Thursday, March 22, 2007

Updated: Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal"

I know this isn't a new video, but I just found it today and was intrigued by it. I guess the big surprise is that someone actually thought to take Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal," the satirical 1729 essay in which he suggested a way to ease the burden of Ireland's poor, and turn it into a hip hop video. All they had to do, according to Swift was to make their babies into a food source, not a burden.
”I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled ...”

Fair warning: Here is a modern version of the same message and some may find it as offensive as those who read the original in 1729.



See what happens when I have extra time on my hands?

7 comments:

  1. Having read Swift's "A Modest Proposal" more times than I can count (trying to teach to satire), I have to admit both that he did a pretty good job and that many will, indeed, be just as horrified as many of Swift's readers were!

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  2. I can't proofread even one long sentence!

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  3. The whole effort made me smile. Do you think that this would work in a high school English class? It might actually reach some students who otherwise would remain totally oblivious to Swift.

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  4. That's sooo bad! But I did like the little crockpot. I read Swift in high school--I really need to read him again, as remember liking his work. I wonder how many other "literary" YouTubes are out there.

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  5. I haven't found many "literary" efforts on YouTube but every so often I do stumble onto something like this one. I wonder what the target audience for this one is?

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  6. This effort is one of those things that I would make subtle comments about to increase their curiosity, but would not show in class. It is one of those things that kids like to feel is a little off limits. I was frequently sneaky that way...

    They often remember and appreciate what they have to do by their own efforts, but it really is a perfect, contemporary companion piece.

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  7. That's a brilliant piece of psychology, Jenclair. I can see how that would work. I would bet that a similar approach was taken in quite a few high school classrooms...I have to admit that the piece still makes me smile.

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