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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: February ::
Re: New York Times
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0567  Monday, 25 February 2002

[1]     From:   R.A. Cantrell <
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        Date:   Monday, 25 Feb 2002 13:36:58 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0548 Re: New York Times

[2]     From:   Al Magary <
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        Date:   Monday, 25 Feb 2002 16:13:11 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0548 Re: New York Times (getting to be off-topic)

[3]     From:   David Kathman <
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        Date:   Monday, 25 Feb 2002 18:40:06 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0548 Re: New York Times

[4]     From:   Hugh Grady <
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        Date:   Monday, 25 Feb 2002 20:02:41 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 13.0548 Re: New York Times

[5]     From:   Sean Lawrence <
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        Date:   Monday, 25 Feb 2002 22:30:23 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0548 Re: New York Times


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           R.A. Cantrell <
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Date:           Monday, 25 Feb 2002 13:36:58 -0600
Subject: 13.0548 Re: New York Times
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0548 Re: New York Times

> An example of the Times's lack of intellectual honesty can be found in

Every item, article, photograph, advertisement, index, and story on
every page, in every edition, every day. The NYT has made itself a
caricature of a 'newspaper of record.' Its victims love the lash and
will defend their master, if not with their lives, at least to an ever
diminishing point of moderate inconvenience. All may be well.

All the best,
R.A. Cantrell
<
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[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Al Magary <
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Date:           Monday, 25 Feb 2002 16:13:11 -0800
Subject: 13.0548 Re: New York Times (getting to be off-topic)
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0548 Re: New York Times (getting to be off-topic)

Larry Weiss attacks the NYTimes [re editorial Saturday, 2/25, at
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/23/opinion/_23SAT3.html]:

> An example of the Times's lack of intellectual honesty can be found in
> today's  editorial on the death penalty....
> An intellectually honest argument might be made against the death
> penalty.  But the Times does not make one when it scares its readers
> into believing that most people sentenced to death are innocent.

The Times does no such thing.  Everybody who reads more than one article
about the death penalty knows that there may be no area of law where
dotting-the-i's and crossing-the-t's is more important--to the chagrin
of John Q. Public--and that reopening cases (eg, when an appeals court
sends a case back to the trial court) is nearly always a matter of legal
technicality (the realm of "not guilty") rather than innocence suddenly
revealed, Perry Mason-style, in a court brief.

The editorial is only seven paragraphs long and necessarily assumes
acquaintance with many aspects of the death penalty controversy,
including details of the Columbia study.  Rather than "scaring people
into believing that most people sentenced to death are innocent," the
editorial actually uses such careful phrasing as "reduce the risk of
executing innocent people" and "access to DNA testing if that could help
exonerate them." Rather than a general declaration that Death Row is
populated by the innocent, the Times condemns the "perpetuating [of] a
death-penalty system prone to unfairness and mistakes."

I think it is Mr. Weiss who is intellectually dishonest here by not
looking at this editorial in a larger context.

Al Magary

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Kathman <
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Date:           Monday, 25 Feb 2002 18:40:06 -0600
Subject: 13.0548 Re: New York Times
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0548 Re: New York Times

Brandon Toropov wrote,

>Bravo Dave Kathman and Terry Ross!

Thanks.  Actually, the Times truncated our letter, the full text of
which was as follows:

------------------
To the editor:

We were surprised to see the Times devote space to the unsupported
fringe belief that the works of Shakespeare were written not by William
Shakespeare, but by the 17th earl of Oxford.  William Niederkorn's
article was an incredibly shoddy piece of journalism, displaying the
same errors and double standards which are hallmarks of Oxfordian
writings.  Had Mr. Niederkorn consulted our web site
(www.shakespeareauthorship.com), he might have avoided some of the many
factual distortions which litter his article.  Rejecting the ample
evidence for Shakespeare's authorship requires a wholesale abandonment
of the most basic standards of historical evidence, which is why
Oxfordians are not taken seriously by real scholars.  It is bad enough
when well-intentioned but badly misinformed nonspecialists such as
Justice John Paul Stevens are taken in by Oxfordian propaganda, but it
saddens us that the Times would tarnish its reputation by uncritically
publishing such anti-intellectual drivel.

David Kathman
Terry Ross
-------------------

I guess the Times doesn't like printing criticisms of itself.

