The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1712  Tuesday, 2 September 2003

From:           Clifford Stetner <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 1 Sep 2003 09:45:33 -0400
Subject:        Don't Blame Shakespeare

>Surely the point about this digression from valuable scholarly
>discussion is that Shakespeare was an artist - a poet and a playwright
>(and a successful and full blooded capitalist) while Marx was an ailing
>German political theorist who indirectly caused the death of millions
>(not to be crude let's name names - Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Kim Jong etc not
>to mention various other not so illustrious imitators and pseudo
>philosophical French partisans of the late twentieth century).
>Give me poetry and a nice house in Stratford any day.
>Marcus Rabelanyday Dahl

As more serious scholars originally were discussing Shakespeare's
influence on Marx, doesn't this logic make Shakespeare "indirectly
responsible?" Jesus gets the blame for the Crusades, the Inquisition,
and the slaughter of the Native Americans? Einstein dropped nuclear
bombs on Japanese cities?

Since capitalism, like communism is a product of historical dialectics
and not the invention of Adam Smith, I don't know whom (perhaps our bard
again?) to blame for the countless dead in Iraq? Afghanistan?
Yugoslavia? Colombia?  Nicaragua? El Salvador? Indonesia? Vietnam?
Korea? WWII? WWI? The Spanish American War? The Civil War? The War of
1812? The American Revolution? The French Revolution? The colonization
of the southern hemisphere? I suppose you might lay the victims of the
"Labour" party's poetic license indirectly at Marx's feet (or perhaps
our bard again who taught most British MP's how to sex up a text) but if
you read your poetry loud enough (and turn up your air conditioning, as
the summers in England are warmer than they were wont) you probably
won't see, hear, or smell them from Stratford. Of course, you won't see
the butterflies, or hear the songbirds, or smell the flowers that
Shakespeare did, as Isaac Newton is driving them rapidly to extinction,
but no matter, there are plenty of poems about them.

Clifford Stetner

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