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Tom Toles
Posted at 07:20 AM ET, 10/31/2011

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Which guy painted the prehistoric cave paintings? I mean it’s crucial to know which specific guy painted which ones and what his actual name was. We could have a movie about that.

Instead we have a movie about whether “Shakespeare” wrote Shakespeare’s plays. Evidently this is interesting. I don’t see why. Shakespeare was a guy who we know very little about in any case, so even if you are of the school of thought that studying a person’s life gives you meaningful insight into his art, knowing whether Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare isn’t going to get you far. The plays are what they are, and unfortunately, the changing English language puts them further and further out of reach. But “Shakespeare” now is not a person in any meaningful sense, it’s just a couple of syllables. But actually a cool name, as names go, so I vote we stay with that.

A slightly more interesting question is who we credit with authorship of the Reagan Era of Runaway Greed and Plundering. I guess I just tipped my hand as to my nominee. The “ideas” involved, something about a “supply side” problem of rich people needing MORE money, and a “Laffable Curve” that cutting taxes would fill the treasury, are about as hard to comprehend now as Shakespeare’s language. But the RESULTS are plenty plain and plenty less beautiful.

By  |  07:20 AM ET, 10/31/2011

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