And I hope Hardy will allow me to point out the following post which the
author of the Times article, William Niederkorn, posted to an Oxfordian
discussion group.  It's apparent that rationality didn't have a chance
against this guy; the question is what a guy like this is doing working
for the New York Times rather than the Weekly World News.

Dave Kathman

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=======================
http://www.shakespearefellowship.org/ubbthreads/showthreaded.php?Cat=&Board=pubdiscuss&Number=1610

W_S_Niederkorn
    (newbie)
    2002/02/14 02:21

    Re: Oxford a suicide?

As there is some interest in how I got the idea that Edward de Vere
might have committed suicide, I will give an account.

The idea came to me after about six months' immersion in the research
for my article for The New York Times. It literally dawned on me at
about 6 o'clock one deep midwinter morning, when I woke up with Hamlet's
"To be or not to be" soliloquy very slowly running through my mind. At
that point in the play, Hamlet just barely talks himself out of suicide,
and it struck me that if the author of such a poetic statement of
internal struggle was ever feeling more melancholy than Hamlet, he might
just "take arms against a sea of troubles,/ And by opposing, end them."

Then I recalled all the noble suicides in Shakespeare's plays: Romeo,
Juliet, Antony, Cleopatra, Brutus, Othello. Gloucester in "King Lear"
makes the attempt.

I checked the accounts of de Vere's life to see if there was any hint of
evidence. There was.

Near the end of her life, de Vere's widow, Elizabeth Trentham, Countess
of Oxford, made a request that is strangely worded: that she be buried
"as near unto the body of my said dear and noble Lord and husband as may
be." Why not just ask to be buried beside him? Perhaps she could not
because his body lay "in ground unsanctified,"  as it is called in
"Hamlet." The priest who administers burial rights to Ophelia, who has
accidentally drowned herself, does so reluctantly: "Her death was
doubtful,/ And but that great command o'ersways the order/ She should in
ground unsanctified have lodged/ Till the last trumpet."

Something else unexplained occurred after Oxford's death on June 24,
1604.  As Joseph Sobran writes in "Alias Shakespeare," that night King
James ordered the arrest of Henry Wriothesley and several of his
followers.  Supposing that Oxford's death was a violent suicide (like
self-stabbing with a dagger or sword, a favorite method in Shakespeare's
plays), it could at first have looked like a murder and the king might
have suspected Wriothesley, to whom Shakespeare wrote in the dedication
to "The Rape of Lucrece," "What I have done is yours; what I have to do
is yours; being part in all I have, devoted yours."

Mr. Sobran says that those arrested were released the next day (a quick
reversal of whatever suspicions the king was entertaining), and that
later, the king gave several estates to Wriothesley.

Oxford was often despondent and melancholy, as J. Thomas Looney and
Charlton Ogburn have shown. The cause of Oxford's death is unrecorded,
other than a marginal note found beside the entry in a church register
about his burial: "The plague," the perfect cause of death to mention to
avoid having the body examined.

"Sleepless Souls: Suicide in Early Modern England" (Clarendon Press,
1990) by Michael MacDonald and Terrence R. Murphy gives the historical
context -- grotesque punishments inflicted on the remains of suicides
under the Tudors and Stuarts and severe penalties exacted against their
heirs. "The suicide of an adult male could reduce his survivors to
pauperism," they write. Whatever the heirs possessed of any value would
be forfeited.

If Oxford killed himself, it is understandable why his family and
associates would have taken whatever steps were necessary, even altering
his portraits and promoting a shadow author, to keep curiosity about him
to a minimum.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hugh Grady <
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Date:           Monday, 25 Feb 2002 20:02:41 -0500
Subject: 13.0548 Re: New York Times
Comment:        RE: SHK 13.0548 Re: New York Times

Why aren't these comments being addressed directly to the Times, which
printed mostly anti-Stratfordian letters in yesterday's edn.

--Hugh Grady

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sean Lawrence <
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Date:           Monday, 25 Feb 2002 22:30:23 -0800
Subject: 13.0548 Re: New York Times
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0548 Re: New York Times

I would be obliged if Brandon Toropov would cite the issue date of the
item he's congratulating David and Terry on.  I'd like to read it, but
don't subscribe.

Cheers,
Se

 

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