Saturday, March 26, 2016

Easter Proclamation from the Easter Vigil Sung by Deacon Matthew Stehling

Signatures of Blind People

I went looking for examples of the signatures of people who had long been blind and found some interesting things.  For example, these dated signatures by Helen Keller

It says "secretarial signatures," but I suspect the signatures were in her own writing.  Here is an example of her handwriting from much earlier.

I suspect she was using some kind of form to write within, such as the one my father used when he had to sign things,  my mother absolutely refused to sign documents in his place.  

Here are two signatures listed as being George III before and after he went blind and was suffering from mental illness.

I don't know what it tells you about the six accepted signatures of the Stratford money-lender and broker, but none of them look as fluent to me as these.  No one would accuse George III of having been a good or great writer or of even above average intelligence but he knew how to spell his own name.  Helen Keller was, of course, very intelligent and an educated intellectual, as whoever wrote the plays and poems attributed to Shaksper(e) would have had to have been. 

Last Hate Mail Call

Ah, well, you see, I had an insight yesterday that instead of being the object of a troll, what I am is the obsession of a stalker.  Steve the stalker.  Just to show you how long a word can prevent you from understanding even something you experience on virtually an everyday basis.  

The same person was exposed as using assumed names and identities eight years ago, so I have no way of knowing if any given troll who posts a comment here or who stalks me if I comment elsewhere is the guy who is stalking me.   He could be.

As soon as I understood that it was that kind of pathology, I knew it was immoral to feed it.  So, I'm free to let those who will enable such behavior take responsibility for encouraging it.  As I said last night,  he's all your problem now, Duncan.

Update:  Nope.  It's not my concern anymore. I'm done with it. 

Update 2:  Why would I care what an ever decreasing knot of  nasty, vicious, conceited, inbred, infighting devotees of the common received wisdom, c. 1959 say about me?   

It's all over now, baby blue.  There's nothing left to say about it.  There will be no further messages. 

The Unlearned Lesson of 2010 And What The Bernie Sanders Campaign Really Means

There should be a rule of thumb in American presidential politics that says a state which holds a caucus tells you nothing about the mood of the body politic.  Caucuses never have as big a turnout as a primary election, they discriminate against independents in many states and members of the other party who might, possibly, vote for one of the candidates in either of the parties.   In this year's election when the Republicans' choice might be either the dangerously ill prepared and ill suited Donald Trump or the model of a successful, amoral sociopath, Ted Cruz, I can imagine a lot of less insane Republicans might vote for the Democrat in November.   There are still a few who are registered as Republicans who, whatever other personality flaws that maintain them as Republicans are not totally insane and evil.

Caucuses are not democratic, they are not constructed for maximum voter participation, they are the opposite of that.  Yet, when Bernie Sanders wins Washington - assuming the Bernie or Bust folks are right about who will show up - it will be touted as him having proved he could win a general election, when that is almost certainly not true.   Sanders won my state caucus, Maine, by about at two to one margin, it was touted as a huge win for him and was represented as proof that he could win the general election.  The reality is that Maine is in the second term of a Republican governor who is, beyond measure, the opposite of virtually everything that Bernie Sanders stands for.  He won over two candidates, Libby Mitchell and Mike Michaud who were certainly closer to what Sanders advocates than Paul LePage.

The idea that Bernie Sanders would win Maine in the general election as he so handily won the Democratic caucus is almost certainly delusional.   Maine progressives couldn't get Paul LePage out of office even after the first four years, a lot of them split between a Democrat who could have won and the vanity millionaire candidate who had helped install LePage four years earlier.  My bet would be that the vanity millionaire candidate may have won more of the non-committed voters who voted for Bernie in the caucus than stalwart Democrats but there is really no way to know that.  The record before LePage is a list of moderate Democrats and conservative Republicans with the one independent, Angus King (now one of our Senators).  Angus King used to be a Democrat who left the party when he found he was too conservative to get the nominations he ran for, I would say he was a bit to the right of John Baldacci, who was governor for two terms before LePage.

If Bernie Sanders were the nominee of the Democratic Party, as some Republicans are openly wishing for, his identity as a socialist from New York would be used to scare voters in other regions in an unprecedented campaign of vitriol.   His identity as a Jew would be used, albeit covertly, in much the same way that Barack Obama's race and Hillary Clinton's gender have been used against them, continually and with the thinnest of coding.

I doubt, very much, that Bernie Sanders would win Washington in a general election or, in fact, any of the states he won in a caucus or, in fact, many of those which he won through a primary.

What Bernie Sanders' campaign really means only becomes politically important if Hillary Clinton wins the general election.  What it means is that her party and whatever voters she can attract from those who are not registered as Democrats include a very large percentage of people who like what Bernie Sanders is saying.  Mostly, his success in the nomination fight has been a vote on economic justice.  It is saying that the policies of Barack Obama on that are not enough, that for a Democrat to succeed in office they will need the full support of the Sanders voters if they are not to suffer a repeat of 2010 and onward.

