Roland Emmerich’s latest crappy movie to promote Shakespeare denial

This has the distinguished honor of being my very first post about the moderately popular conspiracy theory invented by the certifiably insane that claims that William Shakespeare did not author his plays but rather they were penned by some dude named Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford. Of course the complete lack of evidence for these claims never stopped anyone from believing in them.

But now the filmmaker responsible for the slavery-denial film The Patriot (starring the Jew-hating Mel Gibson that also revised history to depict the British as pure evil), the scientifically impaired The Day After Tomorrow,  and the hysteria-promoting 2012 is responsible for a new project called Anonymous, that allegedly promotes this long-debunked myth that Shakespeare didn’t really write his plays.

But I guess Roland Emmerich has one thing going for him. He makes Michael Bay not look so bad and Oliver Stone slightly less crazy.

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51 Responses to Roland Emmerich’s latest crappy movie to promote Shakespeare denial

  1. Michael Dunn says:

    Most people who haven’t actually researched the question think as you do. However, authorship disguise was common in Shakespeare’s day, and he is the only writer of the time who left absolutely no personal paper trail as a poet or playwright. We’ve got 70 documents on the guy – letters, deeds, wills, christening, marriage, purchases, etc. – none of it has anything to do with poetry, playwriting or publishing. All the other writers of the time left paper trails that writers leave – records of being paid to write, letters talking about their writing, notice at death as a writer, record of education, etc. Except the most famous and successful of them all – and all the indications from the plays point to somebody else as the writer. It’s all very reasonable and not the least bit insane. That’s why three current U.S. Supreme Court justices, several of Britain’s most prominent Shakespearean actors, and hundreds of other highly educated and quite sensiblel people think that Shakespeare was a paid stand-in for an aristocrat who wanted to hide his hand for political reasons (it’s documented that aristocrats did this in thosee years). If you want to learn more, try http://www.shakespearefellowship.org.

    M Dunn

    • mahdij says:

      “Most people who haven’t actually researched the question think as you do.”

      Most people who have actually researched the question think as he does as well.

      “However, authorship disguise was common in Shakespeare’s day,”

      And most of those disguises were hidden behind obvious pseudonyms such as Cuthbert Curry-knave or Martin Marprelate.

      “and he is the only writer of the time who left absolutely no personal paper trail as a poet or playwright.”

      What did Marlowe [Marley, Marlin, Marlo] leave?

      “We’ve got 70 documents on the guy – letters, deeds, wills, christening, marriage, purchases, etc. – none of it has anything to do with poetry, playwriting or publishing.”

      Twaddle. There is a trail of evidence which ties William Shakespeare of Stratford to the plays and to the acting company that performed the plays and to the theatre where the plays were performed.

      “All the other writers of the time left paper trails that writers leave – records of being paid to write, letters talking about their writing, notice at death as a writer, record of education, etc.”

      This isn’t even true according to Diana Price. Some writers left some records in these categories, but not all of them.

      “Except the most famous and successful of them all – and all the indications from the plays point to somebody else as the writer.”

      Your conclusion is not factual.

      “It’s all very reasonable and not the least bit insane. That’s why three current U.S. Supreme Court justices, several of Britain’s most prominent Shakespearean actors, and hundreds of other highly educated and quite sensiblel [sic] people think that Shakespeare was a paid stand-in for an aristocrat who wanted to hide his hand for political reasons (it’s documented that aristocrats did this in thosee years).”

      Of course, there is no evidence that Oxford paid Shakespeare to be his front, think what you will. You should admit that you are engaging in speculation.

      If you want to learn more, try http://shakespeareauthorship.com/

      • BG says:

        First of all you said twaddle. LOL. Secondly as a seeker of the truth what is your “trail of evidence?”

  2. mjr256 says:

    “Most people who haven’t actually researched the question think as you do.”

    You mean just about every historian and literary scholar.

    “However, authorship disguise was common in Shakespeare’s day, and he is the only writer of the time who left absolutely no personal paper trail as a poet or playwright. ”

    So you’re appealing to lack of evidence? Seriously? Back then women also often would pose as men to get their writing published. I guess by your logic we should conclude that Shakespeare’s writing was written by a woman.

    “We’ve got 70 documents on the guy – letters, deeds, wills, christening, marriage, purchases, etc. – none of it has anything to do with poetry, playwriting or publishing.”

    Nor does any of it cast doubt on the fact that he wrote the work attributed to him.

    “ll the other writers of the time left paper trails that writers leave – records of being paid to write, letters talking about their writing, notice at death as a writer, record of education, etc.”

    All the other writers? You mean every last one who wrote at that time? Every one? We’ve got their records? Really? How do you know this? And if we didn’t have records of a particular writer, would it not look exactly the same as it would if we did? How would we know we were missing records of a writer if the records of that writer’s existence or work is the only means we have of determining their existence four centuries later?

    “Except the most famous and successful of them all – and all the indications from the plays point to somebody else as the writer.”

    Such as? You’re not going to trot out the old myth that Shakespeare couldn’t possibly have met a Jew are you?

    “It’s all very reasonable and not the least bit insane.”

    If so, you’ve yet to present me with a compelling argument of this.

    “hat’s why three current U.S. Supreme Court justices, several of Britain’s most prominent Shakespearean actors, and hundreds of other highly educated and quite sensiblel people think that Shakespeare was a paid stand-in for an aristocrat who wanted to hide his hand for political reasons (it’s documented that aristocrats did this in thosee years).”

