Category Archives: Humor & Pop Culture

Dr. Sue Shakespeare

My Zoom Opinion: To Say or Not? Dr. Sue Positive Entertainment

My Zoom Opinion: To Say or Not? Dr. Sue Positive Entertainment: (How I Got Kicked Out of Zoom Class)

This Blog Post needs my short personal bio, so here goes. I’ve been an English/Theater Professor/Writer for over thirty years. (I stopped teaching about the time the pandemic hit in early 2020.) I have close relationships with some of my former students and a connection with my former college. I also have opinions.

Anyone who wants to keep a job (as I certainly did) knows that you sometimes
swim in shark-infested waters. You learn to keep some of your opinions to yourself – especially in group meetings. This is especially true if you don’t have job security (which in academia means tenure).

But if you never say what you truly feel, your calculated, tactful silence tends
to chip away at your self-esteem. Over time, those little bits of your true self get lost. Instead of the smart, vibrant, outspoken, fully alive person you used to be, you wind up as a weak, sad, timid ghost.

As any English/Theater Teacher, Actor, Theater Pro, or Amateur Nerd knows, the subject of ghosts brings us to… William Shakespeare! My main go-to ghost is Hamlet’s dead dad – Hamlet Senior, who gets the action (and non-action) into high gear. 

Prince Hamlet, the hero of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy, has a spooky, but motivational conversation with King Hamlet (the ghost). Ghost Hamlet tells Live Hamlet that his Uncle Claudius, the dead king’s brother, murdered him, married his widow (Queen Gertrude –Hamlet’s mom), and is now King of Denmark. Ghost Hamlet tells Hamlet to seek Revenge!  Our hero Hamlet immediately… thinks about it!

What does this have to do with my getting kicked out of Zoom Class?

Like me, Hamlet talks to people (ghosts) who aren’t physically there. In my case, it’s Zoom Chats (the sidebars on Zoom classes and meetings where you type your thoughts to people who are somewhere in cyberspace. After Zoom, they vanish, like ghosts).

In Shakespeare’s play, old King Hamlet’s Ghost issues a call to action: kill your uncle!  Hamlet decides that  Ghost is right, and he should kill King Claudius – but on the other hand…. What if the ghost is wrong – or a fake ghost ? Instead of springing into action, Hamlet springs into depression. People think he’s mad (and maybe he is – or not). After several murders and suicides (Hamlet’s girlfriend, her father, her brother, Hamlet’s friends, his mother, Claudius, and, finally, Hamlet himself), the stage is littered with bodies, and the show is over.  Denmark has a new King, and I’m ready for a coffee break (preferably with a Danish pastry because Shakespearean tragedy gives me an appetite).

How did a Shakespeare semi-scholar (me) get kicked out of Zoom class?  

My Zoom class was not actually about Shakespeare, it was a series about musical theater, which tends to be less tragic (except for investors when the show closes on opening night).  Our Teacher showed video clips from Broadway shows, led discussions in the Chat feature (where we post comments), and called himself an “Expert”. I didn’t bother looking up his academic credentials or affiliation, because I didn’t care. I already have a Ph.D. in Theater, so I don’t need academic credit. I was interested in the subject matter and what seemed to be an entertaining, informative experience. As long as I was enjoying the class, I didn’t need to know his professional history. I paid for an “All-Access Pass” which gave me full admission to his series of Zoom classes and videos. (Scroll down for my own Video –  wearing my Shakespeare Hat and talking to Teddly Bear Puppet).

So there we were, several classes into the series, watching video clips and posting comments in the Chat.  Most of the comments were posted to “Everyone” – which means everyone can read them.  The other option is “Private” – which means only you and your chosen Zoom attendee reads your post. The “Expert” controlled the Chat. I usually posted supportive comments, but if I disagreed, I said so briefly without negative personal remarks. 

I never posted political comments until… Cabaret.  The musical Cabaret is set in Germany during Hitler’s rise to power. The in-cabaret performances echo the real-world events happening off-stage – including the growing threat of the anti-Semitic, violent Nazi regime.  During the class, the teacher said that the Nazi idea of the German “folk” (ancient Germanic tribes) excluded all non-Aryans (like Jews). 

TrumpI thought there was a parallel between the myth of the German “folk” and the Trumpian idea of the United States as an Anglo-Saxon country. (The Anglo-Saxons were Germanic tribes.)

I started posting a brief comment in the Chat about “Trump notion of the USA as an Anglo…” Then I accidentally pushed “Enter” which posted my half-sentence.

Before I could continue, the Teacher cut me off, and announced to “Everyone” in the Chat that if I posted political comments, I would be thrown out of class!

At first I thought: is this a mistake? He can’t mean me! Throw me out of class for one, brief remark?  In my long career as an educator, students have said and done much more shocking things! I don’t throw them out of class. I usually ask to speak with them privately so we can solve the problem without a public confrontation.  When this Zoom teacher threatened me and posted it to “Everyone” in the Chat, I felt embarrassed and attacked.  I did not want to escalate the situation, so I didn’t post anything in reply.   After a while, the class was over, with the Teacher soliciting and getting compliments about his class from some of my fellow students.

