My Ilk and I
|Have you ever noticed that
there is no such thing as honest and rational disagreement? Your own
opinions are grounded in reason and truth, of course, but people who hold
different opinions are stupid, dishonest, paranoid, or otherwise irrational.
Their motives are evil, too. (The people who agree with you are generally a
decent, sensible lot. No need to delve into their motives.)
Take me, for example. Having recently published a book on the Shakespeare authorship question, Im discovering how crazy I am and how dark my motives are. As some of my readers may recall, I believe the real author of the Shakespeare works was the wayward
But the orthodox reviewers those who believe that Shakespeare is Shakespeare insist that theres simply no room for honest doubt. So, rather than discussing the evidence on its merits, they feel compelled to explain why I, and others of my ilk, wont admit a truth that is so radiantly clear to them. (Notice that nice people dont have ilks. The moment someone refers to your ilk, you know youre in trouble.)
One academic reviewer calls my views multiculturalist and Marxist (and these terms arent meant as compliments!). He adds that the anti-Stratfordians those who question Shakespeares authorship usually have an ax to grind, adding that English upper-class snobbery fuels the questioning of Shakespeares authorship. I didnt realize I belonged to the English upper class. In the future, Id appreciate it if you knaves out there would address me as my lord or, better, your lordship.
It isnt just me. The defenders of Stratfords son think the anti-Stratfordians in general have a thing about aristocrats. A British professor finds aristocrat-worship an American trait: Over the years more than a dozen Elizabethan aristocrats have been dusted down and presented to the public as the true author of the plays. Americans have been especially fascinated by this bizarre pseudo-mystery. Perhaps because the only two things that the British have got and the Americans have not are Blue Blood and William Shakespeare, it has proved all too tempting to suppose that Shakespeare was an aristocrat in disguise.
Another Stratford partisan surmises that we anti-Stratfordians are self-deluded pseudo intellectuals: I believe that a large number, if not a majority, among our best and brightest secretly or not so secretly imagine themselves to be intellectual Columbuses.... Many of these would-be conquistadors have sought their El Dorado in an ironclad proof that William Shakespeares works were written by someone other than [the Stratford man].
A Texan professor offers another psychological explanation: Part of the anti-Stratfordians appeal is the anti-establishment cachet that goes with belonging to an exclusive group. As such, their purpose is not so much to expose the truth as it is to propagate an unpopular, often irrational, belief, rather like those who believe that behind every political assassination lies a conspiracy or that the Holocaust is a lie. He calls the anti-Stratfordian position a product of paranoia and our rampant culture of conspiracy.
Oh, man! Id better dial 911 and get a psychiatrist here, pronto! Im a self-deluded, paranoid snob, the equivalent of a Holocaust denier, with no real interest in exposing the truth!
I knew I was a sinner, but until I questioned Shakespeares authorship I had no inkling of the true depths of my depravity. That goes for the rest of my ilk too. A bad lot!
Never mind who wrote Shakespeares works. The interesting thing here is that the orthodox reviewers cant make their case with rational, impersonal argument. They feel compelled to adopt a tone of haughty scorn, making irrelevant ad hominem charges against large numbers of people they have never even met. Without these tactics, they seem to have no way to defend their position.
Ive always met the same tactics in political debate. The defenders of an exhausted establishment can be relied on to attack their critics, accusing them en masse of evil motives, rather than to refute their arguments. So when people you disagree with have to smear you, take heart: It probably means youre winning the debate.
|Copyright © 2006 by the
Griffin Internet Syndicate,
a division of Griffin Communications
This column may not be reprinted in print or
Internet publications without express permission
of Griffin Internet Syndicate
Archive Table of Contents
The Shakespeare Library
Return to the SOBRANS home page.
|FGF E-Package columns by Joe Sobran, Sam Francis, Paul Gottfried, and others are available in a special e-mail subscription provided by the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation. Click here for more information.|