    Yeah, and hundreds of “scientists” reject Evolution, climate change, Germ Theory, and that smoking causes cancer. You’re combining an ad populum fallacy with an argument from authority. Fortunately though, the truth is the truth regardless of how many people believe it. Whether or not you can list a tiny fraction of alleged academics who believe in an “alternative view” is historically and scientifically irrelevant. Only evidence matters. But incidentally, for every one alleged scholar who believes this, hundreds more recognize it for the nonsense that it is and can back up their position with substantive evidence, including far more details about Shakespeare’s life than you’d have people believe.

  3. Anka Z says:

    I refuse to debate anyone who has expended absolutely no effort in researching the enormous amount of scholarship pertaining to the very legitimate Authorship Question. Wise up. Your ignorance is showing.

    • mjr256 says:

      And I refuse to debate anyone who simply assumes those who disagree with them haven’t done any research on the subject. Again, it’s not my opinion but the conclusion of the concensus of literature scholarship that you’re contending with. If you have a problem with their conclusions, take it up with them. You convince the experts, you convince me.

      • Anka Z says:

        Coincidentally, there is a unique subset of the Authorship Question that deals with the myth of “consensus.” I won’t assume that you’ve read it….

      • deVereGuy says:

        Wow, you can’t think for yourself?

      • It was once “consensus” that the world was flat. It was once “consensus” that all planets revolved around the earth. It was once “consensus” that women “belonged in the home.” The need to cite “consensus” exhibits your dearth of individual reasoning and incapability of forming your OWN informed opinion. This issue HAS been taken up with many of whom HAVE listened to logic. And IF you knew anything about this “dude” named Edward de Vere — well you would know that! This is the trouble with the internet: we can’t “Fire” people who have no talent, no skill and no brains!

      • mjr256 says:

        How you got from respecting proper scholarship and appropriately recognizing that people who have studied an issue for decades are in a better position to judge the merits of claims about said issue to I can’t think for myself is truly baffling.

      • mjr256 says:

        Ah, yes. It wouldn’t be a truly crank claim if there wasn’t someone pulling old Galileo/Flat World Gambit. It’s a classic.

        No, it actually was NEVER consensus that the world was flat. Academics pretty much always recognized the world as round, going back at least to the ancient Greeks. But let’s look at the Galileo Gambit, which at least actually was a paradigm shift in thinking. It wasn’t the scientific community who rejected Galileo’s findings despite him meeting his burden of proof and the public who were the early adopters but the other way around. Those most experienced in studying the night sky saw the evidence and embraced the undeniable conclusions of that evidence. The key word here was “evidence.” The evidence for the Copernician model of the cosmos was there and was indeed compelling to the consensus of experts.

        As for your women “belonged in the home” example, this only illustrates that you don’t really understand how the word consensus is being used here. A consensus of experts doesn’t mean just lots of people believe something. When scholars refer to a consensus of experts, they’re talking about far more nuanced than that. For a broader explanation of what expert consensus is and why it’s a valuable tool, see this article here: http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/scientific-consensus-climate-change-and-vaccines/

      • Anka Z says:

        “…you don’t really understand how the word consensus is being used here.” Perhaps you can also give us the definition of “is.”

      • mjr256 says:

        You’d only find an excuse to reject it out of hand, Anka.

  4. Linda Theil says:

    There are only two pieces of “evidence” for Stratford: one is the monument that has been altered to depict a writer and the other is the “sweet swan of Avon” comment that is ambiguous. Other than those thin links, there is nothing concrete to indicate the Stratford man wrote the works published under the pseudonym William Shakespeare. Most Stratfordian biographers agree the evidence is thin and fill their books with may have, might have, could have. Why not investigate the Shakespeare authorship issue? It seems to me that Stratfordians are more like those who reject evolution, climate change, and germ theory in their refusal to consider researching the Shakespeare authorship.

    • mjr256 says:

      That is standard academic speak; it does not remotely suggest they lack confidence in their position. Scientists use the same measured language; that doesn’t mean they’re not confident that gravity exists. It’s rather when they don’t use such language that raises red flags.

      And if most scholars aren’t confident in the prevailing view, as you claim, then why are they still unambiguously pushing what you claim is the weaker position? They never seem to have had much trouble in the past overturning previously held ideas. Hell, if a literary scholar could make a strong enough case for the differing view, it’d make their career as well as more than a few headlines.

      The fact is, any significant historical event almost always comes with its share of denialists who inevitably use the same disingenuous tactics to persuade the lay public when they fail to persuade the experts. Creationists, 9/11 deniers, and vaccine deniers all have their infamous lists of alleged experts who support their fringe positions that ultimately amount to but a tiny fraction of one percent of the overall body of experts. And they all say the same thing: we’re just asking questions and just asking to open up a new investigation, blah, blah, blah. But if the ideas had any real merit, they’d win out among those most knowledgeable of the subject matter, those most qualified, on their own merits.

