Thursday, October 19, 2006

"But that was in another country, and besides, the wench is dead." - The Jew of Malta, Christopher Marlowe

Act 4, scene 1, Christopher Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta.

Barabas the Jew is trying to excuse and explain away his sins, to two friars.
They accuse him, "Thou hast committed..."
And he replies, "Fornication? But that was in another country, and besides, the wench is dead."

I have always liked Christopher (no, I don’t call him Kit) Marlowe – he was dashing and risk-taking and fun. Oh, and a kick-ass writer. (Never mind that he was killed in a bar brawl in a dispute over the tab.) I do not think he wrote Shakespeare’s stuff; I personally hold the opinion that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare’s stuff, but what do I know? A few post-bacc classes in Renaissance lit with a brilliant and encouraging professor, and suddenly, everyone’s an expert.

Last night, after an interminable parent-teacher meeting - and the sinking realization that my mother-in-law is just too old to handle watching the baby anymore - I went out with my friend whom I would like to henceforth refer to as Dr L, since she successfully defended her dissertation. (See, L, you can be Dr Initial-of-Your-Choosing, too...) But I’ll probably forget…

We went to the little neighborhood bar that I like because of their yummy buffalo bites. We ate, we drank (I drank too much), she threw some darts. And we, lo and behold, began chatting with some of the regulars. Because, you know, who doesn’t want to talk to L? She’s tall and thin and has long blonde hair and is adorable.

The George Hamilton lookalike was very serious about his darts; the dude in the San Fran shirt looked like L’s long-time love only twenty years younger; the guy whose hair was maddeningly in his eyes ALL NIGHT LONG sounded like he was from France, but actually hails from Maine; and we were both fairly certain that the robotics engineer who first started speaking to us was gay.

I was chatting with Hair-In-His-Eyes Guy and he used a quote I have heard before, but couldn't place. I asked him where it was from, but he didn't know, said he'd tried to find out for ages. He had first run across it in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, but we both knew it was from another source. We spent a few minutes trying to figure it out, along the way trying to decide who Shakespeare was, or more accurately, if Christopher Marlowe was Shakespeare.
And this is where I turn into a total dork - I came home at midnight and LOOKED IT UP. And then I emailed the source to him.

Moral of the story: You can take the librarian out of the library - but don't take her to a bar.


Jess said...

So, I'm assuming it was the quote at the top?

Oh, someone please take me to a bar. I'm just in library school. You know what? That story is PERFECT for this assignment I have to do about information behavior. I wonder if I can pretend I was there, for the interests of my class? Do you mind me pretending I was there?

Amy said...

um, and you don't tell us the quote?! Good lord!! Talk about suspense!

BabelBabe said...

It was the quote at the top...and yes, you can pretend you were there. I'll buy you a beer, even...

blackbird said...

I was thinking: I SO need to go to a bar with BB...


Jess said...

Hey, thanks for the beer!

A side note: library school has really been making me want to tell a lot of fibs. Is this normal?

BabelBabe said...

what sort of fibs?

Fibs like, "I had a dude ask for The Joy of SAX at the ref desk the other day..." or fibs like, "I am a pediatric neurosurgeon, and there's my beeper, and I am on call, so I gotta go now."?

One is mere embellishment, some people may claim they don't do it but just about everyone does. The second? Then you might need to rethink your career choices....

Suse said...

When I start foolishly daydreaming about another baby, Mr Soup says to me warningly, 'You know it will be another boy. And with our family history it will be twin boys.'

And I comfort myself with the fantasy that I will call them Pip and Kit and will dress them in blue and white smocked rompers with sun bonnets.

(I don't know why I felt the need to blurt that out here. Just my ongoing adoration of Christopher Marlowe that you have reminded me of).

Anonymous said...

In my defense, it was a much more interesting reference problem in '98 or so when I first tried to find the quote - thus Google doth make, er, people-who-ought-to've-looked-it-up of us all.

But no worries, I'll be sure to suitably anonymize you before giving said robotics engineer grief.

-- Hair-In-His-Eyes-Guy (and yeah, I keep thinking about cutting it, but all my female friends swear it makes me cuter -- to someone else, evidently)

BabelBabe said...

Hey now, Hair-in-your-eyes (which *is* sorta cute, but now I am just feeling guilty, esp. as I spend a vast amount of time with my hair in my eyes).
Why do you have a Florida IP address?

No need to defend yourself, it was a nice change from "How do you print?"

Suse - What the heck is Pip short for anyway?

Anonymous said...

Pip is short for Philip, or Pippin. Or Philippa. I have friends/acquaintances of all three persuasions.


Anonymous said...

Gah -- you'd think that a guy who names functions things like IKnowWhatImDoing_SetPointer would have a keener eye for ambiguity in his personal life, but I clearly don't. The (in retrospect kinda petty) "to someone else" tag was being bitter toward my female friends in general, for their tendency to reassure me about my attractiveness whilst showing no interest in ever dating me -- *geek whine*, in short, and utterly not aimed at you.

Not to over-explain or anything.

Not a bit.

But the Florida IP address thing is a mystery to me... I'd much sooner that Verizon sent *me* there, and left my computer here -- I rather doubt they got snowed on today.

--Hair-In-His-Eyes-Guy, redux

cathrasher said...

Lovely story. I needed to know where it came from to but it was while dusting my hall and trying to come up with a throw-away line.


Yet, Marlowe himself was gay.

Oinophilos said...

I just read these lines in Hemingway's "The Sun also Rises," Book II, chapter 8, where Jake introduces Bill to Brett:
Brett smiled at him again.
"You've a nice friend, Jake."
"He's all right," I said. "He's a taxidermist."
"That was in another country," bill said. "And besides all the animals were dead."

PG said...

This is the page that came up highest in Duckduckgo when I searched for the quote - in fact, wrongly quoted by my friend, but that's beside the point, it found you - and I must say that comments are actually often more interesting than the article itself!
Nice story of you at the bar - I don't meet anyone at a bar who quotes anyone older than Pink Floyd, but that's Australia for you - and then the coda from Guy-with-hair-in-his-eyes in the comments... perfect.
I just need to know what sort of fibs you are telling, Jess?

Damuth said...

Faulkner also used the quote from Marlowe in his A FABLE