I strongly suspect that Hillary Clinton would govern to the left of Bill Clinton, her voting record in the Senate was to the left of Obama's and not all that far from Sanders'.  First, I think she's smarter than he is, second, I think she is more capable of understanding what is happening in this nomination fight.  As an aside, she isn't a jock or addicted to the macho attitudes that have diminished whatever liberal habits Obama or Bill Clinton may have begun with.

But any politician who wins office has to do it under the rules as they are and the rules we have been saddled with favor oligarchy. 

All Democrats, all politicians, are at the mercy of the billionaire favoring rulings of the Supreme Court which has bent over backward, twisted words in knots and lied to hand the government of the United States to the oligarchs who they serve.  That is the political reality that any politician who wants to be President of the United States faces,  Bernie Sanders' small-contribution campaign is impressive at this stage of the election cycle, it would be snowed under by Republican money in a general campaign.   There is nothing that a Democrat can do but wait for appointments to the Supreme Court who will overturn those things.  If I were president and I had appointments to make, in my search process I would never even consider anyone who had not expressed opposition or at least skepticism about corporate person hood and other such devices invented to corrupt democracy.  I would be very reluctant to appoint anyone to any relevant position who held that the media has a constitutional right to lie with impunity.  I am extremely skeptical that Bernie Sanders would apply the second of those conditions but without that I don't see the slightest glimmer of hope that democracy will stand.

You see, I am to the left of Bernie Sanders because I think that ANY conditions that make real government OF, BY AND FOR THE PEOPLE  are wrong, no matter what Jefferson or the fat-headed Voltaire said in the 18th century.  I don't think he and I am certain most of his most vocal supporters really believe that. 

I don't think that you can know a lie and that the lie will make you free,  I don't believe a society fed lies by the free-press will be free, they will, through believing those lies make choices that serve the liars.

I don't think democracy has the slightest hope of surviving if lies are privileged as they have been in the United States in the last half century.   And without democracy his dreams of economic and social justice are fantasies..  If the billionaires were going to give us democracy and justice, we'd be up to our eyebrows in it.

I strongly suspect that a president Bernie Sanders would enable the billionaires through appointment of justices who share the philosophy which has enabled those things,  they will be called "liberals" though the results of their theories are not.  His base buys the lie that those things result in freedom when they result in the corrupt political system we struggle against.
I would guess and sincerely hope that Hillary Clinton, who would come to office as, likely, the most lied about person who had ever beaten the liars and won the presidency,  might have learned a thing or two about the political liability that the regime of lies has been for liberals, for leftists, for Democrats and for the formula for democracy given to us so succinctly by Lincoln.   Hillary Clinton, if she succeeds and becomes president will have been the most lied about, the most vilified, the most embattled person to have ever won election.   She will know, better than anyone who has ever sat on the Supreme Court, any president who had preceded her, what being the object of a full media driven hate campaign really means.   She may make the crucial changes needed to protect democracy from lies.  And that will require that she make enough changes on the court to do that.

Update:  Oh, and, in light of what I pointed out about TV having sold both Reagan and Trump to America,  Angus King also became widely known in Maine through his TV show on Maine Public Broadcasting.   I suspect that's what he has to thank for his political success, here.

I should also point out that the other independent governor we had, like King, had been a Democrat until he found he couldn't get nominations because he was too conservative.  But James Longley didn't have King's TV skills and he was voted out after one term.  Independents in Maine would seem to fall between the two parties, I would call the millionaire mentioned above as another example of that,  they aren't anything like a progressive alternative to Democrats.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Odd Tricks Of The Mind

Noticed a while back that I cannot help thinking of  Halocynthia papillosa

 Image result for Halocynthia papillosa

when I see a photo of Ted Cruz.   Now it's whenever I hear his name.

Good Friday - The Cross And The Lynching Tree - Given At The Methodist General Convention 2012

Hate Mail - So You Think It's Springtime For Bernie?

If liberals weren't doing something wrong we would be only slightly worried about the house and senate flipping to Republican control and even less worried that either a raving, trashy fascist phony like Trump or an oozing, seething fascist phony like Cruz was going to win over a moderate liberal Democrat in November.  

We would be in a lot better shape if we weren't doing things wrong and hadn't been doing them wrong for a long time.  Being in good shape is a good measure of whether or not you're doing something wrong. 

Reality is real, it is the acid test of things.  If you don't admit that now, you will, eventually.  If everything that liberals were doing was just swell, things wouldn't be as they are, today. I'd rather not wait till the aftermath to try to figure out what to do to prevent this kind of disaster.  When liberals have been failing this long, the fault is not so much in our stars but in ourselves.  We're not fated to fail, the choice to find out why we have for so long and to change that is ours.  But that's something like work and it might upset some of our long established habits of thought. 

Hate Update:  Oh, who could have predicted that Duncan's Eschatots are snarking about Good Friday on Good Friday.  And feeling very bright as they do so for like every year running since Duncan mounted it. 