      • Linda Theil says:

        I admire your willingness to contend this issue; but I find your position paradoxical. You seem to be saying that no one should research the topic of Shakespeare authorship because if research had any value it would already have won the point. That doesn’t seem logical to me. You also replied to my point about the oddly-phrased biographies of Shakespeare by saying that the language is the result of “academic speak”, as if all biographers wrote in this curiously non-commital form. That is not accurate; Shakespeare’s biographies are unique in this aspect, and that uniqueness is solely the product of the fact that there is no hard data to report. I also think that you are incorrect to compare anti-Stratfordians to creationists. The data supporting the theory of evolution is monumental, widely supported throughout every branch of science, and accurately predicts results of continued research. The Stratfordian authorship position in no way compares to the position of evolution in the body of human knowledge. I really don’t understand how you can imagine that the paucity of data supporting Stratfordianism in any way compares to the massive amount of data that supports the theory of evolution. To keep repeating that anti-Stratfordians are similar to creationists is an error in understanding. Your language is so rough — referring to your correspondents as “coming out of the woodwork” as if they were cockroaches — that it is clear you feel justified in ridiculing people who support Shakespeare authorship research. But name-calling and bullying are sure signs of a week position.

      • mjr256 says:

        No, that’s not at all what I said. I said an layperson is not obligated to devote copious amounts of their time reading any one particular author or work before forming an informed opinion on the subject if the arguments presented by the author or work are already public knowledge. For instance, one doesn’t have to read The Communist Manifesto before forming an intelligent opinion about communism or have to read Michael Behe to refute creationism. I’m also saying that conflating reasonable amount of trust in experts in the relevant fields with blind obedience to authority is absurd and fundamentally anti-intellectual. I’m further saying that if one is passionate about the issue, they SHOULD study it…objectively while looking at the arguments on both sides. If one side makes an argument, research the counterargument. Then go back and read the counter to that. And so on and so forth until you get to the point where it becomes clear which side is most likely to be correct.

        And as I’ve said before, our knowledge of Shakespeare is larger than Oxfordians would have people believe. But just because there are gaps in our knowledge, that in and of itself is not positive evidence for any alternative claim.

        Now I’ll grant you that the amount of evidence for the currently held position on Shakespeare isn’t as great as, say, the body of evidence supporting Evolution. My point is not that the amount of evidence is equivalent but that in both examples, we’re dealing with a fringe ideological group that is committed no matter what to a certain alternative hypothesis to that held by those most qualified in the relevant field who use the same logical fallacies to justify their position.

        And yes, I do indeed feel justified in ridiculing people who reject the well established fact that Shakespeare from Stratford wrote Shakespeare’s plays, just like I feel justified in ridiculing the Winklevoss Twins for claiming they invented Facebook when they most certainly did not.

    • mahdij says:

      The claim that there are only two pieces of evidence that support the attribution of the works to William Shakespeare of Stratford [the monument and the Jonson First Folio poem] is quite simply false. If you wish to argue for your candidate you shouyld at least be honest about the evidence which tends to prove the Stratfordian claim [such as title pages that refer to Master William Shakespeare, Gent., Jonson’s conversations with Drummond, Jonson’s passage on Shakespeare in *Timber*, the statements of the Davenant brothers, the statements of Willaim Camden, government and other documents that tie WS of Stratford to the theatre and acting company that performed the plays, etc.]. Finally, your conjectures about the monument and Jonson’s poem do not rise to the level of fact…they are merely speculations, but then that is all that you have. While the Stratfordian case rests on actual, historic documents [physical evidence], the entirety of the Oxfordian case rests on inference.

      • Linda Theil says:

        Most of the references you name only refer to Shakespeare, not a man from Stratford. If you are willing to consider that the name Shakespeare is a pseudonym, the references do not support a Stratford candidate. It is not speculation that the monument was changed. Maybe the Stratford guy became an actor, but the data is slim. Evidence that the Stratford guy ever wrote a word is non-existant. The Stratfordian case is pure speculation. If you are happy with the information you clearly accept, great; but there is little data to support the Stratfordian theory.

      • mjr256 says:

        Perfectly willing to consider the possibility of the name Shakespeare being a pseudonym but no one I’ve seen has yet to present a compelling reason why accept that unfounded assertion. If you’re going to introduce a claim that goes against the conventional thinking among relevant scholars on a particular subject, you’re going to have to present actual positive evidence for your assertion. Recognition that a particular concept is possible is not positive evidence that it is in any way true. It’s also possible Shakespeare was an alien from another planet; it’s just not very likely.

        “Maybe the Stratford guy became an actor, but the data is slim.”
        Far less slim than what you’re proposing. That’s for damned sure.

        “Evidence that the Stratford guy ever wrote a word is non-existant.”
        As stated above, that’s total bullshit. Either you’ve never bothered to look at the evidence or you are lying. Neither paints your position in a positive light.

  5. BG says:

    I do not mean to be rude but I challenge you to at the very least to read Dr. Ogburn’s book, Hank Whittemore’s book Monument, Mark Anderson’s book and Roger Stritmater’s book on de Vere’s Geneva Bible. THEN come back to the discussion.

    Unlike yourself most of us who believe that deVere is the author of the Shake-speare canon we have read the “orthodox” scholarship books. Most of us started out as Stratfordians because thats what we were taught in school.

    It is not ALL history and English professors who believe the Stratford myth. More and more learned academics are accepting that William of Stratford was barely literate let alone capable of writing the works ascribed to him.

    Truly you are not one to be converted from your religious stance and I’m not willing to expend the energy to put you on the path to the truth. But even Dr. Shapiro who is the staunchest of staunch Stratfordians has read works by scholars who do not agree with him. I suggest you do the same. And FYI,
    I own and have read Shapiro’s book. I own and have read Schoenbaum’s book and the same goes for Greenblatt’s Will of the World and Peter Ackyrod’s book. If I can read their work and am firmly in the Oxfordian column I challenge you as a clinical thinker to do the same.

