Educational standards have dropped considerably over the past thirteen years. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the teaching of English Literature, where a tick-box culture has replaced the intelligent, imaginative interpretation of texts. The actress Imogen Stubbs claims in today's Sunday Times: "A-levels were recalibrated in 2000 to make the exams fairer... Many pupils confessed to me that they never even read the full "texts" for English A-level. They just read websites."
We considered the implications of this "recalibration" and wondered whether it might simply be easier to "recalibrate" the texts themselves. We looked at some of the most notable lines penned by the bard Will Shakespeare and considered how they might be re-worked in this era of declining educational standards.
From the Scottish Play: "Is this a dagger what I see before me? Damn right, bro. Fucking dagger innit? Now it's my fuckin' dagger."
From Hamlet: "To be or fucking what? Fucking stupid question, innit? Is I gonna be 'appier putting up with all this shit? Or should I get out there, bladd, with my A-K and fucking end it, like?"
Julius Caesar: "Friends, Romans, tossers. Fucking listen, right. I've come here to bury this geyser, not wank off about him like some batty man."
Romeo and Juliet: "Romeo, Romeo, where are you, you toe-rag."
"Gary, what part of "fuck off" dontchyer un'erstand? Dontchyer ge' it? It's all over between us. You an' me is finished!" (Not strictly Shakespeare, but who cares?)
We believe that, were these changes made to A-level texts, they might obviate the need for the tick-box culture. After all, pupils would hardly get "narked off" studying texts that are no more challenging than the latest edition of Eastenders, would they? Surely not. This must be the way forward.