Nothing unpredictable happens there anymore. It's not allowed to.  They got rid of anyone who was going to say something unpredictable. They don't like their pond of tepid bile rippled by what has not been said there before. 

An Informed People Can Govern Themselves A Misinformed People Will Be Governed By Those Misinforming Them

Another story on NPR's morning edition was an interview with Justin Barasky of Priorities U.S.A. talking about how the Republicans didn't anticipate how Donald Trump would take off until it was way too late for any of them to stop him.  Which is pretty strange as their flagship example of a president, Ronald Reagan, was sold in quite a similar way, through his career in show biz, especially on TV.   If anyone needs to understand how Donald Trump was sold to a frighteningly large percentage of the American voters, it was through constant exposure on TV.  The camera might put on ten pounds but the presentation of even total garbage on TV will gain it something which in someone who is credible could be called "credibility" but it's clear from the Donald Trump phenomenon that there is a media created substitute which, in politics, works like the real thing, when it is its complete opposite.  Such was the media created mastery of George W. Bush, such was what sold his father's brief period of success in the so-called First Gulf War, before the disasters forced a measure of correction in those who hold the controls of our media.

This year's political season, as it gets to the end of the nomination phase has carried several terrible lessons, the percentage of those on the left who are willing to risk having a repeat of the Bush II years, perhaps worse this time but it also shows how unwilling we are to face the fact that TV celebrity can put the most inappropriate, ill equipped, temperamentally and intellectually unsuited people in the most powerful office in the world.   I think the fall election will be a contest between the media creation, Donald Trump and a woman who the media has been trying to destroy for more than a quarter of a century.  The people who decide that may well be a media creation as well, the segment of the electorate who are the most ignorant, the most stimulated to worship violence and derision and insult and vulgar trash talk, who vote for a media created Mussolini American style.  The left has not generated anything like that as a counter to them, leftist media, segregated to a few magazines, many of which are as delusional in their own way, is more likely to mount the ridiculous force which, like Captain Peachfuzz, go off in the wrong direction as it did in 2000.   If you point out that a media which is free to lie has generated this situation, they'll spout the lines fed to them by the porn industry lawyers.

If this seems to be chaotic, look at the political world that it is addressing and the media that has generated that world.  We live in an intellectual dystopia which is the creation of the media which is the force which has informed all of the living generations of this country, today.  It's not going to get better until they stop selling glitzed up lies.

Update:  My sister and I were talking politics, this morning and I remembered the first time I ever saw Donald Trump on TV.  I may have heard the name before that but it was back during the Reagan years when the PBS show, This Old House during the  Bob Vila years went to Trump Tower to look at the decor.   I can still, sort of, remember the feeling of my mouth falling open and staying open at the sheer, crass gilded vulgarity, not only of Trump Tower but, even more so Donald and Ivana Trump.  I remember the kind of revelation it was to me about the nature of PBS that Bob Vila was so openly drooling all over all of the monumental vulgarity of it.  And, to top off that disilluioning revelation, it was produced by that ol' reliable Iron Sides of public broadcasting,  WGBH in Boston.   I know it was during those years of the Hollywood produced Second Gilded Age because the internet tells me that Vila left the show in 1988, the last year of Reagan's administration.  That's when the seeds of this year's political crop were being sowed.

Repeating Is Not Reporting

I hadn't intended to write about this again, so soon and I don't know if it's part of the Stratford industry propaganda push which seems to be trotting stuff out on a weekly basis, these days, but NPR is just telling us that one of the Brit TV stations are pushing a story that the skull of the Stratford businessman is missing. Apparently they used some kind of sound imaging to determine this.   The archaeologist, Kevin Colls, suspects that the skull was stolen for sale or, apparently, on commission by a collector in the late 18th century.   It's no surprise to anyone who read Mark Twain's entertaining essay, Is Shakespeare Dead?   He said that Shakespeare of Stratford on Avon was.  "a Brontosaur: nine bones and six hundred barrels of plaster of paris."

The archaeologist  mentioned the famous curse that's carved on the stone, of which, Mark Twain also said:

So far as anybody actually knows and can prove, Shakespeare of Stratford-on-Avon never wrote a play in his life.

So far as anybody knows and can prove, he never wrote a letter to anybody in his life.

So far as any one knows, he received only one letter during his life.

So far as any one knows and can prove, Shakespeare of Stratford wrote only one poem during his life.  This one is authentic.  He did write that one—a fact which stands undisputed; he wrote the whole of it; he wrote the whole of it out of his own head.  He commanded that this work of art be engraved upon his tomb, and he was obeyed.  There it abides to this day.  This is it:

Good friend for Iesus sake forbeare
To digg the dust encloased heare:
Blest be ye man yt spares thes stones
And curst be he yt moves my bones.

