SAA: Caring Makes Me Tired
|Despite the fact that we've promised to blog, blog, blog our way through SAA this year, we've been doing a horrible job. Perhaps it's because we're tired. And perhaps that's because... we care? I'm not sure exactly why, but the more times I come to this conference, the more I feel like part of a community. A stressed out, completely crazy, monomaniacal community; a community with very strange taste in beards and silken scarves; but a community nonetheless. And since our conference blogging tends towards the sardonic rant (well, my conference blogging tends towards the sardonic rant), I feel somewhat reluctant to let it rip this time around.|
I decided at lunch today that every incoming president of the SAA should have to take the following oath of office at his or her coronation. The speech today actually rescued itself with some good honest email humor, but we need some guidelines for the future:
I hereby pledge to give a purely conference-specific talk at the annual luncheon. I will not talk about the history of Shakespearean performance in the city we are in. I will not rhapsodize about the power of Shakespeare to heal world-historical rifts between nations, races, religions, and age groups. I will not even tell jokes about thinking up jokes to tell. I will deliver a state of the SAA address, letting the members know what the SAA and/or the Folger Library and/or SQ has been up to. I will say one interesting thing about Shakespeare that I have discovered over the course of my career that most people in the room probably don't already know. And, as part of our yearly tradition, I will unveil the mystery of how Lena Orlin manages to be both a fantastic scholar and the incredibly competent organizer of a conference each year.The necessity for such an oath will be proven next year if Peter Holland (un-ruffed, no doubt) gives a lecture about how the Cuban Missile Crisis was actually defused by a well-timed performance of Pericles. Anyone care to take bets now on what he says Shakespeare heals, enables, or protects?