This American Life host Ira Glass has seen King Lear, and here are his thoughts:
As a longtime listener, I’m flabbergasted. What in the world is Ira Glass, a public radio host, thinking in bashing anyone as unrelatable? Glass works to essentially create an act-based drama with all sorts of themes running through it – and he has no ability to relate to the guy who kind of owned that whole thing? Julius Caesar, Henry V, Macbeth, Richard III, Hamlet, Coriolanus, Merchant of Venice, Othello – these plays last for a reason. And as for King Lear: it’s so relateable it is the basis for all sorts of remakes in other genres! I’m sure Akira Kurosawa has a thought or two about the timelessness of King Lear’s themes.
Of course, something good can come out of this. I think this could serve as the basis for a good This American Life episode:
“Hello, I’m Ira Glass. Today on our show: The Boring Bard. What is it about William Shakespeare that makes someone so obviously untalented, treacly, and dull stick around for centuries? Why do we find it so hard to admit that something isn’t great when so many people around us insist it’s great? We’ll hear from a chef on why bacon is terrible, an environmentalist who hates the outdoors, a sex therapist who thinks people should just give it up, and, of course, the brilliant English majors who are finally re-assessing our glorification of that dead white guy from Stratford-on-Avon. Act 1: Dude, Wherefore Art Thou. Here’s Sarah Vowell.”
And if that doesn’t convince you to read Shakespeare, you can just listen to Anthony Jeselnik.