After class, I felt conflicted. Saying nothing would avoid immediate conflict. But keeping silent made me feel powerless and depressed.  Why should this Zoom “expert” feel enttitled to embarrass me in front to the class – and for what – one half-sentence of a political opinion that he did not want to hear?

I decided to write an E-Mail to the Teacher and CC my E-mail it to his “Staff “– which probably meant his Assistant. Based on his class behavior, I figured that he might distort what actually happened.  If I CC’d his Assistant, who seemed reasonable, she would have my written record. I also figured that since the Assistant was an African-American woman, she was more likely to understand my feelings than the White, male teacher.  Here is my E-mail to the Teacher – CC’d to the Assistant.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uG66DsrQGLA

Queens of Comedy by Susan Horowitz

Dr. Sue Queens of Comedy Book by Susan Horowitz Funny Women Positive Entertainment

Dr. Sue “Queens of Comedy” Book by Susan Horowitz Funny Women Positive Entertainment

“Queens of Comedy” – Book by Susan Horowitz (Dr. Sue) – is based on her personal interviews with Comedy Legends Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Phyllis Diller, Joan Rivers, Dolly Parton, Whoopi Goldberg and More – Plus a Witty History of Funny Women!

Hard Cover or Paperback Signed by Susan Horowitz (Author,
Entertaining Speaker) E-Mail: drsue at drsue dot com. (Or use Contact Form on Website) Also on Amazon (and More) for more money and no author’s signature.

Queens of Comedy by Susan Horowitz
“Queens of Comedy” Book by Susan Horowitz
"Queens of Comedy" - Book by Susan Horowitz
“Queens of Comedy” – Book by Susan Horowitz

Buy from Amazon (Paperback, Hardcover, and Kindle)

Buy from Smashwords (Digital) Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/219367

A Perfect Gift for Holidays or Any Time! Ideal for Courses in Women’s Studies and Popular Entertainment!

Dr. Sue’s Entertaining Talk – Diversity & Dolly Parton!

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Susan (“Dr. Sue”) Horowitz, Ph.D.
Entertaining Motivational Speaker-Author-Educator-Singer/Songwriter.

Book: “Queens of Comedy”
(Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Joan Rivers, Phyllis Diller, and more!)
smashwords.com/books/view/219367

Musical: “SssWitch” www.ssswitch.net

Dr. Sue YouTube Channel
youtube.com/user/drsuecomedian/videos

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Queens+of+Comedy+Susan+Horowitz&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss

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Dr. Sue Entertaining Host JCT Variety Show Positive Entertainment

Dr. Sue: Performing Host/Interviewer
 JCT Awards Dr. Sue Horowitz "Entertainer of the Year 2013"

JCT Awards
Dr. Sue Horowitz
“Entertainer of the Year 2013”

JCT Multi-Media Awards Dr. Sue “Entertainer of the Year 2013”
Where to go to catch a show?  Beat the heat, drink and eat?   Air-conditioning  on full blast – so chill out – enjoy the cast:  Funny Comics who can talk, Models struttin’ the catwalk   Dancers with and without  shoes – Singers and fun Interviews   Tangos, Tappers, Actors, Rappers, Broadway ballads, Caesar salads  Entertainment – a full menu – dinner – drinks – you’ll love our venue! The JCT Variety Show (August 2013) was tons of fun!  The talent was definitely varied and entertaining:  “The Amazing Amy” Yoga-Contortionist-Dancer (who demonstrated flexibility at any age) ; Fabielle – a handsome model (who showed me how to catwalk); a teen dancer(who tapped her way through a Beatles song ); an actress (with a monologue about a hamburger flipper); a model/singer (who warbled “Sistah” from The Color Purple)  to Miss Asia – an R&B  singer. I hosted the show and sang my original songs “Dare to Believe” “Celebrate Your Life” and “Yo Te Amo (I Love You)” . After the performances, I did  a group interview of show biz kids with their parents (including Producer Poppa T.)  All agreed that  being in show business is intense, demanding work that takes patience and persistance – plus (from the parents) a willingness to chauffeur their talented offspring to auditions, invest finances and time (and handle the jealousy of siblings who may be too young for the biz – or just not interested).  A bad stage parent pushes the child past his/her own needs and interests to satisfy what is really an adult agenda.  A good stage parent and mentor knows when to step back – to avoid making a performer feel pressured – and when to step forward to encourage, teach, and protect – and to know the difference between the child’s interests – and the parent’s own needs. All this is a mental health ideal – and it’s not so easy to draw the line – especially when a child is gifted.  What we call “genius” is a combination of unusual talent, hard work, and determination. Where would young Wolfgang Mozart have been without pushy poppa Leopold?  What about young Michael Jackson and driver dad Joe Jackson? More peaceful? Perhaps.  Less productive? Probably. Whatever your talent or taste, there’s something for everyone at JCT”s variety show.  The audience gets free entertainment, delicious food and drink. If you’re an aspiring star, this is your chance to be seen! “Success Awaits Us!” Creative Living
  • Live your dream – and your talent – you don’t know if you’re hot till you give it a shot!
  • If you’re pushing your child or significant other(s) to achieve – make sure it’s their dream – not yours.
  • Enjoy good entertainment good food -and do what you love!
(Editor/Photographer Jay Berman)

Susan (“Dr. Sue”) Horowitz, Ph.D.