In the list as above set down, will be found every positively known fact of Shakespeare’s life, lean and meagre as the invoice is.  Beyond these details we know not a thing about him.  All the rest of his vast history, as furnished by the biographers, is built up, course upon course, of guesses, inferences, theories, conjectures—an Eiffel Tower of artificialities rising sky-high from a very flat and very thin foundation of inconsequential facts.

f anything that is truer today than it was more than a century ago when Twain wrote his essay. I find it quite entertaining and rather telling that in 2016 that tower is still being maintained by some of the most expensively educated people in history and peddled through allegedly high-standard journalism, such as a place like NPR is alleged to practice.  It's just another example of how they don't really report, they repeat an approved narrative without question.

Update:  The belief that Jesus rose from the dead is called "belief" given the documentary record from the entire classical era, the virtual nonexistence of physical originals, the fact that so much of the documentation of even the most universally accepted, entirely secular events and personalities is, actually, more scarce, Jesus is very well documented in terms of his time.   That is an unfortunate consequence of the fact of what the documentary record of that period consists of, that's why the belief in the Resurrection of Jesus is what it's called, a belief.

The fact is, despite more than seventy records of William Shaksper(e) of Stratford upon Avon still in existence, including a relatively large number of those associated with his business dealings, that not a single one of those points to him having had a literary career.  Not a single one.  That not a single person known to have known him talks about him having been a writer despite much of their relevant writing still exists.  Because of that a belief that Shaksper(e) was the greatest writer in the English language, from a period which is relatively massively documented, means that there is far less reason to regard his literary career as a fact.   The chances of him having written all of what is attributed to him without a single, contemporary document pointing to that is, as pointed out earlier this week, unique in prominent writers of the Elizabethan-Jacobian period.

If you want to believe that William Shaksper(e) wrote the plays and poems, that is a belief, not that much different from a religious belief, though one which, in the context of contemporaneous physical and other documentation is, actually, more problematical.   It is your religious belief, you should admit that.  Go ahead, admit it.

Update 2:  I don't think of Steve Simels as a writer so much as the focus of a profiler in one of Val McDermid's novels.

Update 3:  I have a whole stream of angry, enraged comments in moderation from the pathetic, silly stalker.   I should send Val a thank you letter, I didn't put those two things together till this afternoon.   Now that I know him for what he is, I think it's my moral obligation to ignore him.   I'll let him stalk en camera, what he's been doing since at least the period when NTodd exposed him and his sockpuppets.  

Well, Duncan, he's all yours now.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Orlando di Lasso - Lamentations of Jeremiah

Ensemble Vocal Européen
Dominique Verkinderen, Maria Cristina Kiehr, Gundula Anders sopranos
Vincent Darras, Betty van den Berghe, Kaï Wessel altos
Angus Smith, Simon Davies, Gerd Türk, Hérve Lamy ténors
Renaud Machart, Peter Kooy, Stephan Schreckenberger basses

Philippe Herreweghe

The Lamentations of Jeremiah are sung during the three days, Holy Thrusday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.

William Bolcom - Holy Thursday from Songs of Innocence and Experience

University of Michigan Chamber Choir

Twas on a Holy Thursday their innocent faces clean
The children walking two & two in red & blue & green
Grey-headed beadles walkd before with wands as white as snow,
Till into the high dome of Pauls they like Thames waters flow

O what a multitude they seemd these flowers of London town
Seated in companies they sit with radiance all their own
The hum of multitudes was there but multitudes of lambs
Thousands of little boys & girls raising their innocent hands

Now like a mighty wind they raise to heaven the voice of song
Or like harmonious thunderings the seats of Heaven among
Beneath them sit the aged men wise guardians of the poor
Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door

William Blake
No idea what's up with the 2-tone background.  I didn't change anything on the template and I can't see any difference in the settings.  I wish it would go back the way it was.  I don't want to get the reputation for being sporty. 

The Left That Results In The Worst Is The Left We Need To Leave Behind

At this point in the nomination process the Bernie Sanders campaign has passed from being a challenge to Hillary Clinton to remember the most liberal part of the Democratic Party to being a part of the Republican strategy to split the Democratic vote and putting whoever wins the Republican nomination in the White House.  It has passed from being something positive to being a repetition of the Nader-Green strategy in 2000 which enabled the Bush Crime Family and their assets on the Supreme Court to install the most disastrously bad president in living memory and his regent, Dick Cheney.  

And that is happening again, this year, sixteen years later, with the help of allegedly left of center media who are hoping to get readers by servicing the more delusional members of the play left, the "Bernie or Bust" crowd, most of whom are sufficiently affluent, white and comfortable so as not to be those who will pay the price for a repeat of 2001-2008.  

There is a disastrously large percentage of what gets called "the left" which is, clearly, ineducable, not even by experience.  Those who are old enough to not only remember how Bush II was installed in power, through a putsch managed by Bush brother Jeb in Florida, Bush cousin Ellis on FOX and the right-wing Republicans on the Supreme Court all taking advantage of conditions brought about by Ralph Nader and the Green Party. 

