So, as everyone knows, earlier this week NPR radio star Ira Glass ignited a firestorm by daring to voice his opinion about Shakespeare, writing the following tweets:
Same thing with the great Mark Rylance shows this yr: fantastic acting, surprisingly funny, but Shakespeare is not relatable, unemotional.— Ira Glass (@iraglass) July 28, 2014
Unsurprisingly, the pro-Shakespeare crowd has been having a field day with this. As the world's leading (i.e. probably the world's the only) Shakesperean webcomic blogger, I feel obliged to address the matter. So here...
It's like chocolate. Some people don't like chocolate - I think they're crazy, and they don't know what they're missing, but I'm certainly not going to argue with them about it. It's a personal thing. People have been busy disliking Shakespeare for centuries, but Shakespeare is still here. And so is chocolate. I happen to think the world is a better place because both of those things exist, but people are free to disagree with me.
Basically, my only quarrel with Mr. Glass is the utterly pedestrian terms he uses to attack Shakespeare. "Shakespeare sucks" is such a bland and banal statement when compared to George Bernard Shaw's devastating "it would positively be a relief to me to dig [Shakespeare] up and throw stones at him." If you're going to criticize Shakespeare, do it emphatically and with some flair.