Tuesday, September 8, 2009


In reviewing my "daily dose" of Doonesbury, I came across the installment from September 6, 2009. To see the actual comic (I'm not sure if I have the right to show it here in this blog), you can go to www.doonesbury.com/strip/dailydose/index.html?uc_full_date=20090906 or http://images.ucomics.com/comics/db/2009/db090906.gif

In the comic, Mark Slackmeyer (I think that's his name) is interviewing a "conspiratologist" named Page Griffin on his radio show and referring to American gullibility in that "Americans believe in many things that can't be verified."

The "conspiratologist" Page Griffin refers to some conspiracy theories such as truthism (that Bush was behind 9/11), birthism, JFK grassy knollers, and the staged moon landingists.

In the last two frames, Mark asks Page, "Professor, is there any counter to these powerful theorists?" Page answers, "Not really. Mark, only the Reasonists." Mark: "Reasonists?" Page: "They believe in an evidence-based world, something called Rationalism, but it's a tiny group, not so influential."

While many people would put our Oxfordian "movement" and the whole question of the Authorship of Shakespeare's plays into the "conspiracy" camp, I would prefer to think of us as members of the Reasonists. It seems like we (and other authorship groups) like to look at the evidence and see where it leads, rather that simply accept "revealed truth" or appeal to authority (as Sally Jenkins has done in her recent Washington Post article and follow-up discussion, see previous blogs for more details).

I have always said that I don't care if someone comes to the conclusion that the works were written by William of Stratford, as long as that person has actually looked at the evidence and truly decided that the evidence points to him as the author. (I would have a hard time believing that someone could come to this conclusion, but I wouldn't argue with the process).

But to ignore the evidence or pretend that anyone seeking such evidence either is some kind of "traitor" to literature or is "certifiable" (or has "taken a stupid pill") is not something that we can tolerate.

Up with Rationalism!

1 comment:

Linda Theil said...

I think Richard has hit the nail on the head regarding the inadequacy of this “conspiracy theorist” lable given to those interested in the Shakespeare authorship question. Conspiracy theorists cling to their theories regardless of evidence to the contrary – I think Stratfordians fit this category much better than anti-Strats since Stratfordians cling to their theory of the no-nothing bard regardless of mountains of evidence to the contrary.