Charles and Louis, Louis and Charles

Last evening I saw Sarah in her high school production of Kiss Me, Kate. I mention this because I thought everyone would like to know that my little sister is quite probably the greatest actress of her generation. And possibly the greatest singer of her generation too (what with the mediocre competition and all). You heard it here first.

The other kids were also pretty good, particularly her co-star and the two gangsters. The latter even had helpful advice to offer, in an impromptu educational segment of the show:

Brush up your Shakespeare
Start doing it now.
Brush up your Shakespeare
And the women you will wow.

Ah, so that’s why I’ve stuck with those MOTWM classes for so many years. Although I have to admit that the correlation between the wowing of women and one’s knowledge of Shakespeare is not as clear-cut as the gangsters allege. Maybe I’m hanging out in the wrong bars?

Anyway, this quarter we won’t be doing the English Renaissance for a few more weeks. Right now we’re focusing on pre-Renaissance France, a subject that would be far less confusing if the French nobility had been just a little more innovative in naming their male heirs. For example: in the late fourteenth century, the King (Charles) goes mad, but not before he has a son (Charles) who succeeds in mostly unifying France. He has a son (Louis) who ends up fleeing his father’s wrath and living temporarily with the France’s great rival, his uncle, the Duke of Burgundy. After his father’s (Charles’s) death, Louis takes the throne, where he soon becomes embroiled in a conflict with his cousin (Charles), now Duke of Burgundy. After many years Louis defeats Charles, fends off the English, establishes the present-day borders of France, and has a son (Charles), who invades Italy and sparks the Italian Wars. Charles dies young and without an heir, so his cousin (Louis) takes the throne, assisted by a dashing young military leader, the Duke of Bourbon (Charles), who will figure prominently later on…

And on it goes. Thank goodness American history does not have this problem, recent presidents aside. (I, for one, have trouble keeping my John Adams straight from my John Quincy Adams. I’ve just resorted to mentally assigning the second one with a little flag, “less important”.) One hopes that we do not continue on this path of modelling ourselves after French nobility. However, I hear that George W. Bush’s young nephew, George P. Bush, grandson of George and son of Jeb (Duke of Florida), has political aspirations. I smell trouble.