Bubbles for Ever?

Posted By on March 6, 2010

This new video-musical collage, posted to “Under the Radar” under the title “Mind Thoughts,” goes in Oxfordville (where you can also find my Cape Cod with the white picket fence)  under the charming alternative title, “Bubbles for Ever.”

Some, you see, have marveled how its author, “Edward de Vere,” can still be writing musical video, four-hundred-and-six years after his decease.

When I wondered that out loud to myself on Utube, my comment was speedily deleted by the censors  (apparently not the brightest stars in the firmament), who may have taken it for a death threat against Sam Handley from An Emerald City, who seems to be the agent provocateur responsible for channeling this modern gem by the long-dead “no longer mourn for me when I am gone” Edward.

Update March 6, 2010: 14:59: On second thought, it has now positively been ascertained that all of the above, posted earlier today, is completely wrong. Your humble servitor unearthed the mysterious de Vere, who,  according to his own richly detailed and authoritative  MySpace biography, is very much alive today.

Indeed, the author was “Brought up under a mountain range in rural New Zealand.” His first musical production,  “a voice recording on cassette tape made with his brother for a time capsule and buried in the ground,”  was produced at the precocious and numerologically  propitious age of 7, and he is today many years later still involved in a number of musical projects, as well as being a founding member of An Emerald City.

Should anyone presume to doubt any of the above facts, I hasten to assure you that Mr. de Vere himself has posted documentary proof, in the form of a photograph in which he is pictured, with the brother in question, here. As anyone can see, the time capsule has just been buried; the two brothers memorialized the event on film, probably with a Kodak Instamatic,  anticipating the tune’s decryption by a later generation of musicologists.

His first album, from which “Mind Thoughts” is excerpted,  debuts in 2010, under  a new local label, “Banished from the Universe.” We sincerely apologize to Mr. de Vere for the confusion caused by the coincidence of names. It won’t happen again.

In other news, I am the gratified recipient (among several others)  of an essay from Professor Graham Holderness at Hertfordshire University clarifying his views on the authorship question. Still musing on a response, I will post Professor Holderness’ remarks in full once I’ve had a chance to more fully absorb their implications.  Meanwhile, his comments are already available kindness Micheal Prescott’s blog.

Stephanie Hughes of Politic Worm in that venue came back with a classic response, worthy of notice, which certainly captures my own first impressions of the erudite precision with which Holderness balances his quoted remarks last December with the need to save face among colleagues more overtly hostile to common reason:

It’s become clear to me over the passing years that the real problem we have with the English Departments is that they don’t care who wrote Shakespeare because what they really care about is the text and only the text. Had they cared they would not have succumbed to the inanities of the deconstruction fad of some decades ago, whereby it became dogma (for a time)  that the author and his or her intentions are of no importance.

Holderness may have made an unfortunate (for him) slip of the tongue in seeming to endorse Oxford, but now he puts us straight. Nope,….. all he cares about is the canon itself. It would make no difference to him “if it was written by a tinker.” Are we to be surprised by this? Didn’t Fred Boas remind us some time ago that it took the English Departments of Cambridge and Oxford 200 years before they would even allow Shakespeare to be performed on campus, much less taught?

The Holderness essay is also  reviewed, somewhat more favorably,  by Linda Theil on the SOS blog (from whence the present writer first learned of Holderness’ December 2009 comments on authorship): “Holderness speaks gentlemanly at length on his acceptance of the Stratfordian hypothesis,” replies Theil, but “I’m not sure he understands what a breath of fresh air his humor and relative freedom from dogmatism bring to the authorship discourse.”

“Fresh air” is also the subject of “Mind Thoughts,” and the levity of the presentation reminds us of the importance of remaining grounded in a sense of history as well as proportionality to the present.

Hughes is right about the  prescience of Doc Boas’ scholarship: the popular academic belief that only “scholars” own the posthumous body of the bard (or comprehend its genesis)  is an illusion, one of those “big lies” which is always so necessary for any durable ideology.

The artists, by “every word,” claim him too; his spirit can no more be imprisoned in the ivory tower of the Stratfordian fiction than a soap bubble can be captured by a four-year-old.

About the author

Roger Stritmatter is a native liberal humorist who lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Contrary to rumor, he does not live on North Avenue. He does, however, work on North Avenue. A pacifist by inclination, one of his heroes is John Brown. But he thinks that Fredrick Douglass, another of his heroes, made the right decision. Stritmatter's primary areas of interest include the nature of paradigm shifts, the history of ideas, forensic literary studies, MS studies, renaissance literature, and the history of the Shakespearean question, the latter a field in which he has published extensively.


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