The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0846. Wednesday, 13 August 1997.
Date: Tuesday, 12 Aug 1997 09:42:07 -0700
Subject: 8.0838 Re: New Globe: The Yank Invasion
Comment: RE: SHK 8.0838 Re: New Globe: The Yank Invasion
I greatly enjoyed Gabriel Egan's response to Andy White's angry response
to much of the Globe debate. He's right, for instance, to point out
that anti-American racism still holds sway in a number of situations
where all other racisms are not allowed.
I think, Gabriel, that you mistake Andy's use of the word 'Yank', which
is surely intended ironically, as a sort of parody of the discourse of
anti-Americanism informing the recent thread. It was the British, after
all, who first pulled the word "yank" out of its geographic and cultural
specificity during the second world war.
As for the tension between Wanamaker's "early-left wing thinking and his
project to construct a replica of the Globe," I think the tension is
more or less in the eyes of the beholder. It is only un-left to wish to
reconstruct the Globe if art as such is viewed as inherently right.
This is not the case to most 1950s and 1960s liberals, who protested
their ability to produce art for art's sake, whatever sort of
'anti-American' interpretation might be projected unto it by
MacCarthyism. It is also, one might add, not the case to the Czech
dissidents, at least not if the Vaclav Havel biography is to be
I think that this general alignment (search for transcendence on the
right, revelation of historical specificity on the left) is itself
historically specific to the British, late-twentieth century situation.
Historicism and transcendence function in tandem in Heidegger or Sartre,
Moreover, the ruthless effort to appropriate national heritage in
monetary terms also seems specifically British. While many countries
have national poets, there isn't a Dante industry in the same way that
there's a Shakespeare industry; similarly, while many countries are
monarchies, nobody would seriously think of the King of Spain or Norway
as an important source of tourism revenue, or of their yachts as
floating emporiums of domestic produce.
The upshot of such commercialization is to rob heritage and art of its
ability to stand outside our economic being-in-the-world, and thereby to
render it domesticated and safe. It ceases to be a source of retentions
which serve as possibilities that we can project into the future, and so
it ceases to provide us with possibilities for change and subversion.
This is true of the Shakespeare industry whether one sees it as
transcendent and therefore harmless, or as culturally specific and
therefore fully imbricated within our customary ways of