We may have more information than any generation before us, but does instant access to video game cheat codes really make life today better than it was hundreds of years ago?
In "All the world's a stage," one of Shakespeares best-known monologues, he breaks human life into 7 easy to digest parts (he probably could have written for Cracked.com). And while certain details may have changedlonger life spans, fewer children, more bottled wine coolerstheir lives dont seem all that different from ours.
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players,
They have their exits and entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.
We still have actors. Hell, we have reality TV!
But every aging classic needs to be occasionally updated for the sake of remaining relevant, and dammit, what's the modern equivalent to Shakespeare if not me, Cracked.com's Michael Swaim?
Verily, I doth be. So lets see how we stack up:
The Lines:At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.The Analysis:
Okay Billy Boy, you havent taken a lot of chances here. Its a safe assumption that infants are still going to be puking for the foreseeable future. A recent study showed that about thirty percent of an infants body weight is either green feces or spit-up, and thats all gotta come out sometime. If anything, the weakness here is a lack of information; yes, you want to stay punchy, but the modern infancy really cant be described without the mention of some key points.
For example, according to the National Vital Statistics Center, more and more children are being born to women 40 and over, and as a result, Down Syndrome is on the rise. And while infant mortality is dropping for white folks, its still rising for ethnics. Furthermore, the average household can no longer afford a full-time nursemaid, and tends to lean on a daycare center or Television when it comes to child rearing.
To be fair, these statistics only apply to children born in the United States, but most U.S. historians agree that Shakespeare would have been American anyway if given the choice.
The Revision:At first the infant,
Snow white and retarded in front of The Wiggles.
The Lines:Then, the whining schoolboy with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school.The Analysis:
Again, youre right on for the first line or so; kids whine as much as they ever did. In fact, whining seems to be on the rise (or parenting on the wane), as nearly a quarter of todays U.S. children have seen a health care provider because of behavior problems. The overwhelming majority of diagnoses? ADD and Hyperactivity. So creeping probably isnt the best descriptor anymore. Lets replace it with jabbering.
On the plus side, cars are way more affordable now than in your time. Also, they exist. And with fleets of buses ready to serve, the only kids who still walk to school are the ones who live across the street. Maybe its that lack of walking thats led to the current upswing in childhood obesity. Hopefully the trend will correct itself as all buses fill up with fat kids and the rest are forced to march alongside.
But until then, child obesity worldwide is such a big deal that it actually rivals malnutrition as a cause of death in even the poorest African countries. That means when you see those starving Ethiopian kids on late night TV (another dynamite invention; just chill out for a few centuries), theres usually a big fat kid just off camera horking down a Twinkie and chortling like Jabba the Hutt.
Also, if you come to school with a satchel, youre going to get beat down.
The Revision:Then, the whining schoolboy with his Jansport
And greasy blubber face, jabbering like a howler monkey
In his Moms Durango.