Is Shakespeare to blame for the negative connotations of skin disease?
No, of course not, it's a silly pseudo-scientific question that doesn't deserve a response. But that is apparently the quality of paper being presented to the British Association of Dermatologists these days. The logic goes like this: Shakespeare had characters insulting each other based on their complexion, therefore *his* success has led to the perpetuation of negativity toward skin disease."
Luckily, the article takes this "research" about as seriously as I do:
“Has any writer in history ever suggested that the symptoms of skin disease are attractive? And have audiences for the last 400 years really been coming out of theatres saying ‘Ah yes – I’d nearly forgotten – pox is to be avoided. What a genius Shakespeare was!’ Next week: has the fairy tale of Snow White been creating a misleadingly favourable impression of dwarfism?”In other news, Shakespeare's popularity is also responsible for cross-dressing, bed-tricks and the occasional regicide.