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Letters to the editor

Tailgating at the Dodger Stadium; Sarah Palin's planned speech at Cal State Stanislaus; Shakespeare conspiracy theories

April 19, 2010

I was particularly fascinated by his claim that three U.S. Supreme Court justices ruled "unanimously for Shakespeare and against the Earl of Oxford" in a 1987 moot court case.

Shapiro has, at best, oversimplified the facts. Justice William Brennan, the senior justice on the case, did not rule on whether Shakespeare actually wrote the plays; he simply ruled that the Earl of Oxford did not meet the burden of proof required under the law. Justice Harry Blackmun agreed, but then added, "That's the legal answer. Whether it is the correct one causes me greater doubt." Justice John Paul Stevens went even further, saying, "I have lingering concerns. . . . You can't help but have these gnawing doubts that this great author may perhaps have been someone else."

I would hardly characterize these as opinions "unanimously for Shakespeare and against the Earl of Oxford."

Shapiro goes on to suggest that it was "obvious" that the justices found against Oxford because he "died in 1604, [and] he could not have written . . . 10 or so plays." In fact, historians do not know the precise dating of any of the plays; they only make best guesses.

Shapiro's piece culminates in an attack claiming that our film does a disservice to Shakespeare's legacy and imagination. Setting aside that we haven't yet finished shooting our film (and one must therefore assume that Shapiro hasn't seen it), I would say we aspire to do quite the opposite.

Does Shapiro really think so little of the 37 plays and 154 sonnets -- and the genius who wrote them -- that he believes one film could destroy their 400-year-old legacy?

John Orloff
New York

Alas, more Shakespeare author conspiracy theories.

I dropped out of graduate school in English because many academics waste their intellects overanalyzing everything except an author's words.

I took a graduate-level Shakespeare course in which we spent an entire class discussing the mysterious "Mr. W.H." to whom Shakespeare (maybe) dedicated his sonnets.

We talked about those four letters for two hours, not for one minute marveling at Shakespeare's glorious verse.

Karen Lindell

WaMu revelation

Re “WaMu built a ‘mortgage time bomb,’ ” April 13

When I used to see development after development of 3,000-square-foot homes, I would ask, "How do so many people afford so many luxury homes?"

Now I know.

Don Olinger

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