Posted By Roger Stritmatter on August 14, 2016
Here is a free suggestion for aspiring Oxfraudians who want to follow in the footsteps of great scholars like James Shapiro or Tom Reedy.
Stratford is hiring.
Mike Gordon, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust internet guru and unofficial secretary to Dr. Wells, who in his spare time enjoys posing with a machine gun on his Facebook page, supplies ambitious volunteers with the the Misfit playbook for pretending that they are Mother Theresa on roller blades while “defending Shakespeare” at the same time! Talk about a way to resolve your own personal identity crisis, this is the kind of a job that comes with a sense of mission and community automatically attached to it. You get to do fun things on the internet while defending Shakespeare….then there’s also the money and all the good feelin’s of being a bona fide Misfit.
You too can get a public speaking gig in your hometown about the Shakespeare problem.
You too can get up in front of people and explain how those Oxfordians have “no evidence,” how much they really must hate Shakespeare to be saying the nasty things they are saying, how confident you are that they are going down in the dustbin of history as loonies, and how they are already ruining your evening by showing up but not shutting up.
If that describes your aspirations, you’ve come to the right place for some seasoned advice from someone who has been studying the authorship question, as a topic in intellectual history, since 1991, when Dr. Marc Shell advised me to begin doing so.
Just stand up and say this:
As Terry Eagleton already said in 1991, “we know as much about the historical Shakespeare as we do about the Yeti.” There is no evidence to support any doubt, and even less that he wasn’t the author. His name is on the plays. I want to talk to you about the first folio (even though I know almost nothing about it) and Francis Meres (about whom I know less than nothing). Besides, the authorship question doesn’t really matter anyway, does it? I myself don’t care who wrote the plays. Only loonies care about that. Why did I decide to make this speech? Because I’ve convinced myself that I’m correct and I wanted to share the good news of my revival with my fellow Shakespeareans. Thank you for coming. You may now leave.
Then you can sit down, refuse to answer any further questions, declare victory, and pocket the winnings. Just remember to make sure to record it on your 1099 and send your assistants to mollify the audience members who left because they were smart enough to realize that you just called them idiots while pretending to say nothing of the kind. Logic is in short supply these days, and audiences know even less. You’ll do well, I promise.