All Good Reading is Re-reading, Says the Philosopher King [short fiction]

In five days, on April 23, we will commemorate the 402 anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. I know that this means a lot to many people, and that it means nothing to too many others who have come across this fact. I do know that there are many, many others for whom this would mean something but for whom they nothing of it. I also understand that there are those for who tis would mean nothing even if they would come across this fact, mean nothing mostly because this Will Shakespeare has not and perhaps could not touch their lives at all in any way, and that for a variety of reasons or causes. But anyone who tries to tell me that social forces wrote Shakespeare’s plays–which is not exactly what any of his detractors are trying to say . . . let me now praise an exceptional Man, and I am not going to try to imitate an interview with him, although I will say, In Memoriam, Will. Am I being presumptuous? No? Pretentious? This I have heard. But then too bad for those who think commemorating Will’s death date is pretentious. Imagine the kind if thinking that would comets that conclusion, what would be going on in that mind, what that mind would think was important to think?

Yes, April 23, 1616 was the date of Shakespeare’s death. Will no longer in the world . . . but what of this world can we associate with his plays? If all before him were lost, what would the cost be? We could rebuild civilization based on his oeuvre? A question? Did I not say this in hyperbole once?

Of course, this date above is an Old Calendar date. In 1616, England was using the Julian Calendar. The Gregorian Calendar was introduced to Europe in October of the year Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, The Gregorian Calendar was not introduced in England until September 1752. I am not going to get into an explication of the differences of the Julian Calendar and the Gregorian Calendar, why and when and where they were used, when they co-existed, what calendar we use today, who used the Julian after the introduction of the Gregorian and for how long and  the possible whys that accompanied that.

When I say Europe, I mean to say Catholic Europe, which of course is not Protestant Europe or Eastern Orthodox Europe, all of them different ways of seeing more than just the religious in these distinctions–metaphysics is everything, you should know and would know if you weren’t so pathetically contemporary American. Metaphysics is not counting how many sprites fit on the head of a pin; and most of what you have called science is nothing more than another religion with its religiosity and one or another brand of mysticism instead of rationalism.

In a way we have forgotten about metaphysics, or should I say, have abandoned it, arrogantly assuming we have graduated beyond it, have advanced further than its once necessity could keep up with, being something someone might assume were . . . I have lost the train, here. And this being said without judgement, without rhetorical edge, if that were at all possible at any time anywhere; yes,  to say or not to say what I have herein and elsewhere about Catholic Europe and Protestant Europe, the Thirty Year’s War ongoing in my un-conscious?

I am not Protestant, thank God!

The Anglican Church is not a Protestant Church, if you want a note on what I am saying, trying to say, have tried to say in other times when saying something about Protestanism was necessary. Although there are many who might imagine the Anglican Church is a Protestant Church, it is not. Just because it is not longer a Church of the Seven Sacraments, as are the Catholic, the Russian Orthodox and Greek Orthodox Churches, let us use as examples; the Anglican Church is still a Church of Four Sacraments.

As if anyone listening wants to continue to think about this, about any of this–what then is the next point to make?

Let us come full circle or fully elliptical, in a couple of days we will be commemorating the 402nd anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. And I have no problem, as we should have no problems in understanding that Shakespeare wrote his plays. And why would this be of concern here unless it has come up again, as it has before in the popular imagination, that Shakespeare could not have written his plays, or simply did not write them, but then why do we imagine this yet again and again without any gain or fruit from this tree of dis-knowledge. And I have no issue with the existence of a Canon, the rejection of which is as blind as any detractor asserts was the efforts of Canon making, a lot less blind and arbitrary as the detractors would like to believe, their detraction often just as blind as they claim in classic projection syndrome.

There is no less known of Shakespeare than any other writer of his time; and we surprisingly know more about him than we do many others we have no questions about. I have always dismissed elitist critiques, as if he had to have been a university educated man–and my prejudice, having spent as much time in theater as I have, tends toward believing that if he had been university educated, would never have written as he had.

I have no patience for stupid people, I could say, do say sometimes; but then I often have more patience for those who are organically stupid as opposed to those who are ignorant in spite of their education, or who have allowed their limited education to eclipse everything they do not know, or can know. This is also a stupidity, maybe of another kind. Hubris? Let us not get sidetracked. Another way of saying let us not go off on another tangent?

Intellectual hubris is very annoying. I have zero patience for those who assume because they know nominally of what I know they know the same as I, like students in my ESOL classes who want to debate facts of the English language as if we were equals in knowledge . . . and then that says something too, does it not, of them, of me, of unqualified supervisors who spend most of their time co-opting subordinates in doing his job, and other managing what he should be doing while he gets paid for his un-job to do his own work for his own on line companies, all in an ever growing self-delusion that no one sees what he is doing or has done.

What then must anyone say about anything he knows–humility always, yes, no, what then does perhaps really mean? Yes, just be humble and try not to pull the intellectual rug out from anyone, especially those who do not know what they should and have been either faking or have been put in the position of authority for reasons completely unrelated to anything that has anything to do with the job to fulfill–but is that what I do when I show someone he really does not know what the fuck he is talking about when he talks Shakespeare?

Too bad, but I have read Hamlet six times, and everything at least once.

All good reading is re-reading.

If I could only be Philosopher King of the World.

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