The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1751 Monday, 18 September 2000.
Date: Saturday, 16 Sep 2000 14:36:07 -0700
Subject: Re: The Power of Words
Dear Fellow Shakespeare-philes,
I wish to address an issue that recently presented itself on the
listserv to see if anyone else has any comments or had a similar
reaction to mine. As lovers of Shakespeare, we all are sensitive, I am
certain, to the depth of meaning and power of words, especially to the
connotative power they hold.
Last week, I read a posting on the list that included the following
sentence: "I hope it will not provoke further bigoted comments by one
listmember, but it seems worth the risk to inform everyone else."
I was stopped short by the choice of the word 'bigoted' and wondered
from where it came. I have only been on the list for a couple of months,
but I cannot remember seeing anything on it that struck me as an
expression of racial, religious, economic, social, or other bias -- only
the occasional free expression of personal opinion. I, myself, have
freely expressed my opinion on a number of Shakespearean issues -- some
of which are quite probably minority opinions (e.g., my dislike for the
work of Kenneth Brannagh), and I'm sure that I hold other potentially
unpopular opinions (e.g., I don't care for Franco Zefferelli's
Shakespeare films, either). So what! Isn't the purpose of this list the
free exchange of ideas and opinions about the Elizabethan theatre and
literature, no matter how small a minority or large a majority might
share those ideas? Is the writer of this comment complaining about
discourse that he has strong disagreement with, or is he referring to
something of which I am not aware?
If the person who wrote the posting with the above quotation could
explain his word choice, I think it might clarify things for those of
us, like myself, who were troubled by it. If he went a little too far
beyond the bounds of accuracy, I hope he will correct his error.
Hopefully we can keep the discussion lively, even heated, but
open-minded and civil.
Paul E. Doniger
The Gilbert School