Thursday, April 12, 2012

Prosser asks "Why don't we study holocaust denial?"

Students at Shakespeare authorship seminar at York University April 7, 2012

Richard Joyrich, MD gave an excellent overview of “Shakespeare: The Authorship Question” seminar hosted by Professor Don Rubin at York University on April 7, 2012 in his article, “York University Tackles the Authorship Question”. The seminar was planned and executed by students under Rubin’s direction as the culmination of their participation in his Shakespeare authorship course held during the winter semester.

“Two years ago I suggested we offer a course and got the usual laughter,” Rubin said. “A friend tried to stop me from making a fool of myself. After debate and stubbornness on my part, I offered the course. We cut off the class enrollment at 30 members, and 26 students finished. I thank my students; they were the primary researchers. My goal is to make them all understand just how odd the connections are between the author and Shaksper.”

His success was demonstrated during the culminating panel discussion when keynote speaker, panel member and Shakespeare by Another Name author, Mark Anderson, asked students to report on their experience in Rubin’s authorship course.

Students responded with thoughtful comments:

“When presented with information and documents, it became impossible for me to believe what I believed before I went into this class.”

“You can’t not talk about this – a debate needs to happen.”

“We really need to be critically thinking.”

Michael Wisniowski, a third-year, film screenwriting, and education student from Toronto spoke about the benefits of Rubin’s course and asked, “Why shouldn’t we discuss the authorship question?”

David Prosser on panel at "Shakespeare: The Authorship Question"

David Prosser, director of communications for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Ontario, replied, “Why shouldn’t we discuss holocaust denial?”

Unfamiliar with this crude, but common Stratfordian rhetorical tactic, Rubin’s students seemed to recoil in disgust, and Wisniowski retorted that there is no comparison between the two issues. Wisniowski said, later:
I explained that the two were completely dissimilar, when there is so much overwhelming evidence for that horrific event and nowhere near enough evidence one way or the other for the authorship question. Before I was cut off to responding to that comment -- after getting what I believe was a rousing applause for telling him there's no comparison between the two -- I was going to ask him, despite the ludicrousness of the topic, would he not be interested in at least attending a debate about it? I think Mr. Prosser is a very close-minded individual who has done no research on the topic due to his own close-mindedness, which is very unfortunate.
I don't want to completely bad mouth the guy, because he is entitled to what he believes! I just think that it's a little ridiculous that he's ridiculing the idea of skepticism and reasonable doubt and the yearning for more information. Especially seeing as how I advocated that it very well could have been the Bard from Stratford. I'm just interested in the debate and interested in the information and the arguments that all sides come up with. It's entertaining, informative and, most importantly, gets you thinking critically, which is something not enough people these days do.
Mark Anderson on panel at "Shakespeare: The Authorship Question"

During the closing commentary, Mark Anderson said -- in a very gracious but grave manner -- that he could not allow Prosser’s remark to stand without comment. “We are studying a literary question,” Anderson said. “We are not killing six-million people.”

Professor Rubin said that the April 7, 2012 seminar was being taped and would be published in edited form at a future date. He also intends to write about his Shakespeare authorship course for publication.