Thursday, September 1, 2011

Question 59: How stupid are you? SBT asks Emmerich

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust response to Roland Emmerich's film about the Shakespeare authorship question, Anonymous, debuted today at "60 Minutes with Shakespeare" where 60 questions about the Shakespeare authorship controversy are answered in one minute soundbites by 59 Stratfordians and one by Roland Emmerich. The answers may be viewed as video, or read in manuscript.

Here is Victoria Buckley's denigration of Concordia and Brunel for daring to legitimize inquiry into the authorship question.
Question 53: Degrees are awarded to those doubting Shakespeare’s authorship at Brunel and Concordia universities. What is the intellectual justification for this?

Concordia University’s Shakespeare authorship research centre regards traditional Shakespeare scholarship as  ‘an industry in denial’  and  invites  enthusiastic  amateurs  to,  Horatio-like, assist in the process of ‘reporting the cause aright’ .For $125 a year anyone with an undergraduate degree can become an associate research scholar. $10,000 buys the title Life Scholar.
Brunel’s Master’s programme in Shakespeare Authorship Studies propounds the view it was the desire for a national and global icon which produced the Shakespeare industry, and argues Shakespeare was not one, but many authors. While there is certainly intellectual justification for serious enquiry into the early modern collaborative writing process, both institutions seek to disprove the research of generations of scholars, and are in danger of obfuscating long established critical approaches to the history and  literary  production  of  the  period.  Schoenbaum’s assertion that the Looney Oxfordian theory derives in part from a medium, channelling the disembodied voice of Shakespeare in 1942, neatly demonstrates why it deserves no place in academic Shakespearean curricula.

Emmerich's question "Why don't you think that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare?" is answered in this fashion:
I don't think that William Shakespeare of Stratford, you know, like, wrote these plays because in his will he left not one book. Lots of works by Shakespeare are like, kind of based on other material. Secondly, you know, his father was illiterate, his two daughters were too, very unlikely for a big author of this magnitude, you know, to not, like, teach his children to write and read. 
There's also this fact, you know, in a way, you know, that he retired early and became a grain merchant. And there's one thing which always got me as I'm a very visual person. When you look at his eight signatures they look not the signatures of a learned man or writer, when you, like, compare them with the other signatures.
Standard journalistic practice edits meaningless words from verbal quotes, yet the producers of "60 Minutes with Shakespeare" felt comfortable representing Emmerich in all his unexpurgated glory. You've got to wonder what the trust is so afraid of, that they must stoop to ridicule.

Answers may lie in Andrew Hadfield's reply that paper was scarce as a reason why we have no material in Shakespeare's hand, or in Margaret Drabble's timeworn response to the question: "Could the plays have been written by someone who never left England?"
Shakespeare's geography was patchy. . . . He could have talked to travelers, seen paintings, read accounts, and constructed from them the lively cities we see on stage. 
Yes, he could have, may have, might have; but perhaps Ms. Drabble and others will find better answers in Richard Roe's The Shakespeare Guide to Italy: Retracing the Bard's Unknown Travels when it is released Nov. 11, 2011 by Harper Perennial.

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has achieved the opposite of their intention by adding fuel to the authorship inquiry with their sad and unconvincing collection of tired responses to questions about the Shakespeare authorship.