"When faced with a problem you do not understand,
do any part of it you do understand; then look at it again."
~(Robert A. Heinlein - "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress")

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Friday, October 28, 2011


(I pronounce it "key-so".  Yes, I made it up:  I'll tell you what it means down below).

This is not a review of the new movie Anonymous (2011), but of its basic premise that William Shakespeare could not possibly have written those plays, because the son of a glove-maker simply didn't have the "education" to do so.  How could he display such knowledge of history, politics, etc.?

That is liberal elitist bullshit at its snottiest: The notion that if you didn't go to the "right" schools, weren't taught by the "right" teachers, in the "correct" prescribed manner (from which no deviation is allowed), how could you possibly be expected to know anything?

Well, if you actually read the plays, you might notice that they are more poetry than prose, and that aside from a few scattered references, don't really say all that much about the inner workings of Danish kingdoms or moneylenders in Venice.

They, in fact, say much more about the inner workings of human beings, of which he probably had a fair amount of knowledge just from observation.

Shakespeare wrote most of his stuff between 1589 and 1613.  My gut feeling is that Will was a guy who loved to read (almost anything) and was blessed by it being easy for him (see my post On Reading... ).  I suspect that he had CISOH (Curiosity, Imagination, Sense Of Humor) in spades and was probably an interesting guy and fun to be around

(As to why CISOH is important for good writing: Well the need for curiosity and imagination should be obvious. A sense of humor keeps you balanced and helps you avoid taking yourself too seriously.  A lack of CISOH can turn you into a liberal. )

Did he have much material with which to indulge his curiosity?  Gutenberg's invention of movable type had made commercial mass printing of books available for more than a century before he began writing his plays; so I would have to say, Yes!

This whole idea of the necessity of a "proper" education to be able to succeed at anything is snobbery of the worst sort, and doesn't allow for people who were largely self-taught at their professions (Mark Twain, Thomas Edison, Tom Clancy, Steve Jobs, just to name a few).

Take Tom Clancy, for example (possible spoilers below).

"The Hunt for Red October" (1984) features an advanced Soviet missile submarine, a "caterpillar" drive almost undetectable by our listening devices, a way in which it is detected, naval tactics between our subs and theirs, and a lot more.

"Patriot Games" (1987) describes Irish terrorism, satellite detection of terrorist camps, anti-terrorist operations.

"The Cardinal of the Kremlin" (1988): Anti-satellite lasers and the Soviet war in Afghanistan.

"The Sum of All Fears" (1991): Recovering a lost Israeli nuke, turning that nuke into an even more powerful one, an abandoned East German nuclear weapons project.

"Debt of Honor" (1994): Japan going nuclear,  war with same,  airliner crashed into U.S. Capitol Building.

Now, how could a man who was an Insurance Broker possibly know all of that stuff?

It's simply unthinkable that he just reads a lot and could have combined CISOH with a boatload of common-sense to be able to come up with those stories.

Obviously, someone like Oliver Stone needs to get to work and direct a movie to expose who really wrote all those books with Clancy's name on the cover.

Doesn't that make as much sense as supposing that it had to be Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe and/or Edward de Vere (17th Earl of Oxford) who wrote all those plays?  After all, Clancy is a hell of a lot more detailed in what he writes than Shakespeare ever was.

What more proof do you need?

Damn!!! Tinfoil makes a lousy hat;  it's not rigid enough to hold its shape very well. :(

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