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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: April ::
Public Insults
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0747  Wednesday, 20 April 2005

From:           Larry Weiss <
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 >
Date:           Wednesday, 20 Apr 2005 02:24:14 -0400
Subject: 16.0738 Public Insults
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0738 Public Insults

 >We are dealing with
 >people belonging to the impervious establishment who defer any one from
 >challenging their position and attitudes. To attempt this is not easy
 >but an ear is given by Hardy Cook. However it becomes deafened by a side
 >show of raucous hilarity which just means rejection out of hand.

To the extent I understand this, it seems to be a plea for acceptance of
what I call the "fallacy of fairness" which postulates that any
harebrained assertion is entitled to a respectful hearing if someone
believes it fervently enough.  The most prominent example I can think of
runs like this:  There are a number of people, who call themselves
"scientists" and therefore are regarded as a elite class, who believe
that the universe was formed about 14 billion years ago and life on
earth gradually evolved into its present form from self-replicating
amino acids which appeared in the primeval soup about two billion years
ago.  Other people (perhaps even a greater number) believe that the
universe and everything in it was created in their present form some
6000 years ago by the act of will of an insubstantial great spirit.
Therefore, the schools should be required to teach both conflicting
viewpoints, privileging neither over the other.  That would be "fair" in
some sense.  But one theory is supported by a mountain of confirmed
evidence and reliably measurable phenomena while the other is found only
in a book of myths and supported by no tangible evidence.  It is
reasonable, therefore, to reject out of hand the notion that the
"creationist" view is scientific.

More to the point that Ms. Amit seems to address:  We know a number of
irrefutable facts about William Shakespeare, among them being:  His
father was a respected businessman and burgher who served in high office
in his town.  His mother was a descendent of landed gentry.  Shakespeare
himself was awarded an escutcheon and the right (which he exercised) to
call himself a gentleman.  At the time he lived English law compelled
every subject to attend the established church a minimum number of times
a year, and their is no record that WS was ever cited for failure to do
so.  Shakespeare's writings are replete with familiarity with Christian
doctrine and New Testament scripture.  One example is Bottom's
paraphrase of I Corinthians 2,9.   In the face of this, and other facts,
it is asserted that WS was an observant Jew having a detailed knowledge
to Talmudic texts, at a time when it was unlawful for a Jew even to be
present in the realm.  The "evidence" for this is: (1) Some of
Shakespeare's sonnets employ the letters i (or j), h and v (or w or u)
scattered through the poems; (2) some of the names of characters in the
plays have syllables which are similar to syllables in Hebrew words; and
(3) Shakespeare expressed some notions which parallel notions in the Old
Testament.   Are we not entitled to laugh this out of court?

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