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Home :: Archive :: 2010 :: November ::
Typo in My Own Anonymous Post
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 21.0423  Wednesday, 3 November 2010

From:         Hardy M. Cook <
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Date:         Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Subject:      Typo in My Own Anonymous Post

Sorry, folks. I just re-read my own post only to discover a SIGNIFICANT 
typo. My post should have read as follows.

Dear Tom and Tony:

I am afraid that I did not express myself as clearly as I had wished.

My entire point was that scholarly evidence IS scholarly evidence. THE 
reason that I cannot accept the anti-Strats is that they do not USE 
scholarly evidence. Were they able to and were that evidence to prove 
their case by standards of generally accepted scholarly evidence, then I 
would have to accept. Would I not? The problem is that this evidence 
does not exist because the truth is that William Shakespeare of 
Stratford-upon-Avon DID INDEED write the works attributed to him.

What I am concerned with is establishing a procedure by which academics 
and scholars can explain to the GENERAL PUBLIC how the Oxfordians, for 
example, distort evidence, use what they considered evidence that would 
not stand scholarly scrutiny, and outright lie or simply take their own 
fantasies for reality. 

How often are you each asked by non-academics when they learn that you 
teach or otherwise study Shakespeare something to the effect of "I have 
heard that Shakespeare really did NOT write the plays himself. What do 
you think?" Well, this sort of encounter happens to me a lot -- In fact, 
at lot more than I am even comfortable with. I usually respond something 
along the lines of "There is absolutely nothing to that."

When the film Anonymous is released the number of people who will be 
asking did he really do it (probably with a wink and a smile) will be 
increased a thousand fold. It doesn't even matter that the Oxfordians 
are upset about this film too -- that the screenplay is based on the 
work of someone so extreme that even orthodox Oxfordians don't want to 
have anything to do with his theories. Nevertheless, I am convinced that 
with the release of this film my dismissal will not even be considered.

When I first started teaching film in the early 1970s, I went to a 
screening of Penn's "Bonnie and Clyde" at a first run theater on North 
Avenue in downtown Baltimore. At the conclusion of the film, after 
witnessing the orchestrated, slow motion deaths of the Warren Beatty and 
Faye Dunaway characters, a young African-American woman, probably in her 
late teens or early twenties, got up from her seat in front of me, began 
waving her fits at the screen, and yelled "AND THEY CALL THAT JUSTICE." 
As I thought about what I had witnessed, it was obvious to me 

1. that this young woman had, on a deep level, believed that she had 
just seen something which had reproduced the HISTORICAL REALITY of the 
deaths of Bonnie and Clyde, 
2. that she had accepted what she saw on the screen to BE reality, 
3. that she was talking as if what she had seen in the fictionalized, 
cinematic version of a couple of ugly and trashy bank robbers was truth 
itself, and 
4. that she felt on a gut level that Bonnie and Clyde were beautiful and 
were ambushed and mercilessly slaughtered in a slow motion volley of 
machine gun fire which had been recreated on the cinema screen. 

I know the power of cinema and I know that once Anonymous is released 
that academic Shakespearean will not be able to simply dismiss the 
claims of disbelievers. I want to be prepared.

Hardy

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