The left has, largely, discredited itself through support of self-defeating policies, rhetorical stands which have alienated large number of people and through attention-getting stunts which, somehow, despite decades of trying, have produced the opposite of change.  I think that, at this point, Bernie Sanders has opted to give up his role as the practical voice of the responsible left because his support contains that play-left.  His opportunity to avoid the risk of becoming this years Ralph Nader is rapidly disappearing.   The media which is, at this point, participating in that should be seen for what it is, a big part of the problem. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

It Matters That People Who Have Been To School Come Out Believing Myth Is Reality

The fine and rigorous scholar Diana Price's article on the issues of the "Hand D" section of Thomas More was published last week, which leads me to suspect that its imminent publication might have had something to do with the timing of the Folger Folio tour and the shilling of the alleged Shaksper(e) manuscript-authorship that is also being promoted on public radio, in print and other places.  At this point, with many scholars taking a harder look at the only real evidence available  on the authorship question, investigating past claims made about that evidence, the response of the Shaksper(e) industry isn't to present new evidence or even new arguments because there are none. They respond with invective against those who practice the standards of modern scholarship and strategically timed public relations stunts.  Such is not the practice of people whose position is sound and secure.

For anyone who has read her work in the past the depth of Ms. Price's article won't be a surprise, though it is something to behold.  The rigor with which she discovers the accepted standards and practices of trying to determine the identity of hand writing and applies them is breath taking, if your breath is taken by that level of dedicated scholarship.  And that's only the start of what she does in the article.

Of all the scholars I've read on this issue, Diana Price is the one who I fully believe that if she found proof-positive that invalidated her past work that she would present it in full.  So far, the evidence doesn't do that.  Shaksper(e) of Stratford is still without a literary record that isn't constructed on the practice of wishful thinking and misrepresenting both details of and the full range of evidence available.

It is best to read her article to show all of the ways in which the arguments made by conventional Stratfordian promoters have bent, twisted, invented rules and methods and broken those when they don't serve their end, of supporting Shaksper of Stratford as the author of the plays and poems.  A couple of examples will serve to show that Ms. Price's own method consists of being honest about those.  For example, after a discussion showing that different orthodox Stratfordian scholars disagree about how William Shaksper spelled his name, not only in the differently spelled signatures but even for any one of the few signatures.

Further, the palaeographers in the early 1900s disagreed among themselves as to the spellings in the signatures.  With respect to signature n. 1, Thompson spells it Willm Shaksp (1923, 59; a line over the letter m indicates abbreviation); Sidney Lee spells it Willm Shak'p (1968, 519); C.W. Wallace (who discovered the signature) spells it Willm Shaks (1910, 500); C.J. Sisson spells it Shak - with no s or p, the hypen indicating abbreviation (1961, 77n1); Tannenbeum cannot be sure whether it is Wlm or Willu and Shakper or Shaksper (1925, 157).

Faced with that, she not only comes to a conclusion but she poses several different possible consequential results which that disagreement forces

If it is not possible to agree on the spelling of a signature and if spellings and letter formations and methods of writing differ from signature to signature, how can any one of those signatures serve as an exemplar?  Which one is to be chosen as the standard against which any of the others are compared and either accepted or rejected?  Or are all of them to be accepted in all their variations by virtue of their presence on the legal documents?

Clearly, if reason and disinterested investigation are supposed to rule the matter, any such ambiguity would drastically reduce the reliability of such a thing as evidence on which to make an honest comparison with the writing of "hand D" in order to make the case that Shaksper of Stratford wrote that section of Thomas More.   But that isn't what its promotion as the one and only literary artifact left by him is based on.

And, with other issues, such as various scholars making arguments reducing the number of signatures that constitute their comparison sample from the pathetically inadequate six signatures to as few as three, if not fewer*, it soon reaches the point where the only rational and honest conclusion you can draw is that they, actually, have NO adequate sample to begin making that comparison, never mind drawing a conclusion that can constitute honest scholarship.

Another discussion in Ms. Price's paper that I particularly found useful was the argument based on the spelling of the word silence as "scilens" in both an early printed Quatro of 2 Henry IV (as the name of a character) and in the "hand D" passage.  She shows that far from being an "authorial choice" the use of the argument is based on the most selective of selection from what the entire evidence of variations in spelling of that word in both document shows.  And it is a claim made by a member of the Stratford establishment - who I will not name - on the radio last week, it is apparently what they consider one of their stronger ones,

In dialogue, as a speech prefix or as a stage direction, the Justice's name is spelled Scilens eighteen times, Silence three times, and Silens nineteen times (as well as in abbreviated form in the cancelled leaves).  The variations mean that a particular preference of spelling cannot be argued, regardless of whose supposed 'preference' it might represent - author's, scribe's, compositor's, or editor's.  

In the Hand D Additions, the word scilens at line 59 is an interjection, not a proper name, and the world "silenced' at line 78 is spelled by D as sylenct.  Similar but not identical variations are found in the 1611 manuscript of The Second Maiden' Tragedy which contains four instances of silence and three instances of scilence. 

After another paragraph of discussion on other instances of the "Shakespearean spelling" used as an argument for "hand D" being that of Shaksper of Stratford Diana Price says

In essence, to identify this 'Shakespearean' spelling, scholars are comparing a rare spelling of a character's name, found multiple times amongst  two other spellings of the same word, in a quarto produced by compositor using unknown printer's copy, with a single instance of the rare spelling found in a manuscript penned by a (possibly authorial) scribe.

