Anyway, Tuesday I had done all the stuff from my last blog. Wednesday (yesterday) I was dog tired, slept most of the day. After dinner a group of us went out to Robinson College where they were having some Shakespeare all outdoors style. They were putting on a production of Hamlet, which is a play I like quite a lot, and they had an interesting take on it. Shakespeare as read in US high school classrooms loses a lot of the built-in humor and innuendo. It is often read stiffly and even from people who enjoy it with a reverence that is absolutely wooden. A good performance of Shakespeare understands that it was the television of its day, and while poetic and all that has a lot of irreverent stuff even in the tragedies. I’m sort of going on, but basically we went to this outdoor presentation, the weather cooperated, the players were good and a good time was had by all. That was basically the only thing worth talking about from yesterday.
Today we switched our law class with our history class, finishing our academic day with a video presentation of Ghosts of Rwanda, a grim documentary of the UN’s bungling of their mandate to prevent genocide. I have a pretty low opinion of the UN and even the concept of the “international community”, or at least how it all seems to be all rhetoric and no active will, so this video wasn’t much of a revelation to me. The Constitutional Law class was about equality issues, and we talked about US, German, (an African country whose name I forget) and Indian cases pertaining to constitutional equality law suits. What’s interesting that I never thought about before is that a lot of other country’s supreme courts (in whatever form) will often cite or quote the US Supreme Court opinions, even if it sometimes to draw negative distinctions. It just never occurred to me that one country would use a legal precedent from another country to interpret, or even just comment, on a case in their country. The more you know…
This afternoon I made myself a PB&J lunch, did some recreational reading and then took a nap. A nap that saw me waking up with less than five minutes to get to dinner. Arriving at dinner I discovered that some of my friends had apparently dealt with the depressing genocide video by going on a drinking binge of a pub crawl. The football match with the Italian students was supposed to be today, so as tired as I was I dressed out to play some “footy”, as the English say. Turns out that between a sudden onset of apathy and confusion, and some of Team Jayhawk being obscenely drunk (and well before 7pm), the match didn’t happen. I was ready to go with just four on our side, but it turned out that what was happening this afternoon had turned into a generic pick-up game. With no Kansas honor to defend I wasn’t at all interested.
I was going to sit on the river-wall reading in my book, but got engaged in an interesting conversation with a fellow student, and we were also distracted by the unusual level of chaos on the river. For whatever reason the area of the river fronting Trinity Hall is where people going both ways on the river tend to cluster, spin around in their punts, run into the wall and river bank, and generally congregate to raise hell. We watched two separate punts come closer to taking on water and sinking than any others, the largest punt jam to date I’ve witnessed, and also a punt with two vikings and an Imperial Stormtrooper, followed closely on by a punt containing two Jedi, a Princess Leia and other generic Rebellion personalities.
About a hundred Japanese high school girls also moved into Trinity Hall this afternoon while I was sitting on the river-wall. The sound of their luggage wheels rolling across the gravel paths of the college was impressive. Having this many Japanese people in the same college as me (due to proximity issues) fills me with anxiety. Mostly because I haven’t been keeping up with my study of the language, and I sometimes find myself compelled to try and have a go with speaking it anyway, which never works out well for me. Also, a hundred high school girls in “sailor suits” is just kind of intimidating anyway, since they instantly became half the population of the college and a clear cultural majority within these walls.
Tomorrow we’re going to visit the Royal Courts in London. Should be fun.