ll say sometimes “A lot of people don’t know X but I know X” and Seth Meyers has pointed out that this usually suggests that X is a thing that the Dumpster only just found out himself moments ago. He would never admit he did not know something – for him, if he doesn’t know it, it doesn’t exist.

Whereas the most intelligent people I know will readily admit when they don’t know something and will also actively search for an answer when they need one.

Marry, now I can tell.

My boyfriend is deeply disturbed by the story about George HW Bush groping young women – but especially coupled with his “joke” – which is, apparently – “Guess who’s my favorite magician? “
“David Cop-a-feel.” – which is coupled with an ass squeeze. It’s a physical joke as well as a pun, I guess.

I don’t know why I do not find this particularly disturbing. Maybe because I’ve been groped by too many old men and been told too many stupid jokes?

Anyway – this line is like someone has already came up with the best joke answer they can and then expected to keep generating material – and for a moment, they can feel the new idea coalescing in their mind.

“Who builds stronger than a mason, a shipwright, or a carpenter?”

The second clown is very often portrayed as the stupid one, largely because of moments like this. His repeating of the question is treated like a dummy trying to answer such an easy question.
But the thing is, it is a riddle. It is NOT an easy question and in fact, he HAD an answer, immediately. A good one. He’s quicker than most people I know when answering a riddle.
And isn’t the joy of a riddle getting to tell your surprise answer when the person you’re asking doesn’t get it?
Also – this is a classic repetition.
Everyone who ever tried to answer a riddle in earnest repeats it.

For that frame outlives a thousand tenants.

The real estate market is so crazy in New York City that I could actually imagine some real estate agent renting out a gallows to someone to live in.

“These are handcrafted hardwood floors and you’ll notice here at the center, a convenient trap door. This comes in very handy for garbage scraps or pesky visitors. This tall frame here provides a strong architectural element that will be eye-catching to any visitors you may have. An artisanal wooden staircase leads you into the space and out, if you prefer not to use the trap.”

The gallows-maker;

The thing is – isn’t a gallows maker really a carpenter? I mean – most gallows are constructed from wood. And I have to hope that there wasn’t so much call for gallows that there weren’t gallows specialists – ones who ONLY built gallows. You’d have to be a traveling gallows maker if you wanted to make a living like that.

I mean – it would be wild if that was why hanging people became a trend. Some gallows maker comes to town and is such a good salesman that the town decides they need to hire him to build a gallows and once they have a gallows they have to USE it, they can’t have given all that money to the gallows-maker and not USE what he made for them. And so groups of people became murderers, just because one charming sociopath sold them a gallows.

Go to.

Despite my facility and long term familiarity with Shakespeare’s language, I almost never drop it into my daily speech. I know people who do but it’s, for me, almost like a faucet and when it’s off, it’s off and when it’s on, it’s on.
Go to is one of those phrases that I’d enjoy having access to in my daily use. I never think of it – because the faucet is off – but whenever I’ve had occasion to say it in scenes, I have enjoyed it and its effect immensely, especially in repetition. As in, “Go to. Go to.”
It is somehow so much better than “Go on.” It has a flavor of “Get out of here.”

Why, he had none.

No coat of arms, sure, that’s one way to look at it – though it doesn’t seem the most obvious. The most obvious to me at least, would be his weapons. Adam had no weapons. Adam had no weapons because he did not need them. In Eden, there was no violence – at least not until the next generation made their way in. But there was no need of weapons before. In an idyllic peace – there are no arms, no weapons. And this almost makes me weep today, here in America, where yet another deadly mass shooting has ripped through our lives. And people hug their weapons close, they feel them so necessary, the world they imagine they need them for is so far from Eden.

Was he a gentleman?

This makes me want to do some investigation into gentlemen. Because that word has so many connotations. It could just mean man. Like a gentle man. A man.
Or a man of a particular class. And this is what I’m curious about. When did this happen? And why? And how?

And there is of course, my favorite sense of this gentleman situation that is exploiting that confusion – which is a scene from Mystery Team – wherein these three boys try to get into a Gentlemen’s Club in order to pursue their case. And they interpret this Gentlemen’s Club as a club for upper crust Englishmen and show up in top hats and monocles to try and get in. It is, of course, a strip club and the bouncer humors the young Gentlemen trying to pass in front of him. One of the boys just says, “England!”
I enjoy this clip so much that I may never hear the word Gentleman again without also thinking “England!” and “a folded up tracing of a hammerhead shark.” (You’ll have to watch the clip to get that bit.)

If this had not been a gentlewoman, she should have been buried out o’ Christian burial.

This is actually a pretty astute social observation for a character that is often played as stupid. This is not stupid. This is very likely the real unvarnished truth. There are rules that do not apply to the gentry, to the upper crust, to the wealthy. Rules are stringently applied to the poor and loosely to the privileged.

Now – in this case, we don’t know that Ophelia is NOT due this Christian burial. By Gertrude’s account, she drowned by accident – so it’s perfectly acceptable to bury her legitimately. But – with even a whiff of doubt, a poor woman would have likely been shifted to the doubtful corner. A noblewoman, a gentlewoman, enjoys the benefit of the doubt and a poor woman, if there is any doubt, does not enjoy any benefit. There is no benefit of the doubt for a poor woman. Probably a priest is expensive.

Will you ha’ the truth on’t?

Yes, please. I will always have the truth on it. I’d like to have the systemic truth, the political truth, the personal truth. I am very much attached to authenticity.
That is not to say I need to have my truth unvarnished. I like some varnishing. I don’t need to be told if I don’t look my best – I don’t care, really – and someone’s opinion on this will only make me feel bad. I also am willing to sit on the truth for peace – like in some of my relationships where we just quietly accept that we are not telling one another everything.
But in most other instances, I’m keen on having the truth.