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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 most 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… should he?  What if the ghost is wrong – or a fake ghost ? Instead of springing into action, Hamlet springs into depression. People think he’s mad (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 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 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.

Dr. Sue Teddly Bear American Museum of Natural History (AMNH)

Dr. Sue Virtual Tour American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) Positive Entertainment

Dr. Sue Virtual Tour American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) Positive Entertainment

Dr. Sue and her Teddly Bear Puppet invite you to a Virtual Tour of the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City!

Enjoy a Special Exhibit “The Nature of Color” – a scientific, artistic, cultural view of hue – and meet bears in New York City!

Dr. Sue & Teddly Virtual Tour American Museum of Natual History (AMNH)
Dr. Sue & Teddly Bear on Virtual Tour of American Museum of Natural History (AMNH)

Dr. Sue & Teddly – Entertaining Virtual Tour American Museum of Natural History

What are colors? Which ones can we see? Can some animals see what we cannot? Are there “colors” (electromagnetic waves) that we can’t see, but which powerfully affect our lives?

How do we “see” color – how does a “colored” object, light, or reflection send a message to our eyes and brain? Do colors create feelings, and do colors mean different things in different cultures?

Why do some animals have different colors at different times? How can color make an animal a mating magnet or a “master of disguise”?

People come in different colors too, but how different are we – under the skin?

If you’re curious about color you’ll love this special exhibit “The Nature of Color” at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). There’s plenty more to see at AMNH. Look out for skeletons, fossils….and bears!

Your Video Host is Dr. Sue (Susan Horowitz, Ph.D.) Entertaining Educator – plus her best friend Teddly Bear – a Puppet with Personality!

Enjoy Dr. Sue’s original song “Friends Are Soul Food” (Music on Request).

Dr. Sue is Available for Live and Online Programs.
Contact Form on Website, Facebook:

Museums Are Soul Food 

Museums are soul food 
Friends are soul food
Take a tour, and I am sure
We'll share good company

Museums are soul food 
Friends are soul food
We can share the things we love 
With a special friend
Won't you be my friend...

"Museums Are Soul Food" by Susan "Dr. Sue" Horowitz
copyright 2020
"Friends Are Soul Food" is also a complete song with Written Music 
Available on Request from Susan "Dr. Sue" Horowitz
Dr. Sue Logo

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!)

Musical: “SssWitch”

Dr. Sue YouTube Channel

Dr. Sue Song (or Poem) of the Month “Winter Rhythm” Positive Entertainment

Dr. Sue Song (or Poem) of the Month “Winter Rhythm” Positive Entertainment

Dr. Sue November 2020
Dr. Sue November 2020, Photo by SuZen

Do you like a Creative Challenge? Do you enjoy songs, poetry, art, and nature? Do you like combining words with music or pictures? Do you like learning and/or teaching, and sharing?

Here is your Song/Poem Challenge of the Month!

Create a song or poem inspired by a month, season, and/or holiday – with an optional image. If you don’t compose music, write a lyric or poem.

Here is “Winter Rhythm” my song and poem inspired by December with an image of migrating geese.

Scroll down for printed lyric, explanation of the poem and my creative process – which may inspire yours! Music is available on request. Click on Image to Enlarge.

Winter Rhythm

Winter Rhythm, something in the sky
Makes the geese sense snow in the air...and fly

Winter Rhythm, something in me grieves
Golden autumn clings to the trees...then leaves

Once upon a summertime we waltzed in sweet romance
Now our steps don't rhyme and we don't dance

Out of rhythm, but trying not to show
In your mind you're gone like the spring 
And though December leaves try to cling
Like the geese, I's time to go

"Winter Rhythm" Words and Music by Susan Horowitz 
copyright 2020
Please request permission to share.

Here’s my explanation of the poem/lyric and my creative process. I hope it inspires your own creativity and love of songs, art, and literature.

My Creative Challenge is a Song or Poem for December. My season is the turn from autumn to winter – from November into December.

I started with the Title – “Winter Rhythm.” I took the title from a music festival sponsored by Urban Stages Theater in New York City (

I like the musicality of the word “rhythms” (which I shortened to “rhythm”) and the connection to the winter season.

I wanted an image from nature that reflects seasonal change – like the migration of birds. I thought about the mallard ducks in the pond of a local park. However, “Ducks” (with the sharp “cks” sound) seemed too sharp, so I changed it to “geese” (with a soft “s” sound) which slid nicely into “sense”.

Migrating geese sense the coming of winter and fly south. How does that connect to other aspects of nature and to human emotions? In the second verse, the glorious golden leaves of autumn turn brown, wither, and fall. I am sad to lose their beauty – which also suggests human loss.

The form and rhythm of the first two verses is the same – which also allows the music to repeat and satisfies our ear – we “catch” the melody. Both verses open with the refrain “Winter Rhythm.”

Now it’s time for a change – the “bridge” of the song, which usually has a different rhythm, melody, and feeling or thought. We shift focus from late autumn/early winter sadness to a memory of summertime happiness. The first two verses introduced the word “rhythm,” but now we focus on a different rhythm – a “waltz,” which has a 3/4 rhythm and is associated with romantic dancing.

The last verse returns to the current season, connects earlier parts of the song and reveals their meaning. “Rhythm” shows up in the refrain, but now the romantic relationship feels “out of rhythm” awkward and forced. “You” (the beloved) are already disconnected from the “spring” (youthful enthusiasm) of early love. As “December leaves” cling to a tree, the speaker wants to cling to the beloved, but realizes that their romance is now frail, fading and falling away. It’s time to move on. “Like the geese, I know…it’s time to go.”

My main poetic influences in writing this song lyric are sonnets of William Shakespeare, which often connect nature (including seasonal change) and human emotions, and the poetry of Edna Saint Vincent Millay – especially her poem “The Spring and the Fall.” The music (in a minor key) suggests sadness – and is available on request.

I hope you enjoy my song lyric/poem and explanatory notes. Enjoy more Blogs with Songs, Comedy, and Entertaining, Educational Virtual Tours. I am Susan “Dr. Sue” Horowitz, Ph.D., Writer-Performer-Professor-Guest Speaker. I programs, including intertactive workshops, in-person and online.

Please use the contact form on my web site to send me an Email, or find me on Facebook, Linked In and YouTube Channel

(Note: Thanks to Suzen, Photographer ( for this November photograph of me, taken on our walk in the High Line Park, NYC ( and to Michael Lynch – Website Consultant – and to You – My Dear Readers!)

Dr. Sue Logo

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!)

Musical: “SssWitch”

Dr. Sue YouTube Channel