Book: “Queens of Comedy” (Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Joan Rivers, Phyllis Diller, and more!) www.smashwords.com/books/view/219367 Musical: “SssWitch”: www.ssswitch.net  www.YouTube.com/drsuecomedian https://www.youtube.com/feed/my_videos  
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Dr. Sue Social Q’s – Eat Dessert First! Book Review Positive Entertainment

True confession: I have an addiction – to Philip Galanes”s “Social Q’s” advice column on Sunday in The New York Times. There’s no excuse.   I should be reading important news (wars, failing economies, natural disasters).  I should be saving my appetite for the main course (a balanced plateful of misery), But instead, what am I doing?  Eating dessert first.   Chowing down on Q’s (questions) from the socially challenged and answers that are tart and tender, smart and blender-whipped into a mousse of  wit and uncommon sense. Who can help licking the spoon?  Not I. And now I don’t have to wait for Sunday! Social Q’s is now a book (light weight or downloadable).  I can carry my social conscience  with me like Pinocchio’s Jiminy Cricket.  If I’m tempted to misdemean or make a scene or lie, Mr. Galanes clues me in on what’s cricket and what’s out of bounds. Good thing too, I can’t afford to have my nose grow – not with the price of cosmetic surgery! If I’m tempted to lay down my personal social laws,  Mr. Galanes lays out some tongue-in-cheek formulas for deciding when to play Mom and when to keep mum. Speaking of tongues and cheeks, I can’t wait to revisit Mr. Galanes’ dessert buffet and expand my uh-mind.  But you know what they say about second helpings – I better wear stretch pants. (Editor: Jay Berman) Happiness/Success Habits: Read Social Q’s!  ‘Nuff said!

Susan (“Dr. Sue”) Horowitz, Ph.D.

Book: “Queens of Comedy” (Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Joan Rivers, Phyllis Diller, and more!) www.smashwords.com/books/view/219367 Musical: “SssWitch”: www.ssswitch.net  www.YouTube.com/drsuecomedian https://www.youtube.com/feed/my_videos  
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Dr. Sue Psycho Motel Funny Positive Entertainment

Psycho MotelI just got an Email from “HOTEL HELL” a reality show who wants to help desperate HOTEL, MOTEL, OR B&B owners turn their business fortunes around.  HOTEL HELL offers to send a team of experts to “troubleshoot problems…and get you back on the road to success.”  The E-mail tells me to “Contact us NOW!” As I read the E-mail, my thoughts drift to Norman Bates, the shy, yet homicidal motel owner in Alfred Hitchcock’s movie “Psycho.” I wonder if HOTEL HELL can help him. So I write my own E-mail in Norman’s name. “Dear Hotel Hell, Thanks for your offer.  I am the owner of the Bates Motel (actually a co-owner, with Mother) I need all the help I can get, what with dirty bathrooms and nosy detectives. I’d also love to make a killing on reality TV!   I went down to the cellar and asked Mother’s permission. She said, “Take a stab at it!  In life you have to take what comes. You have sunshine, and you have showers.”   Based on her advice, I decided to write. Mother and I are having a lot of trouble running our motel. Actually, I’m the one who runs it. She is elderly and ill, and mostly stays in our house next door. I’m a very shy person. I have a hard time making friends. Usually the only people I talk to are the people who check into the motel. I can’t really make friends with our motel guests because they only stay for one night. Besides, Mother is jealous of everyone who checks in. I guess she wants me all to herself. I need help fixing up the motel – especially the showers which are wearing out because I have to clean them so often. Please come to to troubleshoot (if I don’t trouble-stab first – ha ha! just a little joke 🙂 ) And be kind. As I mentioned, I’m shy. Sincerely, Norman aka Mother Bates Within minutes, I get an E-mail from the team at Hotel Hell “Thank you very much for your email. Our casting team will review. In the meantime if you are an owner – please log on to  our website for the application.” Happiness/Success Habits:
  • Never feel like you’re dumb or crazy – there’s always someone dumber and crazier – and they make big money on Reality TV
(Editor: Jay Berman)

Susan (“Dr. Sue”) Horowitz, Ph.D.

Book: “Queens of Comedy” (Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Joan Rivers, Phyllis Diller, and more!) www.smashwords.com/books/view/219367 Musical: “SssWitch”: www.ssswitch.net  www.YouTube.com/drsuecomedian https://www.youtube.com/feed/my_videos