The Wall Street Journal has caved in to the inevitable traditionalist reaction to its front page report last Saturday, April 18 about the finding by Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens for Edward de Vere as the name behind the pen-name, Shakespeare. All five of the five letters to the editor printed today (Sat./Sun., April 25 -26, 2009) attack the authorship issue and authorship doubters in general, and the Journal and Justice Stevens in particular. The Journal printed none of the supportive letters it received.
The letters which it did print are a remarkable lot, brilliant in their own conceit but in fact blissfully ignorant and uninformed, among the very best examples of the know-nothing mentality which prefers ". . . that the media wouldn't give print space to Oxfordian elitists." They rail against “. . . treating this nonsense seriously.” They see themselves ". . . like Shakespeare,. . . primarily self-educated and masters of intellectual material." They congratulate themselves that they have “. . . probed and delved with the solitary power of independent minds and found the elitists’ positions wanting and negative.”
All of this demonstrates that they haven’t a clue about the true genius who was Shakespeare or about the new and greater understanding they might have if they only cared to learn about the author they profess to love.
So. although the Journal has taken one step backwards, we must still congratulate that publication for the two steps forward which it took last Saturday. We should also assure the Journal that in the dog-eat-dog world of Shakespeare authorship, it is OK to tell the world that an informed readership appreciates what you have done.
Thomas Hunter, Ph.D.
Chairperson, Oberon Shakespeare Study Group