I was just sitting down to figure out what I wanted to address in this week’s column. “What could I write that would engage readers and fire up letters to the editor?” Looking at my email for possible inspiration, I came across an unsolicited message from something called the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship.
Thinking it somehow might be connected to my former colleague, Andrew Oxford, I opened it and found this come-on: “Stories about the Shakespeare Authorship Question engage readers, and fire up letters to the editor! You will be surprised how passionate your readers will become about this issue!”
Yes, the Shakespeare Authorship Question — later abbreviated as “SAQ,” because, I suppose, the world needs more acronyms — might just do the trick.
“What your literature professor doesn’t want you to know!” was the first talking point. “Some English teachers and college professors are so afraid of the SAQ, they even forbid their students to mention it in their classrooms!”
I took a Shakespearean tragedies class in college — one of my favorite classes, by the way — and I don’t remember my professor forbidding this discussion. But could he have brainwashed us all by constantly telling us that Macbeth and King Lear and Othello and Hamlet were written by Shakespeare that we didn’t even think of raising the taboo SAQ? And how about this puzzling evidence from the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship:
“The works of Shakespeare include some of the strongest female characters in all of English literature, except the man from Stratford never even taught his own daughter how to read.”
How about that, Mr. Smartypants English professor? And what about this important tidbit: “… the name ‘William Shake-Speare’ was a pseudonym used to conceal the true author’s identity.”
Yes, gentle readers, what the free world needs at this moment is another conspiracy theory.
Did you know that before Jeffrey Epstein was murdered, he was reading a book of Shakespearean sonnets in his jail cell?
Sorry. I can’t do this anymore.
The minute I learned about the suicide of the disgusting pedophile Epstein a couple of weeks ago, one of my first thoughts was, “Gentlemen, start your conspiracy theories.” And indeed, my social media feeds began filling up with bold pronouncements:
“Trump had him killed. … obviously,”
“Clinton had him killed. … obviously.”
Actually, a version the latter sentiment was tweeted by President Donald Trump himself. Bizarre, but our commander-in-chief is a well-known fan of conspiracy theories. Birtherism — the theory about President Barack Obama’s “true” origins — helped Trump rise to power.
I’m just disappointed that, after being elected, he never followed through with a serious investigation of Sen. Ted Cruz’s father’s role in the Kennedy assassination.
And what’s the real reason Trump has been so silent on the SAQ?
I hate when people become “true believers” of conspiracy theories. There’s a certain smugness about these believers and their “I know something you don’t know” attitudes. They sometimes say they’ve done research on whatever they’re pushing, though that “research” usually doesn’t go much further than random nutsos on Reddit or 4chan.
Of course, I work for the evil mainstream media and they pay me money to hide the truth on behalf of our shadowy masters.
Ben Radford, an acquaintance of mine in Rio Rancho who is deputy editor of the Skeptical Inquirer, a research fellow at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and the author of several books, recently wrote a piece, sparked by the Epstein conspiracies, for the Center for Inquiry website. There, he said, Epstein’s death became “a Rorschach blot of plausible alleged motives, allowing Democrats and Republicans alike to connect the dots so they point to their favored boogeyman.”
Radford also wrote, “Part of the reason that conspiracy theories are so popular is that we are hard-wired to find them. Our brains, even without the help of memes, books, or websites promoting conspiracy theories, have a tendency to generate conspiracy-type thinking. The human brain sometimes has a difficult time understanding why things happen, and two unrelated events can appear to be connected in some way.”
At least that website claims Radford wrote that article. How do we really know? Nobody saw him write it. Maybe it’s time to raise the RAQ.