On such intellectual quicksand is based pretty much the entire Stratfordian endeavor, the massive corpus of scholarly assertion, supposition, angry advocacy and required, enforced academic orthodoxy, on such is the entire Shakespeare industry, its Stratford base and all of its satellite institutions. built.  And all of that informs the popular conception, especially that of those who have been to college but who can believe with all their hearts that such fiction as Shakespeare in Love is largely if not in total, biography.   If we're no more interested in whether or not what we believe is real than ignorant people who imagine the people they see on TV sit-coms and cop-operas are real, what does it mean to be educated?   What does it mean to be "modern"?

The longer I look at this phenomenon the more shocking it is that, today, when so much of if not all of scholarship sells itself as practicing scientific methods and standards of research a close look finds it is, actually, based on open suppression of the rigorous investigation of what is angrily asserted are "settled questions" of just this kind.   I have found in the several instance that I've looked into such "settled questions" that where they are often settled by even the officially official educated population is often mired in just such selective reporting of evidence and massive filling in with constructed myth, argument from authority based in that constructed myth and a rigid, punitive enforcement of that orthodoxy.

I believe it was Paul Feyerabend who documented that, for all our modern pretenses of unfettered scientific inquiry into all questions, of academic freedom to follow the evidence wherever it leads, that we are, actually, less open to questioning than many of the scholars and even institutions of late medieval Europe, what we deride as the "dark ages".  When seen for what it is, this issue becomes an important one in determining the health of academic life and it is obviously not well.   The attitude of the orthodox Stratfordians seems to me to be very and importantly unShakespearean, if by that you mean what is contained in the contents of the plays.  What would "Hamlet" have been like if the prince had just gone along with Horatio's conventional interpretation of what they saw?

* Read about the disagreement on whether or not the Stratford man wrote the words "By me William" on one of the pages of the will to see more on why they really don't have any sample on which to base a comparison with the "hand D" section of Thomas More.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Script Post-Post Script

My thanks to Rick Allen for a link to the arguments the Stratford-Shaksper industry has used to assert that the "Hand D" section of Thomas More is in the handwriting of Wm. Shaksper(e) of Stratford, thus giving him what he, otherwise, entirely lacks, any evidence of literary activity.

The arguments they use have to be radically limited in number, since their comparison sample, assumed to be the actual hand of the businessman of Stratford are his six signatures as reproduced in an earlier post below.  Even more radically restricted in that, they are based in the comparison of things such as a single letter "a" in ONE of the signatures with "a" as written by "Hand D".  Also there is the matter of an initial upstroke on the capital "W" as found on some, not all of the signatures with lower-case "w" as written by "hand D".   Though, as with so much of the "evidence" depended on by the Stratford industry that is supposed to be an unreliable and, therefore, not allowed practice in the rules of handwriting analysis - at least that's what I've been able to find out.

This paper asserting that "Hand D" is more massively evidenced as being in the hand of the sometimes courtier, diplomat and brother in law of Francis Bacon Henry Neville entirely knocks the assertions of the Stratfordians down for the count and more.

Presenting numerous examples of letter forms, words, etc. closer in time to the date of the "Hand D" document than the Shaksper signatures, using  letters and other documents known to be in the hand of Henry Neville the case that it is actually his handwriting is many magnitudes of more strength than the one that is being peddled on public radio and elsewhere this past week.

Based on this paper and its numerous photographic examples, as well as other evidence it presents,  I have no hesitation to say that the assertions being trotted out by the Stratford-Shakespeare industry about the Thomas More manuscript are an open fraud.  

I don't think I'd go so far as to say that the paper makes an air-tight case that Henry Neville wrote the plays and poems in contention or even that section of Thomas More (it does make a good case that it is by whoever did write the other works and, in fact, more of the play than appears in "Hand D") but it's a better argument, made on fact and not out of conjecture and spinning charming fictitious tales, than the Stratford industry is based in .

Atheism Is A Good Fit With Those Who Hate The Poor They Just Haven't Figured That Out Yet

There I said it.   Samantha Bee's channel has this video up.

The Left Will Die If It Refuses To Be Realistic About The Need For Security And Intelligence

The reports on the attacks in Brussels are coming in with people saying that Belgium is considered weak on security and intelligence and was considered a weak point such as terrorists could have exploited, which may be true but it's just as true that other places which have been attacked aren't considered to be weak on security or intelligence.  One thing that is certain, any country which is attacked will go through a period when both are increased, if there are repeated attacks there will be calls to diminish much of what we consider a right to privacy.  I don't think that those will diminish as technology, especially communications technology, are used by terrorists or implicated in terror attacks.  In the face of a continued regime of acts of terror much of the legal and academic theory of a right to privacy will be seen as enabling terrorists and, eventually, an accusation of supporting terrorists.  Those who advocate the kind of privacy, access to technology, etc. which are implicated in terror will be discredited and will be removed from real politics and civic life by their refusal to face the new reality that such a regime of terror creates.

