'If you cut us off, do we not seethe?'

The Montague Folding Bikes blog has an interesting “Plea for Tolerance” based on Shylock’s monologue from The Merchant of Venice.

The original monologue is delivered by Shylock, a Jew who has suffered malice and discrimination from his Christian enemy, Antonio. Shylock reasons that he is no different from a Christian, and asks why he should not seek his revenge when given the chance — as the behavior of a Christian has instructed him.

Shylock is pissed off, as best portrayed by Al Pacino:

And this is from Montague’s adaptation:

I am a Cyclist. Don't Cyclists have places to be? Don't Cyclists have friends, families, engagements, jobs, appointments, obligations; aren't we entitled to the same rights, injured by the same collisions, subject to the same laws, ticketed by the same police, enduring the same weather and road conditions as Drivers? If you cut us off, do we not seethe?

But Montague does not argue for revenge against motorists, but instead for understanding from them. However, the high ground can be taken only when the cyclist has behaved in a legal, civil and predictable manner — not when the cyclist’s argument is, You flout the law. Why can’t I?

It is rare that I have an altercation with a motorist, but the next time it happens, I only hope I can recall the Montague version of the monologue, and deliver it with the Pacino intensity.

It would be so much more effective than my usual inarticulate stream of expletives.

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