    • mjr256 says:

      I’ve already heard the prominent arguments and the counterarguments. If everyone was obligated to read every book offering an “alternative” theory about widely accepted facts, nobody would have time to do anything else. That’s why we delegate most of that responsibility to expert scholars and let them do most of the heavy lifting. For instance, if I had to read every creationist book to maintain my acceptance of evolution, I’d be reading for all eternity. Once the arguments are out there and have been publicly addressed, I don’t feel obligated to read every book making the same points.

      And as I said to a oommenter above, I don’t know who this “most of us” is but it certainly is not the consensus among literary scholars. And simply referring to it as “orthodox” with scare quotes around it does not do anything to discredit that consensus. Nor does calling it a “myth.” Nor suggesting my position is just a religion I refuse to be converted from. I have no trouble admitting when I’m wrong. I was wrong before and I’ll be wrong again. And if sufficient evidence that’s vetted by the experts is presented and it survives the peer review of those experts, I’ll happily change my mind. That simple. But to assert that most of the experts already don’t believe what is clearly the prevailing view on the subject is absurd.

      • Anka Z says:

        So in other words, you abdicate all responsibility in believing what you believe. That’s fine. Whatever. Well, I have to go wash my hair now…

      • mjr256 says:

        Nope. Didn’t say that. I said, “hat’s why we delegate most of that responsibility to expert scholars and let them do most of the heavy lifting.” Notice the use of the word “MOST,” which I used twice for emphasis.

        “Deferring to the scientific consensus on a given topic is not the same thing as making an argument from authority – a logical fallacy to be avoided. The argument from authority essentially follows the pattern of concluding that a claim is true because it is being made by a person of some authority (scientific or otherwise). Most of us spend our childhood committing this logical fallacy – the right answer is whatever an adult says it is, or the teacher, or whatever the news reports “scientists” are saying.

        “As we mature and grow in personal knowledge we eventually cross a threshold where we feel confident relying on our own judgment, even to the point of rejecting authority. This seems to be instinctive for teenagers, and of course the rejection of authority simply because it is authority is an overcompensation. Ideally, as adults, we reach an equilibrium where we listen to authority, but understand its limits, and do not use authority as a replacement for independent thought.

        “As skeptics we have collectively tried to develop a nuanced and sophisticated approach to scientific authority, and many excellent articles have been written on this topic. Since we advocate rigorous and robust scientific methodology as the best way of understanding nature, we trust this process to some degree. We understand there can be fraud or sloppy studies, but generally if the research of others is all pointing toward one answer, we trust that research and its conclusions.”
        http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/scientific-consensus-climate-change-and-vaccines/

  6. BG says:

    PS. I apologize Dr. Stritmatter for spelling your name incorrectly.

  7. psi says:

    “I’ve already heard the prominent arguments and the counterarguments.”

    I’ve frequently heard this claim. You have not demonstrated in any of your posts that it is more than an empty boast. Give us one example of an argument from, say, Mark Anderson, with which you are familiar enough to rationally disagree. So far all you’ve done is flung a lot of mud.

    “That’s why we delegate most of that responsibility to expert scholars and let them do most of the heavy lifting.”

    I’m sorry, but do you really fail to comprehend the contradiction in these two statements? Which is it — either you’ve decided to “delegate” your own authority to someone else, or you’ve “already heard” the prominent arguments. Make up your mind.

    “And as I said to a oommenter above, I don’t know who this “most of us” is but it certainly is not the consensus among literary scholars. And simply referring to it as “orthodox” with scare quotes around it does not do anything to discredit that consensus.”

    You obviously do not understand the correct use of the term “consensus.” It refers to unanimity. There is no unanimity among Shakespearean scholars regarding the questions raised by your post. There is a *majority,* and a significant one, who thinks as you do because they have never been challenged to think about these matters any more than you have. This is not the same thing as a consensus. A significant number of highly qualified scholars either doubt the traditional attribution or even understand the cogency of the case for Oxford’s authorship. Therefore, stating that a “consensus” to the contrary exists is merely ignorant or deceptive, or both.

    if sufficient evidence that’s vetted by the experts is presented and it survives the peer review of those experts, I’ll happily change my mind.

    Your reliance on peer review is touching, but even a moderate familiarity which the intellectual history of this subject shows why it is misplaced. I make this remark as someone who has published over a dozen articles in mainstream peer reviewed journals staffed by the kind of experts you prefer, and quite a number of others in the alternative peer reviewed journals, such as Breif Chronicles, that have sprung up to combat the egregious intolerance of those official journals. The truth about Shakespeare is emerging in spite of, not because of, the “peer reviewers” in whom you place your confidence.

    But to return to your primary claim, let’s discuss some real issues. Name one Oxfordian argument with which you don’t agree. No straw men. Quote the position from a leading Oxfordian scholar — Ogburn, Looney, Anderson, etc. and explain why it is wrong.

    • mjr256 says:

      I never claimed to be familiar with Mark Anderson’s arguments specifically and indeed, I have not personally read Anderson. But based solely on a brief internet search on his position, he seems to push the common argument that there are many coincidences between DeVere’s life & Shakespeare’s plays, which assumes the plays were original works not adapted from previous works, something we know is in large part not correct. We Shakespeare’s plays were indeed heavily influenced by previous works and coincidences, even really amazing ones, happen all the time.

