Quote of the day.

In keeping with this blog’s tradition of exposing the undemocratic leanings of Supreme Court Justices, here’s Justice John Paul Stevens, on why he thinks the Seventeenth Earl of Oxford actually wrote Shakespeare’s plays:

“A lot of people like to think it’s Shakespeare because…they like to think that a commoner can be such a brilliant writer,” he says. “Even though there is no Santa Claus, it’s still a wonderful myth.”

You heard it here first, folks: Shakespeare — not to mention Chaucer, Goethe, Joyce, Kafka, Dostoevsky, Nabokov, Orwell, Hemingway, Woolf, Faulkner, Waugh, Wodehouse, Salinger, Ellison, Emerson, and Whitman — couldn’t possibly have written anything of worth, because he was a “commoner.” Clearly, only members of the landed aristocracy should even be permitted to own typewriters.

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3 Responses to “Quote of the day.”

  1. A. Hill Says:

    Or, as the 89-year-old justice prefers to refer to them, “those newfangled writing machines.”

  2. Laura Donovan Says:

    Good column, too, by the way. I definitely wouldn’t doubt Shakespeare on the basis of him being a commoner. Some of these conspiracy theories seem to have developed out of jealousy and underestimation of commoners’ capabilities. You can add Melville to the list as well. He didn’t go to college and he wrote one of the greatest literary classics. Stephen King and Truman Capote once said similar statements about how the writer cannot be made or trained, so with respect to them, writers are not created on the basis of their aristocracy or education. Sometimes, people just have a way with words, and Shakespeare was one of those phenomenal writers.

  3. Justyn Dillingham Says:

    Or, as Melville put it: “A whaling ship was my Yale College and my Harvard.”

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