On the other side of that is the ever present danger of the use of security and intelligence agencies to suppress the legitimate rights of people who want to change the government through regular, democratic means.  The scandals in alleged democracies of police surveillance of the most peaceful of civil rights groups, peace groups, environmental activists, feminists,  LGBT rights workers prove that there is a real need for real and realistic protections of the rights of privacy.   It is especially important for those groups and others like them that their advocacy of privacy rights take into account what terrorists able to enjoy those same rights will do with them.  That is as much the fault of those who advocate violence as it is politicians, lawyers and police with fascist tendencies.   We have to understand that we are harmed by both of those groups.

I have no real idea where the lines should be drawn, I suspect that any line drawn will be immediately investigated to see how either side, the potential police state or the reign of terror to see how they can use it.  Which is why active, REALISTIC, engagement by those on the real left in government, facing the ever changing reality instead of striking poses on 18th century assumptions that are no longer relevant will be necessary.   If you refuse to be realistic you will find events quickly make you irrelevant, your issues attacked through association with terrorists.  That is one of the key failures of the past which has, in fact, kept the real left from having a major role in quasi-democratic governments.   Associations with the idiot anarchists who advocated "propaganda of the deed"  and those who were thrilled like teenage boys at the pointless, idiotic violence of the Weather Underground and other idiots in more recent times have cost the left a lot more than supporting terrorists has cost the right.  There is a reason for that, the right at least promises protection against terror.  That situation is a direct result of our failure to face the reality of media deregulation and the license to lie - also based in the romantic adoption of  fossilized 18th century rhetoric which reality has bypassed.

I don't know where the lines should be drawn even temporarily but I don't think where we strike a pose should depend on the marketing slogans of a company like Apple.  If the price of doing business in China or another massive market depended on them doing what the FBI wanted them to do, unlocking the phone of a dead terrorist,  I have every confidence that, if they thought they could make enough money out of it, they would do in a police state what they don't want to do here.  I wouldn't be surprised if such a company wouldn't unlock the phones of living dissidents.  And, in such a country, without anything countering the potential for abuse by the police, without any real possibility for independent judicial review.   If those protections have to be stronger here has to be part of finding where the line is and in a democracy you can do that.   In a terrorized country it will be surrendered by a terrorized population, under a regime of sustained terror the fascists will be those primarily benefited.

None of this is easy and it is not going to just happen as a result of natural forces, it isn't a matter of scientific discernment.  Any lines drawn, any solutions will almost certainly be temporary, at best.  The results won't be valid, eternally.   And it isn't answerable through the concepts we inherited from the 18th century, those are about as effective in today's technological world as dosing someone with mercury or white lead.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Script Postscript

I showed a blown up color print out of the "hand D" page from the Thomas More manuscript and a blow up of the six signatures and showed them to a friend who does italic and half uncial and whatever other kinds of calligraphy and she said that there was no way that they were made by the same hand.  She said that they were written with a quill pen which doesn't allow the same kind of jotting off a signature that a ball point or modern pen does, that the letters have to be written deliberately or you screw up the quill.   She said the person who wrote the "hand D" was obviously someone used to writing, that it was a rather fine hand but that the signatures were anything but that.

I don't know what other people would say about it but blown up the differences are even more obvious as is the fact that if those were all Shaksper's signature, he probably couldn't do much more than that with a pen and the letters are more drawn out like shapes than like letters.  I wonder if that accounts for why he didn't seem to know how to spell his own name consistently.  My guess would be that he might be unique among those purported to be writers for whom signatures are available who didn't know how to spell his own name.   It is, beyond any rational doubt,  not the hand that wrote 900,000 fluent words.  I don't know what experts the Stratford establishment are relying on to push their promotion of "hand D" as being like the Shaksper(e) signatures and I'd like to see their arguments but I doubt they are universally accepted by people who study such stuff.

And now, for something completely different....

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Hate Mail

Oh, yeah, this topic is so much less fun than hanging around Duncan's heaping hatred on Hillary and whining and crying because she's actually winning the popular vote in the nomination contest.   Not to mention the other six to a dozen topics that have sustained most of the stultifingly repetitious dyscourse there.   Let me guess, they're going over what they're having for supper and watching on TV when it's not hour after hour of Hillary hating.  

I know that the Eschaton brain trust are, these latter days, mostly a bunch of self-congratulating, conceited fat-heads BUT SIMPS DID WHAT'S CALLED "QUOTE MINING".  Go read the sentences he clipped in their context to see what they mean. Or is that slight amount of reading too much like work?  

Hate Mail - I Guess You'd Say Mark Twain Was A Class Snob Too

Oh, no.  You're making the wrong assertion.  I didn't assert that it's impossible,  that someone who grows up in modest conditions in a small town couldn't have written plays and poems.

I didn't even assert that someone of that description couldn't have written good or even great plays and poems*.