      For instance:
      http://www.cracked.com/article_18421_6-insane-coincidences-you-wont-believe-actually-happened.html

      So you asked for just one common argument from Oxfordians that Anderson makes for which I’m familiar with at least one counterargument. I’m not going to get into a back and forth with you rehashing one argument after another.

      “Which is it — either you’ve decided to “delegate” your own authority to someone else, or you’ve “already heard” the prominent arguments. Make up your mind.”
      These are not mutually exclusive claims. I have some familiarity with the Oxfordian arguments and their scholarly refutations. But at the same time, I’m not an expert on the subject and I’m willing to defer to put some degree of reasonable trust in reputable experts who have studied the subject for decades. I listen to authority while also understanding its limits, and do not use authority as a replacement for independent thought. But it’s extreme hubris to substitute one’s non-expert assessment of a detailed issue for the consensus of opinion of experts in that field.

      “There is no unanimity among Shakespearean scholars regarding the questions raised by your post.”
      Yes, I recognize that you assert this, however you’ve yet to demonstrate that assertion. And as far as I can tell, aside from a small number of fringe dissenters (which you’ll find almost everywhere regarding almost everything accepted as a fact), there is a unanimity among Shakespearean scholars. Rather, your position doesn’t seem to be taken very seriously in academic circles.

      Now to say that the experts “have never been challenged to think about these matters” is a laughable excuse. Have even they not heard of Mark Anderson and his amazing history-altering evidence? Please. Just given how popular this very page has been today with all the Oxfordians suddenly coming out of the woodwork, I wouldn’t be surprised if the experts have to field questions about these claims at least once a week. That’s like the creationists claiming biologists never hear creationist rebuttals. If even little old me can’t escape the the wrath of passionate Oxfordians, what hope do those whose very careers involve asserting the Stratfordian position have? It’s easy enough for this little denialist conspiracy to go unacknowledged by me for so long but this is THE public controversy of that field. For a Shakespeare scholar to be unfamiliar with the arguments is like a Holocaust scholar being unfamiliar with the claims of David Irving. It’s just not bloody likely.

      “A significant number of highly qualified scholars either doubt the traditional attribution or even understand the cogency of the case for Oxford’s authorship.”
      Ad populum meets argument from authority meets where there’s smoke there’s fire fallacy. If creationists can find 500 scientists who reject evolution, why should the Oxfordian list be any more compelling? The only avenue for victory here is to challenge the scholarship directly in reputable literary journals and win by the merits of the arguments themselves. Until that time, I’m going to have to call bullshit on the notion that the Stratfordian view is not the overwhelming consensus view; that’s simply undeniable.

  8. BG says:

    Whats baffling is how you came to any conclusion about anything if you havent read . What have you read as regards this issue? You keep referring to experts, which ones? Which books? I agree that if you have other pursuits and interest reading everything on the topic may be a bit overwhelming but before you spout off an opinion on something at least know what youre debating. Im just curious to know what books youve read?

    • mjr256 says:

      One such source that discusses the many alternative theories to Shakespearean authorship is
      David Kathman, in his work, “The Question of Authorship.”

      Further reading:
      http://shakespeareauthorship.com/
      http://absoluteshakespeare.com/trivia/authorship/authorship_de_vere.htm

      And Wikipedia includes a number of criticisms of the Oxfordian theory:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxfordian_theory_of_Shakespeare_authorship#Stratfordian_objections

      • Anka Z says:

        Wiki? Surely, you jest. Oh, my….

      • BG says:

        Haaaaaaaahaaaa yep david kathman that expert Oxfordian…hahaha and stratfordian wikipedia presentation on the authorship question. Sorry eyes blurred with tears from laughter.

      • Anka Z says:

        Wiki and cracked.com… How cerebral. I, too, am outta here. I just don’t have the patience for this. Perhaps one of our more learned Oxfordian friends (Linda? Are you reading this?) has the stamina to discuss this with you further.

      • mjr256 says:

        LOL. I give you numerous sources that address your position and you decide to focus on just one of them, Wikipedia, because it’s so hip and cool to criticize that one despite the fact that it’s well-sourced and has proven in numerous tests to be almost as accurate as Encyclopedia Britanica on most subjects. And then you criticize my use of a Cracked.com article that was clearly only intended to highlight a side point I was making about how strange coincidences are known to have happened.

        Not only have you dodged the actual context of my criticisms to your arguments but you’ve childishly rejected sources out of hand (something you actually accused me of doing earlier) while not pointing to a single fact in either source that is demonstrably wrong.

        If you’re trying to convince me that you’re interested in honest debate and not just maintaining your contrarian position, you’re not doing a very good job of it.

  9. BG says:

    Hahahahaha ok im done this is too funny. When you can better argue your point as to why you believe Stratford wrote the plays i will come back.

    This is hardly worth the effort anymore. Frankly the only thing you offered in this entire debate was “because they told me so”. As for “experts” a mechanic is an expert do you believe everything he says or do you check around? Same goes for Doctors Lawyers Used Car Salesman…if you believe everything they tell you they must chuckle with delight when they see you coming.

    • mjr256 says:

      Oh, but we haven’t really argued any points yet. You’ve simply asserted your position, insisted I must read your booklist before even having even a reasonably informed opinion on the matter, and insisted that it’s all the rage among those who have really studied the issue when it clearly is not. You’ve certainly not presented a single positive argument for your position and I have not made any real arguments defending the Stratfordian view as I feel it’s the only real game in town and thus, not in need of defending.

