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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

The Anatomie of Abuses 1583

Do they not maintain bawdry, insinuate foolery, and renew the remembrance of heathen idolatry? Do they not induce whoredom and uncleanness? Nay, are they not rather plain devourers of maidenly virginity and chastity? For proof whereof but mark the flocking and running to Theaters and Curtains, daily and hourly, night and day, time and tide, to see plays and interludes where such wanton gestures, such bawdy speeches, such laughing and fleering, such kissing and bussing, such clipping and culling, such winking and glancing of wanton eyes, and the like is used, is wonderful to behold. Then these goodly pageants being ended, every mate sorts to his mate, every one brings another homeward of their way very friendly, and in their secret conclaves (covertly) they play the sodomites, or worse. And these be the fruits of plays and interludes, for the most part. And whereas, you say, there are good examples to be learnt in them: truly, so there are; if you will learn falsehood; if you will learn cozenage, if you will learn to deceive; if you will learn to play the hypocrite, to cog, to lie and falsify; if you will learn to jest, laugh and fleer, to grin, to nod and mow; if you will learn to play the Vice, to swear, tear and blaspheme both heaven and earth; if you will learn to become a bawd, unclean, and to devirginate maids, to deflower honest wives; if you will learn to murder, flay, kill, pick, steal, rob and rove; if you will learn to rebel against princes, to commit treasons, to consume treasures, to practice idleness, to sing and talk of bawdy love and venery; if you will learn to deride, scoff, mock and flout, to flatter and smooth; if you will learn to play the whoremaster, the glutton, drunkard, or incestuous person; if you will learn to become proud, haughty and arrogant; and finally, if you will learn to contemn God and all His laws, to care neither for Heaven nor Hell, and to commit all kinds of sin and mischief, you need to go to no other school, for all these good examples may you see painted before your eyes in interludes and plays.



There's a good defense of theatre in "The Roman Actor". Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be online.
And then Goodman Stubbes went on to describe a concept he called the 'FCC', which regulated theaters, requiring them to be licensed by the crown. Instead of wanton lascivious plays and interludes that served only to entice men and women to vice, theaters would be made to serve the public good, including putting on public interest plays and doing lots of skits during morning hours that would inculcate England's children in traditional middle-class virtues. If a theater did not produce an endless stream of unobjectionable pap of mind-numbing dullness, Stubbes said, this 'FCC' would fail to renew its license when it came up for renewal every five years.

Thankfully for Elizabethan and Restoration drama, Mr. Stubbes' ideas did not gain much of a following.

At least not for a while.

Thank God for Frank Zappa

We need a dozen more like him.

"Good Night, Austin Texas, wherever you are!"



Having seen this on your author's comments...have you any idea how hard it is to read that many commas - twice?