Anonymous – Will it Change Your Mind, or Make You Care?
A Movie Enticement, by Liam Scheff
If I told you the Earth was shaped like a pear, would you believe me? You’d say, “No, it’s round!” And you’d be right. Except that Earth is ever-so-slightly pear-shaped. If I told you so, would you be surprised? Or shrug it off, and add it to your quiver of trivial information to be shared while drinking?
If I told you that AIDS researchers, to this day, have no functional or resilient, proven and demonstrable theory of how HIV causes AIDS, would you know what I was talking about? Would you care? Or, assign it to the dump of ‘mysteries unsolved’ that lives in the realm of academia?
If I told you that the largest dinosaurs were too big to have lived in today’s gravity, would you shoot me a blank stare? Would you say, “That’s impossible!”, without really considering the problem? If I showed you the work of paleontologists who described the situation above, and had no solution to the issue of changeable gravity, would you stop your life’s work until you solved the mystery?
Chances are, in the face of any and all grand mysteries, you will continue on with your day, making sure you have groceries, that your internet is working, and that your Netflix queue is happily updated.
And as I do not intend to change human nature, allow me to present a mystery for the ages, that may also be solved in your Netflix queue (or at the local cinema – right now).
If I told you that the man we called Shakespeare was a fraud, an empty suit, a half-witted grain merchant and nearly illiterate small-town businessman, who raised two illiterate daughters, who died owning not a scrap of paper, not one manuscript, not a writing desk, not a single book… and not any of the works or plays we attribute to “Shakespeare”… would you put down your coffee? Would you keep drinking and say, “Hmm, that’s weird.”
Would you bother to consider what it means that the greatest – the deepest, and most challenging, most rueful and bloodiest, the bawdiest and most populist, the most beautiful and devastating works in the language of our era and Empire – the English language – were written under a protected name? A pen name, caching the identity of the author, or authors, from public view, from the inquisitors in court?
What would it mean to consider that the world has always been a hostile place for truth; that truth cannot be told by those who have a great deal to lose, or to protect? That a man, or woman in power, must cling to official versions – for it is official stories which are constructed for the protection of officials themselves?
Would you believe me?
I hope I can recommend to you the new movie “Anonymous” in such a way that will get you to pause, and wonder, and think; and then go to your cineplex, and see the greatest Shakespeare film ever made.
If the film is not a whole truth, it is a whole lot wholer than anything that has come before it. And the English court, and the works of the Bard, may finally make sense to us. Because work claimed by an impostor for 400 years can never be fully appreciated. And Will Shakespeare was, without a doubt, an impostor.
So, who wrote the plays of Shakespeare? Head to your local theater now, and put in the ‘reserve’ on your DVD queue. Because it’s a bloody great movie. You won’t be disappointed.
(And when you’ve fully digested it, go figure out how gravity changes – if you’ve got some spare time).
Is Shakespeare Dead? by Mark Twain
Interviews with Mark Anderson, author of Shakespeare by Another Name