Paper-writing demands my attention this evening. Unfortunately, that means I won’t be adhering to my only personal tradition on this day of watching the always incredible Judy Garland and Fred Astaire in Easter Parade. Instead I’m listening to the Easter Parade soundtrack, drinking warm tea, and swooning over Henry in Tom Stoppard’s play The Read Thing.
HENRY: “Leave me out of it. They don’t count. Maybe Brodie got a raw deal, maybe he didn’t. I don’t know. It doesn’t count. He’s a lout with language. I can’t help somebody who thinks, or thinks he thinks, that editing a newspaper is censorship, or that throwing bricks is a demonstration while building tower blocks is social violence, or that unpalatable statement is provocation while disrupting the speaker is the exercise of free speech…Words don’t deserve that kind of malarkey. They’re innocent, neutral, precise, standing for this, describing that, meaning the other, so if you look after them you can build bridges across incomprehension and chaos. But when they get their corners knocked off, they’re no good any more, and Brodie knocks their corners off. I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little or make a poem which children will speak for you when you’re dead.”
Act II, Scene 5, HENRY and ANNIE
― Tom Stoppard, The Real Thing