      As for your mechanic analogy, I’ve already addressed the straw man that you’re applying. As I’ve said said, I put only reasonable trust in reputable experts. I listen to authority while also understanding its limits, and do not use authority as a replacement for independent thought. But it’s extreme hubris to substitute one’s non-expert assessment of a detailed issue for the consensus of opinion of experts in that field. So while I don’t assume all mechanics are honest and competent, I have strong reason to suspect a mechanic who’s been in business a long time in the same neighborhood is probably both fairly honest and competent. And because I don’t have the time to become an expert mechanic myself, I’m willing to delegate a reasonable amount of trust to a mechanic I have good reason to suspect is honest and competent. Educating you on basic logical principles shouldn’t have to be that detailed; it’s common fuckin’ sense.

  10. psi says:

    “Solely on a brief internet search on his position, he seems to push the common argument that there are many coincidences between DeVere’s life & Shakespeare’s plays, which assumes the plays were original works not adapted from previous works, something we know is in large part not correct.”

    I see. How enlightening. You have made “a brief internet search” and concluded that Anderson “assumes the plays were original works not adapted from previous works, something we (sic) know is in large part not correct.”

    Dude, what is *more* than *in large part* blatantly *incorrect* is your summary of Mr. Anderson’s argument, which is just damn wrong. Oxfordians have been doing original research on Shakesperean sources at least since B.M. Ward in 1925 noted a Court of Wards record that Oxford had owned a 1569 Geneva Bible. If you had bothered to click on the link I provided you to my site, you would know how silly you sound.

    So you asked for just one common argument from Oxfordians that Anderson makes for which I’m familiar with at least one counterargument.

    Thank you for supplying my curiosity. Since the argument you allege as Mr. Anderson’s is not one that he makes, and not one that ANY Oxfordian has ever made, we may now conclude that you have proven my case that you are wholly ignorant of the subject on which you presume to enlighten your readership. I was hoping that you might come up with something better than this, but given your track record, your failure to reproduce accurately even one cogent argument for the position you have trashed is perhaps predictable.

    The only avenue for victory here is to challenge the scholarship directly in reputable literary journals and win by the merits of the arguments themselves.

    Aren’t you the strategist. You don’t know a damn thing about the topic, but you think you are in a position to tell the Oxfordians what they need to do. No, dude. Twenty one years ago, in a letter to the editor of College English, Dr. Warren Hope, PhD English, stated “there is not need for new evidence [for Oxford’s authorship] until the academia deals with the evidence that already exists.” The interim has seen an outpouring of new evidence (you may consult http://www.briefchronicles.com for some recent examples), and your umpires are still drunk or asleep.

    I put only reasonable trust in reputable experts.

    In your ignorance, you confuse experts with “reputable experts.” Partisans like Greenblatt or Shapiro are not “reputable experts” by any reasonable definition. Repeated demonstration shows them to be grossly ignorant of critical arguments within their supposed field of study. But of course you are too busy with your local mechanic to bother learning about that. Good luck with that.

    • mjr256 says:

      Now you’re being incredibly dishonest, psi, by ignoring everything I said that is inconvenient to your position. I didn’t claim to have done zero research until now on the subject. IN FACT, I said the opposite, that I’d done previous research on the topic but had simply not read the particular author who I was being challenged on. I admitted this up front because, unlike you, I actually care about maintaining an honest position. No, I had not read Anderson’s writing specifically, but I’ve read up on many of the common dishonest arguments Shakespeare denialist use along with the counterarguments that debunk them. So purely to answer the challenge put to me, I did a brief internet search to see if Anderson was bring new arguments to the table or simply regurgitating the same old lies. And as it turns out, from summaries I’ve found of Anderson’s work, it seems to be the latter. As for your claim that I’m responding to a criticism Anderson doesn’t make, he makes it in his book, “Shakespeare by Another Name: The Life of Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, the Man Who Was Shakespeare,” a book that, again, I have not personally read but of which I’ve read a second-hand literary review. And here’s a link to a completely different review that corroborates that he makes this claim:

      “The author thoroughly researched de Vere’s life and came up with so many similarities between his experiences and the stories in Shakespeare that the connections are difficult to ignore.”
      http://audioforbooks.com/books/shakespeare-another-name-by-mark-anderson/

      If you have to lie to maintain your position, maybe you should find a new position. Just a thought.

      And here’s yet another site that addresses some of the falsehoods of Oxfordian claims to add to the list of other sites I’ve already provided in this comments section:
      http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Shakespeare_authorship

  11. Linda Theil says:

    But your statement is illogical. You say that your point is not that the evidence for a Stratfordian Shakespeare is equivalent to the evidence for evolution, yet you base your judgement — that both anti-Stratfordianism and creationism are equally invalid — on the fact of that equivalence. Also, you may be personally satisfied with the weak case for the Stratfordian, just as you feel justified in ridiculing people who don’t agree, but your satisfaction in no way makes your position strong.

