“3009 People Like This!”

Posted By on April 1, 2011

A few days ago I recommended this to readers, without saying much about it, since in some ways it is too good to comment on.

The January 2011 Brainchild of Texas Oxfordian Ben August,   the Edward de Vere-Shakespeare Facebook page today leaped over the 3000 “likes” mark and currently stands at 3009 and counting. That’s an average of a thousand “likes” a month.

This is a momentous event not merely in itself, but also an occasion for some historical review.

During the years 2003-2010, the most active authorship discussion forum on the internet was the Shakespeare Fellowship discussion boards.  The boards are less active today, mainly I think because of the rise of blogging and newer sites such as the de Vere-Shakespeare Facebook site, or even the Amazon authorship discussion forums, which have been very active over the past two years.

Still, the site archives over 8,000 posts and  remains an invaluable archive of authorship related exchanges including many entertaining and sometimes amusing slugfests as well as a treasure trove of fabulous information worth mining in the future.

An intriguing example is some posts made by “Pistol” — Aka Tom Reedy — around December 2009-January 2010. Among Mr. Reedy’s provocative claims was this one, boldly predicting the collapse of the Oxfordian argument and the coming precedence of the Marlovians:

My opinion is that Oxfordism is on its way down. The latest brouhaha with Peter Farey, the shuttered members-only Oxfordian web sites and the constant calls for purging of the heretics by certain members on this site illustrate that it thrives best in a closed environment without too much questioning. Review the history of the Baconians and you will see that they dropped out of sight just as they thought they were on the verge of taking over the literary world, the way Oxfordians now believe. I suspect Marlowe will be the next leader in the authorship sweepstakes, because it’s the youngest and also because Marlowe was a real playwright.

To which another poster replied: “Fascinating, Tom. Shall we revisit your prediction in two years?”

Well, its only been sixteen months since that exchange, but we can already make an assessment of how accurate the prediction was. How well has it stood the test of time? Well, consistent with Reedy’s forecast, there is a Marlowe Shakespeare Facebook page.

How many people, as of this writing, “like” that page.


Now, I’m math-challenged, but it seems to me that if you divide 70/3009, you can get a rough estimation of how  influential the Marlovian case on which Tom Reedy placed his bet in December 2010 is in April 2011 when compared to the Oxford case.  0.0232.

Perhaps a more intuitive  way of saying this is that for every one person who “liked” the Marlowe page, 42 “liked” the de Vere page.

Uhu. I wonder what’s going to happen in September.

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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