I merely said there is not adequate evidence to make even a convincing case that William Shaksper(e) living the life we have evidence of could have written those specific plays and poems.

Your mistake is addressing a specific instance of a man who has left substantial, personal evidence of his life as a broker, a money-lender, a petty hoarder of grain who sold it for a massive profit during a time of food shortages, someone who left a record as being willing to sue people over money owed, etc. was unique among those known to be writers because he left not a single piece of direct, unambiguous evidence that he a. ever wrote anything but a few signatures on legal document related to his business and his will, b. ever read a book, c. ever wrote a letter, d. ever had the legal right to any kind of payment for the production of plays he might have written, e. was ever paid for writing anything, f. who was anything but a man who, in fact, doesn't seem to have left a single, personal document that he ever was a writer.

As Diana Price has established, after centuries of what might be the greatest paper chase in literary history, searching high and low, William Shaksper(e) of Stratford is unique among those asserted to have been authors in the contemporary  history of his time to have left not a single personal document that mentions him having had a literary career.

Furthermore, no one in his family or in his town who knew William Shaksper(e) mentioned him as a writer of poem and plays which became famous in the decade after his death.  No, not even Dr. John Hall, the Stratford man's son-in-law, about the only person associated with William Shaksper(e) of Stratford who left extensive or, indeed, any writing, mentions the man of Stratford in association with the plays and poems, even in the period after the First Folio began to make "William Shakespeare" the most famous writer in the language.

All of the mentions of "William Shakespeare" of Stratford as being the author are posthumous and all of them are either stated with puzzling ambiguity or are  written by people who only knew about the Stratford man as a result of those ambiguous hints in the First Folio.   Ben Jonson, who may well be the author of most of the prefatory material in the Folio, where, in fact, there is first mention of Stratford in association with the poems and plays appears, was clearly implying that the William Shakespeare being sold as the author was not the author.  And there are contemporary commentators, some of them writing, not seven years after the death of the Stratford man but during his life, even during his residence in London, who cast doubt on his association with the plays and poems.

Personally, I think that William Shaksper of Stratford on Avon was written up by Jonson as the crooked "Poet-Ape" who passed off the work of other people as his own.  That was something known to be done in the period and it would explain why the Stratford man left no claims or rights to plays or poems in any document written up for him, he didn't think he could get away with passing that off.  If he were acting as a play broker, an activity which would be more consistent with the career that is documented in actual, primary evidence, he could well have done that.  He may have even been paid off as a false front for someone who wanted their authorship to be concealed, due to the curious similarity of his name with the "Shake-Speare" psudonym under which many things known to not have been by the author of the plays and poems in question were published during his lifetime.

The question isn't a general one about the superiority of one social and economic class over another. That thinking is entirely foreign to me.  As a liberal Irish-American such repulsive, typically British thinking is entirely uncharacteristic among my people.    

The question is if this specific case supports the traditional Stratford based "Shakespeare" industry and the massive money machine that it has founded, not on supporting evidence, but lore and myth made up out of the whimsy of scholars wanting to create a figure who the historical record doesn't document and the equivalent of Chamber of Commerce promotion.  You can't argue this case from general principles because it has to be based in specifics, specifics which, in the case of your Stratford man, don't support your firmly held faith, learned dutifully and dearly held to.

*  It being the class ridden, moral cesspool of England, I'd imagine such a genius from the lower classes would have a life more like that of the tragic Thomas Chatterton than the Stratford businessman.  Or one like that of Ben Jonson which has left extensive direct evidence of his literary activity.

Chatterton's eccentric, imagined past is something that a relatively uneducated, unconnected genius might have dreamed up but it's a far cry from the  imagined worlds of the "historical" plays or the historical accuracy often found in those.  Chatterton is, actually, a perfect example of what someone without an education up to their genius or anything like a decent life might have written and what his likely fate would have been in "enlightenment" England.

If I had any talent for it I might try to imagine what his life would have been like in a less stratified society.   He might have been more like Hamlin Garland.  Though books were far more available to those of modest means at that time in the United States so he'd likely have had access to more accurate background material.  He would have, though, found it impossible to produce factual accuracy without access to such books as the young Garland read at the Boston Public library.   Even a genius can't construct accurate technical knowledge out of their imagination.   He'd likely not have been led to suicide in a stinking class ridden society.

If he were a rural genius, he would have been more like Mark Twain, the great every-man, the "Lincoln of our literature" the great anti-snob who did a bit of creative historical writing of his own.  He was one of the first major doubters of the phonied up Stratford man myth.   It was reading Mark Twain's "Is Shakespeare Dead?" when I was trying to read all of Twain that first led me into doubting that he was the guy who really wrote the plays and poems.   About the only thing I've pointed out that he didn't was the work of Diana Price and that's because no one had had the common sense to do the research that she did.   Oh, or the silly assertion about Shaksper having written the "hand D" section of Thomas More, an assertion by members of the Shakespeare industry in a desperate attempt to give their guy what he so conspicuously didn't have, a literary paper trail.