Some Free Advice for BeMore Stratfordistas

Posted By 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.

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.


9 Responses to “Some Free Advice for BeMore Stratfordistas”

  1. knitwitted says:


    Quick note… Reedy & Co. are currently ragging Doc Waugaman’s S&H research published in N&Q. Apparently, they demand Shakespeare use the exact same meaning of common words as used in the Psalms which equates to Shakespeare being not much of a genius if he must slavishly follow his sources. Doc W brilliantly figured out Shakespeare knew such common words as ‘save’ have multiple meanings and that Shakespeare explored such meanings in his interpretation of the Psalms.

    Otherwise, go figure how mere mortals like Reedy, Gordon and Ledbetter can’t figure how genius works 😛


    • Hello Knitwitted!

      Thank you for your report. It seems the Oxfraudians must require Shakespeare only to use words with the meanings they attach to them and no others. This has been a longstanding project and they are very proud of it. Count on them to keep up the good work. 🙂

  2. knitwitted says:

    An excellent example of how Shakespeare ‘slavishly’ followed his sources:

    We know Brooke’s poem *The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet* (Nov 1562) is a source for *R&J* per Bullough’s *Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare*. However, Shax changed Brooke’s Romeus to Romeo; Brooke’s Petrarchan sonnet to Shakespearean; Brooke’s Juliet age 16 to age 14; Brooke’s first meeting of the lovers a week or two later to the same night; Brooke’s swearing Romeo to Juliet begging Romeo not to swear; etc.

    Also, per Shaheen’s *Biblical References in Shakespeare’s Plays*, Shax “borrowed none of Brooke’s biblical references. Both the biblical references and the many religious images in the play (as the religious imagery of wooing) are Shakespeare’s own.”

    So where’s that ‘slavishly’ the Oxfroids demand?? oopsie. So how on earth can Brooke be a source for Shax and why have scholars such as Bullough and Shaheen made such a huge blunder but yet no one’s ragging them for their boo-boo???

    BTW, what’s up with your eternal focus on what Shapiro, Reedy, etc. do rather than focusing on ADDING to our knowledge of Shax (like, where’s your Bible research book??). I thought your blog is shake-speares-bible; not shake-spit. Certainly mean no offense, but oh well, whatever floats your goat. Take care.

    • Geeze knit, did you wake up in that bad mood today? I’ve spent exactly three minutes this week thinking about Tom Reedy and Mike Leadbetter and the entire gang of the frauds. I also happen to be preparing and teaching four classes on four different subjects. So please don’t place demands on me. I am working on many long term projects, the Bible book being only one of them and not necessarily the one demanding priority at this time. One should always try to lead with whatever work is best suited for the rhetorical moment.

      As for Arthur Brook, I agree that’s an intriguing problem, trying to ascertain exactly his role in all of this. But I do agree with those who think that searching for Oxford’s juvenilia in the published literature of the 1560s and 1560s makes sense, and perhaps this is one of those works.

      • knitwitted says:

        LOL!! No bad mood here… Just dying here for some new ideas… (And, yes, I know, you’re not required to provide any 🙂 As always, keep up the good work… Hoping maybe one day you’ll have exactly two minutes to consider what role the BCP played in Shakespeare’s plays. (See, I am not demanding a full three minutes from you as Reedy, et al do.)

        Also, consider Leadbetter’s criteria that a Tempest Shrovetide MUST occur in England w/ pancakes, etc. rather than perhaps via the Greek Orthodox church in Italy. Gosh!! Weren’t the Tempest characters from Italy??


        • Considered. More Leadbetter. He expects Shakespeare’s imagination to fit within the walnut shell of his own conceptions. But then again, that’s his job!

          He is not answering, or even mentioning, all the evidence for the Shrovetide ambience of the play. He will not be likely to ever be regarded as a person of insight into early modern literary texts and contexts if he cannot even grasp the integrity of our argument. The Tempest is a shrovetide play. That doesn’t mean it has to be performed on Shrovetide, only that it was written with a Shrovetide performance in mind. If he denies this he should explain why the evidence of our book fails to show that it was. He cannot do that, among other reasons because ours is the most detailed and comprehensive study of the Shrovetide ambience of any Shakespeare play, and hence sets the standard for the kind of analysis it makes. Hence, Mikie changes the station.

  3. knitwitted says:

    Here’s another excellent example of how Oxfroids think… Consider Mark Johnson’s spoutage on Amazon:

    “Act 1, Scene 2

    Prospero: Ariel, thy charge [237]
    Exactly is perform’d, but there’s more work.
    What is the time o’ th’ day?

    Ariel: Past the mid season.

    Prospero: At least two glasses. The time ‘twixt six and now
    Must by us both be spent most preciously.

    Ariel: Is there more toil? [242]

    “{It is two hours [two hourglasses] past noon and they have four hours, until six o’clock, to get done all the “more work” which Prospero envisions needs to be done.}

    Act V, Scene 1

    Prospero: Now does my project gather to a head: [216]
    My charms crack not; my spirits obey; and time
    Goes upright with his carriage. How’s the day?

    Ariel: On the sixth hour; at which time, my lord,
    You said our work should cease.

    Prospero: I did say so,
    When first I raised the tempest. [222]

    “{It is now 6:00 PM. Prospero even refers back to the initial discussion about the time and the need to get the additional work done in the next four hours. …)”


    My response:

    That’s nice. But Ariel sings `I hear / The strain of strutting chanticleer: / Cry [within], Cock-a-diddle-dow.’ (Act 1, Scene 2, 386-7) i.e. At the beginning of the next day.

    Ariel’s ‘On the sixt hour, at which time, my lord, / You said our work should cease.’ occurs in Act 5, scene 1 (4-5).

    Before Ariel sings, Caliban announces “I must eat my dinner.”

    Then I added:


    Prime – 1st hour (dawn) = 6 a.m.
    Terce – 3rd hour = 9 am. (mid-morning)
    Sext – 6th hour = 12 p.m. (mid-day)
    None – 9th hour = 3 p.m. (mid-afternoon)

    ‘At least two glasses’ ‘past the mid season’ would be 5 p.m.

    On days of fasting (Lenten season), the one meal per day is not allowed until after sunset (i.e. 6 p.m.) hence Caliban’s “I must eat my dinner.”



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