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For Ina
I have just picked up this link to the New York Times magazine review of Emmerich's almost-certainly vile Anonymous.

Read, learn, enjoy

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BRILLIANT piece! I particularly loved:
The problem is that not everybody does deserve a say. Just because an opinion exists does not mean that the opinion is worthy of respect. Some people deserve to be marginalized and excluded.

And I deeply dislike Oxfordians and co. ONLY someone who lived and breathed the theatre could have written those plays, and Shakespeare is the perfect candidate.

There are a number of great comments among the Oxonian bleats. I particularly like the one that points out that, from his knowledge of actors, they couldn't have kept that sort of secret for more than five minutes.

Interestingly, a lot of the American reviews rave about its "evocation of Elizabethan England." Ina, who has seen the final trailer on the big screen, was exceptionally scathing about the sets. Apparently the streets are so wide you could get four lanes of traffic down them...

I wonder why this particular piece of idiocy has such a hold on the imagination? Note: I don't care, except insofar as it makes me want to kick people - as when do I not? - I just wonder.

I love the film's/the theorists' reported chronology. It's as if, at a distance of 400 years, the odd one or two, or ten, can be handwaved away.

Edited at 2011-10-28 08:59 am (UTC)

From at least one comment on that article, some conspiracy theorists are deeply annoyed at being lumped in with this crowd.

Oxfordians: so mad, even the 9/11 theorists won't touch them!

Which reminds me, my brother says his wife managed to get a nurse who was a 9/11 conspiracy theorist. Just what you want, mid-cancer.

Oh goodness, yes. I am trying to stave off the sinking feeling this film is causing by hoping that it will result in good snarking, at least. I'd love to see the history_spork (or similar) version, especially if it involves zombie playwrights (at least two so far, if Marlowe is watching Essex leave for Ireland and Edward de Vere is still writing in 1613).

I've always thought the "Shakespeare can't have written Shakespeare" non-controversy rests on some kind of bizarre snobbish hangover - "how could this commoner* have created something so wonderful?", although Shakespeare himself was inordinately fond of the "blood will out" trope but then he was of his time, when nobility was considered innate to social status in some sense.

At some level it vaguely amuses me that people who want to support a general theory in which life is full of conspiracies designed to keep down the common man, in this case want a conspiracy to have elevated a common man over a noble.

*for admitted only some value of common, Shakespeare was no uneducated peasant.


Some of the Oxonians on the comment thread are claiming Shakespeare was illiterate! Stratford Grammar School would have been exceedingly annoyed.

One one level I want to say, "It's alternate history, why is everyone raising such a fuss?"

Then again, I was outraged by "Amadeus." Sometimes it's a matter of how personal the history feels.

Problem is mainly that, from what I can make out, Emmerich (whose respect for both history and science can be gauged from his earlier work) actually believes this tosh.

Amadeus is a film I find unutterably boring, though I don't know much either Mozart or Salieri.

In a nutshell, there's just no reason to think Salieri either hated or killed Mozart, though I assume there was the normal amount of professional jealousy. I like P. D. Q. Bach's "A Little Nightmare Music," in which Salieri accidentally kills Mozart while trying to kill Peter Schaeffer.

Another title for this great piece might be "why do people want to insult the father of modern English-language literature instead of coming up with a real idea for a film" -- but then that would take that thinkin' thang.

Still in New Orleans but I read the piece -- and the movie concept made me want to projectile vomit.

Just asking: what did The Patriot do for you? (My favourite historians on history_spork had fun with it -
http://history-spork.livejournal.com/2329.html )

*runs away*

I HATE the Patriot. Whatever they did with it isn't torture enough.

Unfortunately, because Ina is a Jason Isaacs fan, we have a copy of this abomination, but I have managed to avoid watching it. I saw bits of Braveheart which was enough...

It's sooooo bad. Mel Gibson shouldn't be allowed near the production end of film. Braveheart is just as bad.

I guess my thought is Shakespeare also wrote boodles of poetry. And some of it is (to my under-educated eye and ear) quite good. So who are the conspiracy theorists proposing wrote those poems? If Shakespeare, why *wouldn't* he be good enough to write great plays too? If Oxford, nobles were allowed to write poetry; why *wouldn't* he take credit for those great poems?

I don't buy it.

Not only that, Oxford did write poetry ... and, believe me, you don't want to bother with it. The man who wrote that dross couldn't have written Shakespeare's Sonnets.

Got to admit this is a film I'm not prepared to touch even with a ten-foot pole... I really don't want to make myself that furious in the cinema.

I think the last Emmerich film I saw was The Day After Tomorrow and I laughed out loud at the 'science' in that.

I wouldn't mind if it was just a silly fictional historical romp around a minority idea. What pisses me off is the attempt to present this as a serious criticism of current orthodoxy because... it ain't.

I have two feelings about the whole thing - no, three if we include the Earl of Oxford could not write plays that were published after his death - second would be: it doesn't actually *matter* who wrote the plays and third suggesting a hick from the provinces couldn't possibly have written Shakespeare's plays is just snobbery, pure and simple.

I just watched Emmerich's '2012'. I laughed like a drain from, "The neutrinos have mutated..." to outflying the pyroclastic eruption of Yellowstone... in a small plane. Not to mention the other scientific inaccuracies and impossibilities (this guy doesn't mess about with mere implausibilities) that cropped up every other scene. It was hilariously, appallingly dreadful.

I think we might need a science_spork community for films like this...

This isn't the first film he has directed/produced/written (usually all three together) that buggered up history something shocking: see The Patriot and 10,000 B.C. not to mention the classic science bugger ups in the latter and Godzilla and The Day After Tomorrow and Independence Day.

The best thing you can say about Stargate is that it is just about watchable if you turned off your brain, and that it spawned the far superior (in places) Stargate SG-1 But then SG-1 had Richard Dean Anderson.

Also responsible for what I am told is a total mangling of Poul Anderson's The High Crusade made in Germany and, I believe, straight to video. (A rating of 4.4 on IMDB does rather give the game away!)

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