    • mjr256 says:

      No, because that’s not my point at all. My point is that Oxfordians are as ideologically committed to their fringe contrarian beliefs as creationists and other historical denialists. I also compare JFK conspiracy theorists to AIDS denialists even though the latter can be scientifically falsified in the here and now while the former can only be strongly inferred to be wrong based on historical evidence, not because the evidence against both positions is perfectly equivalent but because the same motivated thinking processes are taking place in both examples. But no matter what, gravity will always be more verifiable than any particular historical fact. Historical evidence is a different kind of evidence than scientific evidence.

  12. psi says:

    Linda Theil writes:

    “You say that your point is not that the evidence for a Stratfordian Shakespeare is equivalent to the evidence for evolution, yet you base your judgement — that both anti-Stratfordianism and creationism are equally invalid — on the fact of that equivalence.”

    Good point, Linda. I noticed that kind of “anything I say is consistent with anything I say” logic all over the place. It would be difficult to do justice to the apparently clinical level of denial at work in the frequency with which proponents of the alternative view are held accountable to standards which the writer himself violates within nearly every paragraph. Sadly, its just the same old sort of “we are the world and if you don’t like it I will call you dirty names” sort of mentality. He did not approve my comments about his use of the term “Shakespeare denial,” perhaps because they revealed the level of sleaze on which the entire discussion has been predicated.

    • Anka Z says:

      More and more in the authorship debate, the terms “denial” and “denier” are being used in a subliminal sense to provoke within the unwary reader/audience a linkage to other all too heinous acts of repudiation. I take offense at that.

    • Anka Z says:

      On an entirely different level, how does mjr256 know that Mr Emmerich’s Anonymous is crappy? He must have been at a private screening!

    • mjr256 says:

      Obviously it’s not a good point since it’s built entirely on a false representation of what my point was. Your standards of what constitutes as a good point seems to be whether or not it reinforces your beliefs.

      And if the evidence for the Oxfordian position is so amazing, why don’t you give me your absolute best evidence for your position so that we can end this pointless debate over this fairly asinine pseudo-controversy? But no, instead you’d rather give excuses about why all the most reputable Shakespeare scholars are just a bunch of idiots who simply refuse to look at evidence they don’t want to hear while you hold “The Truth.” It seems to me that claims of this nature should stand or fall on their own merits without the need for lazy excuses. And maybe if you spent as much time as I have listening to the almost verbatim excuses from geocentrists, creationists, Holocaust deniers, JFK conspiracy theorists, moon hoaxers, AIDS deniers, vaccine deniers, 9/11 deniers, etc., you’d understand why I’m not impressed by these excuses.

      And if I could offer up a piece of advice, maybe you should spend more time appreciating the art itself than dwelling on the rather trite concern over its true authorship. It wouldn’t lessen Buddhist philosophy if there was no real historical Buddha; why should it even matter in any cosmic sense if Shakespeare really wrote Shakespeare as long as we have the work itself?

  13. mahdij says:

    @BG: There is not enough space here to set forth the complete “trail of evidence” that supports the Stratfordian position. You could start with this website, http://shakespeareauthorship.com/howdowe.html, and then explain why those historical facts and pieces of evidence in the historical record do not, iyo, establish a prima facie case that William Shakespeare of Stratford wrote the works attributed to William Shakespeare. You could examine each piece of historical evidence individually for what it says on its face and you can examine the totality of all the circumstances, the facts, which are found in this trail. There are other pieces of evidence that are not included in that list, but it would be a good start.
    @ Linda Thiel: If you are criticizing the Stratfordian case for being “pure speculation” [which it is not, since it is based on historical, documentary evidence], do you subject the Oxfordian position to the same criticism [for it is based purely on speculation]? As for your specific claims, it is quite obvious that there is more evidence for the Stratfordian claim than you originally stated. Many of the references I cited refer specifically to Shakespeare the man from Stratford.

    LT: “If you are willing to consider that the name Shakespeare is a pseudonym, the references do not support a Stratford candidate.”

    To assume that the name was a pseudonym in an attempt to prove that the name was a pseudonym would be to engage in circular argument and would be an error in logic. I’d rather avoid that.

    LT: “It is not speculation that the monument was changed.”

    Actually, it is, and it is further speculation to contend that it was “altered to look like a writer.”

    LT: “Maybe the Stratford guy became an actor, but the data is slim.”

    The evidence is more than adequate to show that William Shakespeare of Stratford was an actor in the company that performed the plays of Shakespeare.

    LT: “Evidence that the Stratford guy ever wrote a word is non-existant. The Stratfordian case is pure speculation.”

    This is simply not correct, and, if you wish your position to be considered honestly and objectively, you should extend the same courtesy to those who attribute the works to WS of Stratford. You should, at the very least, attempt to deal with the evidence that supports that claim instead of summarily denying its existence.

  14. BG says:

    LOL…well thanks all the same. You continue to find reasons instead of documented evidence to hold on to your Stratford mythology. I will in turn rely on documented fact. And Ive been to the “authorship” website many many times. It provides great entertainment. I leave the debate on this page as I came in unchanged in my opinion and not willing to spend the energy to deprogram a cult member.

    • mahdij says:

      Your ad hominem argument is duly noted. It seems that’s all you have, as you are obviously unable, or incapable, of challenging the documentary evidence as I suggested you could do. You have no documented facts to rely on, only speculation and inference, while the Stratfordian position, at least as I propose it (and as it is set out at the authorship website I cited) is based on physical, documentary evidence. I’m not a cult member…I’m a Catholic. You, on the other hand, place your faith in your Lord, and remain blissfully indifferent to obvious facts.

