Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Shakespeare Was Gay! O Noes!

When I spotted this 11 Points article (via Reddit) that claims "11 Pieces of Evidence That Shakespeare Was Gay," I thought, "Oh, lord, here we go again." And at first read I thought, "Wow, terrible article with horrible points."


Then I, you know, actually read it. And I'd like to think that this was the author's whole point. First of all it's a humor site. Second, his point is pretty plainly "Look, I have to make a pretty ridiculous leap before any of these can be considered evidence of anything, but the fact that I'm presenting them as research shows that people have, in fact, tried to make exactly this case with exactly these points."


All the typical points are there -- he didn't love his wife, the sonnets are all about his love for another dude, too much cross dressing, you've heard them all before. A couple were new to me, though, like the urban legend that in the "original" Hamlet, the first letters of the last lines spelled out "I am a homosexual"? Come again? Given that there's really no such thing as a single "original", I'd still like to know what word supposedly started a line with the letter X.


Anyway, thought I'd post it and give the author a little acknowledgement for apparently being on the right and sane argument of the "We'll never know for sure, and really, does it even matter?" debate. It's an entertaining bit when you realize you're not supposed to take it seriously.



7 comments:

Ed Tyler said...

The word "homosexual" didn't originate until the 1890s.

Ian Thal said...

Thomas Garvey makes the case that Shakespeare was "straight" but operated in a milieu where he would have interacted with "gay" men all the time, and at least when patronage was involved, might have been "gay for pay."

Was Shakespeare queer? (I don't think so.)

Duane said...

Hi, Ian! I see you on Facebook a lot but didn't know if you were still hanging around ye olde blogge. Thanks for the link!

JM said...

Two very interesting articles both, Duane and Ian. However, both miss a very 'definitive' telling point of truth re: his sexuality: Shakespeare is always depicted--even by the "gay-sayers", you'll notice--wearing his earing in the "straight" earlobe.
'Proof' enough for me :) (Well, as good as some of the other stuff anyway.)

Duane said...

I do note your tongue firmly in your cheek, JM, though it brings up a funny controversy in my house. My girls, 8 and 6, only recently got their ears pierced and ever since they've been all about the earrings, when to change them, when will they get new ones, which ones should they wear today. Every now and then the question of their 4yr old brother will come up, with the standard "No earrings for boys!" answer. They'll tell me that out in the world they have, in fact, seen boys with earrings. This, in turn, leaves me with the argument that this is a relatively new development, and that back in grammie and grampy's day, boys would almost never be caught with an earring. To which they then say that Shakespeare had one, 400 years ago. At which point I mumble something about the Earl of Oxford and leave the room. My kids are much, much smarter than me.

Alexi said...

Dr Paul Menzer: "Scholars have come to an agreement that Shakespeare was (almost certainly) gay, bisexual, or straight."

Vin said...

I always assumed it was well known that he was into men. I had just imagined he was into both men and women. The Freddy Mercury of his generation, if you will. Dude loved to love, simple as that. Didn't matter who.