April 23 is Talk Like Shakespeare Day

Talk Like Shakespeare Day

William Shakespeare: Bard, babe magnet

Did you miss Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day on January 24th? Do you need to recapture the fun you had on International Talk Like William Shatner Day on March 22nd? Rejoice! Today is Talk Like Shakespeare Day, begun in 2009 by the Chicago Shakespeare Theater to celebrate the Bard’s birthday.

Church records confirm that William Shakespeare was baptized on April 26, 1564. Since this was typically performed three days after birth, it’s believed he was born on April 23, 1564. He died on April 23, 1616, according to the Julian calendar in use at that time. Many sources report his birth in the Julian but his death in the Gregorian calendar, which would make it May 3, 1616.

In 2016, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel proclaimed this day Talk Like Shakespeare Day in honor of Shakespeare400, a yearlong celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death. He prescribed a lot of thees and thous. But if we truly want to talk like Shakespeare, wouldn’t it be helpful to hear how a gentleman born in Stratford-upon-Avon would have spoken?

According to scholar John Barton, Shakespeare’s accent would sound to us like a blend of modern Irish, Yorkshire, and West Country English accents. Recordings compiled by National Public Radio feature pieces performed as Shakespeare probably heard them.

Here’s a recitation of one of his most popular sonnets: “Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediment…”

If you’d rather celebrate the holiday without having to hire a dialect coach, just memorize a few of the greatest insults Shakespeare ever wrote. Here are nine of our favorites:

Thy food is such as hath been belch’d upon by infected lungs.
Pericles

Would the fountain of your mind were clear again, that I might water an ass at it.
Troilus and Cressida

If you spend word for word with me, I shall make your wit bankrupt.
The Two Gentlemen of Verona

I find the ass in compound with the major part of your syllables.
Coriolanus

Thou clay-brained guts, thou knotty-pated fool, thou whoreson obscene greasy tallow-catch!
Henry IV, part I

Your bedded hair, like life in excrements, start up and stand on end.
Hamlet

Methink’st thou art a general offence and every man should beat thee.
All’s Well That Ends Well

Thou wert best set thy lower part where thy nose stands.
All’s Well That Ends Well

Come, come, you talk greasily; your lips grow foul.
Love’s Labour’s Lost

Want more? Use CNN’s Shakespeare Insult-o-Meter to choose the gender of your intended victim, select the severity of invective you desire and let the generator do the rest.

Happy Talk Like Shakespeare Day! And don’t forget to save some energy for International Talk Like a Pirate Day on September 19th. Then cleanse your palate with National Gibberish Day on September 20th.

Copyright © 2019 Worldwide Weird Holidays

Equal Pay Day 2019

national equal pay day

Equal Pay Day was established in 1996 to illustrate how far into the new year a woman must work to earn the same wages that a man, by dint of having been born with a penis, earned in the previous year.

Because Census data isn’t released until later in the year, Equal Pay Day has long been scheduled on the Tuesday in April that falls most closely to the estimated date. Tuesday was chosen to represent the extra day a woman must work to earn what men took home the previous week.

This year, it falls on April 2nd. But don’t get excited, ladies. The Equal Pay Act of 1963, which made it illegal to pay a woman less than a man for the same job and was signed into law by President John F. Kennedy, remains nothing more than a well-intentioned piece of paper with a very valuable autograph.

Three years ago, President Obama declared April 12, 2016 to be National Equal Pay Day. Did you enjoy the raise, the parade, and the day off?  Trick question. Nothing changed but adding the word “national.” Now we’re back to good old Equal Pay Day.

That year, President Obama also announced the establishment of the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument in the house that had been the headquarters of the National Woman’s Party since 1929. It is named for former Party president Alva Belmont and founder Alice Paul, who played a vital role in the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing women’s right to vote.

When Alice Paul introduced the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in 1923, she said this regarding the work that had been done since the first women’s rights convention, held in 1848 in Seneca Falls, NY:

If we keep on this way, they will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of the 1848 Convention without being much further advanced in equal rights than we are … If we had not concentrated on the Federal Amendment we should be working today for suffrage … We shall not be safe until the principle of equal rights is written into the framework of our government.

Looking at where we are today, that statement was, sadly, prescient. When Paul died in 1977 at age ninety-two, the ERA was still being debated. Many contend ratification is still possible and continue the fight even though the amendment was “officially” defeated in 1982. Although the ERA never passed, Paul’s language prohibiting discrimination based on gender served as a template for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

We have a few suggestions for Equal Pay Day 2019. First, dedicate a space to represent the net worth of legislators’ good intentions to the livelihood of their mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters. (Very easy. Just draw a zero.)

Then, demand that Congresspeople explain to children why their future efforts lose value the moment they are born girls. Garnish 21 percent of their wages until they enforce the Equal Pay Act. (They don’t even need to write a law. It’s already on the books.)

Perhaps the best thing we can do is stand up and shout, just keep pointing out how ridiculous it is to discriminate on the basis of plumbing. You know how everyone hates it when we’re shrill.

Until we succeed, have an angry Equal Pay Day!

Copyright © 2019 Worldwide Weird Holidays