    • mahdij says:

      I’m sorry that I may have misunderstood this post earlier. It makes much more sense now that I look at it again and realize that you admit that you are unable to change in your opinion or entertain another opinion [that you leave the same way you came in], that you are confused between what constitutes “documented fact” and what is entertainment, and that you are unwilling to “spend the energy” to deprogram yourself.

  15. Stephen Moorer says:

    OK, lets be specific as we challenge your evidence – Stratfordians often say that “Shakespeare’s name is on the title pages, and this is proof he wrote the plays.” Isn’t this nonsense? First, Shakespeare’s name is on several plays that scholars agree are not his – so how can “some” be proof and “some” not?? 2nd, if the name were indeed a pseudonym, does this not negate the title page argument? 3rd, do any of the title pages identify “Shakespeare” as the man from Stratford? 4th, Stratfordian Donald Foster has admitted that title pages cannot be trusted! Given these issues, why do Stratfordians keep clinging on to title pages as “proof”? Is this an example of the mountains of “evidence” and the numerous “facts” that Stratfordians proclaim?

    • mahdij says:

      Okay, let’s be specific.
      1. “Stratfordians often say that ‘Shakespeare’s name is on the title pages, and this is proof he wrote the plays.’
      Isn’t this nonsense?”

      No, not really. Most Stratfordians I know and read would say that the title pages are evidence [not proof] that, taken in conjunction with all of the other extant, historical evidence, establish a prima facie case that WS of Stratford was the author of the works attributed to William Shakespeare.

      2. “First, Shakespeare’s name is on several plays that scholars agree are not his – so how can “some” be proof and “some” not??”

      You keep confusing proof and evidence. The fact that some unscrupulous printers chose to cash in on the Shakespeare name doesn’t really have anything to do with the authorship issue or whether or not a pseudonym was being used. The practices of the printers do not detract from the evidentiary weight of those plays [First Folio] that we know to be his by the statements of his friends and co-players.

      3. “3rd, do any of the title pages identify “Shakespeare” as the man from Stratford?

      Yes, actually. Some of the title pages and entries in the Stationers Register specifically identify the man from Stratford as the author by referring to him as “Mr.” or “Master” Shakespeare, an honorific that signalled the Stratfordian’s status as a Gentleman once his family had been granted a coat of arms by the College of Heralds. In fact, the history surrounding the grant of that coat of arms, and the participation of William Camden in that history, is some of the very compelling evidence in support of the Stratfordian case.

      4. “4th, Stratfordian Donald Foster has admitted that title pages cannot be trusted! Given these issues, why do Stratfordians keep clinging on to title pages as “proof”? Is this an example of the mountains of “evidence” and the numerous “facts” that Stratfordians proclaim?”

      Do you have a citation to Donald Foster’s contention that title pages can not be trusted? If he said such a thing then he is wrong. As I’ve shown above, the title pages do constitute evidence. You can quibble about their authenticity, their credibility, or the weight that should be given to that evidence, but you should not deny its essential character as evidence. Taken together with the totality of other pices of historical, documentary evidence, the title pages do constitute a proof. You can certainly attempt to rebut the case that has been made if you wish.

  16. mjr256 says:

    “OK, lets be specific as we challenge your evidence – Stratfordians often say that ‘Shakespeare’s name is on the title pages, and this is proof he wrote the plays.'”
    I thought you said you were going to be specific. Who specifically says this? Wouldn’t they just cite the documentary evidence, as laid out in part on the following site?
    http://shakespeareauthorship.com/howdowe.html,

    “First, Shakespeare’s name is on several plays that scholars agree are not his – so how can ‘some’ be proof and “some” not??”
    Again, you’ll have to be specific. Don’t look at me. That was YOUR idea. And to answer your question: ACTUAL NUANCE!! I assure you that nobody just flipped a coin. Actual literary scholars study the evidence like a detective and determine based on the clues at hand what works are most likely to match the writing style of the man we know as William Shakespeare and which do not. It’s not rocket science.

    “2nd, if the name were indeed a pseudonym, does this not negate the title page argument?”
    As mahdij so elegantly put it above: “To assume that the name was a pseudonym in an attempt to prove that the name was a pseudonym would be to engage in circular argument and would be an error in logic. I’d rather avoid that.”

    “3rd, do any of the title pages identify “Shakespeare” as the man from Stratford?”
    Do the Declaration of Independence specifically list Thomas Jefferson as its lead author? Then I guess he probably didn’t write it then, right? This spitfire approach to just throwing any accusation at the wall to see what sticks is not a legitimate form of inquiry. We can all play ‘what if’ games till the sun burns out; it doesn’t change the lack of any compelling positive evidence for an alternative authorship claim.

    “th, Stratfordian Donald Foster has admitted that title pages cannot be trusted! Given these issues, why do Stratfordians keep clinging on to title pages as “proof”?”
    This is called cherry-picking and arguments from authority. I don’t care if Donald Foster insists Shakespeare actually had 3 heads; he doesn’t get to decide reality, which is determined by evidence. One man–even an expert–can be wrong. And though not perfectly reliable, it’s the consensus of many relevant experts that carries real weight. For instance, one has no trouble finding a doctor who will insist tobacco doesn’t cause cancer; such doctors are simply misguided and wrong unless we discover new compelling evidence that validates such a position.

  17. mahdij says:

    Well…that was an quick hit [and run] job. They came, they saw, and, like brave Sir Robin, they ran away.

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