It’s Shakespeare, darlings, try not to screw it up.
Several years ago I went on a trip with my husband and there was this guy walking around wearing a red and white t-shirt with a picture of Shakespeare on it and the caption read, “This shit writes itself.” For some reason at that very moment it struck me as being one of the most completely ridiculous things ever and I laughed until there were tears streaming down my face.
I’m taking something of a social web break at the moment, or really, I’m checking in on the web less and getting some work done, or I’m trying to post less, or…well, really, who can quit this thing? Changing habits takes dedication and time, one step forward, etc. So I check in on the interwebs today and I see this meme…
and what I want to say is, Come on, people! Really?
I will be the first to admit that I am not necessarily the most well read person, certainly not as authors go. I’ve read things that have crossed my path in one way or another along particular lines over the years and for many years, avoided reading some things because I wanted to learn how to write like “me” first, and other such thinking. That is to say that I’ve actually thought about what I was feeding my brain, and sometimes over-thought it. ( That makes it sound like I haven’t read anything, and you know that isn’t true.) In fact, I’m generally flabbergasted by the number of books that some people have read, some, my husband among them. He’s read Don Quixote, and a list of other thick books that impress me and that I’ve got on my list of things that I’d like to read and plan to read and so on but I’m digressing, so before I completely derail this with why I like smart men and all of the real and true other reasons why I’m catching up on my reading, or why I got so far behind on it to begin with, let me get to the point and that is that you shouldn’t have to be a terribly well-read person to know that Shakespeare didn’t write the quote that is written in that meme, that meme is “Things that Shakespeare didn’t say,” times a million.
This kind of thing is dangerous to the overall level of intellect of our society, of the world.
Oh come on, Teri, it’s just a silly meme.
Well, the thing is that, yes, it is just a silly meme, and one would hope that most people are smart enough to figure out that Shakespeare never said that. However, the fact that such a meme exists means that someone either thought that they were being funny, which is one thing, okay. Or someone thought that Shakespeare really said it, or someone thought that they could pass it off that way. Or someone had something that they wanted to say and thought that maybe it would get read more if they slapped Shakespeare’s name on it, which is kind of ironic if you know that there are those who believe, think, that perhaps Shakespeare was more than one author.
A little surfing around and it seems that part of the quote was appropriated from a poem by William Arthur Ward.
But also attributed to Hemingway.
Well, they’re all dead. Why does it matter if they are being misquoted or if those quotes are being attributed inaccurately?
Have you ever been accused of saying something that you didn’t say? Or had someone leave out part of what you said so that the meaning of what you actually said is either changed or eradicated? ( Taken out of context?)
Sometimes that stems from genuine confusion. Sometimes people aren’t listening to what was actually said. Sometimes, we call that lying. Sometimes we say, “Well, I don’t care what they say. I know what I said.” And it really doesn’t matter to us. Other times, it might matter quite a bit depending on the circumstances. It’s been my experience that most squabbles, fights, between most anyone could have been resolved with some honest communication between the parties. Sometimes there are other issues, ideological and so on, of course, but again, I’m digressing.
What about the fact that right there are three writers who could have said it, according to these memes that people randomly circulate generally without much consideration for the source, I post them too sometimes, and that that is someone’s work.
Do you think that it doesn’t matter whose work it really is? Because they are selling William Arthur Ward drinkware at Zazzle and for my money, twenty-eight bucks is a hefty price for a coffee cup. But what do I know? I buy coffee cups at thrift stores and would pay forty bucks for a set of KISS mugs if I could get my rationale for it right. ( not really, maybe, I don’t know… but something else though, something equally cool.)
So, that means it kind of matters to whom the work really belongs, especially to those looking for things to make a buck off of. Just ask Gene Simmons. Or Prince. Or Taylor Swift. Or Adele.
You see, the thing is that most people tend to think that societies, worlds, empires, are destroyed in a day, in one fell swoop, in one great battle, the bomb, but that really isn’t how it happens.
How it happens is that they, whoever they are, start taking pebbles away from the base of a mountain and everyone says, “Oh well, it’s just a few pebbles, don’t make such a big deal out of it. It’s harmless, who cares.”
And then this taking of a few pebbles from the base of a mountain becomes accepted practice or behavior and no one notices it anymore or thinks about it anymore or pays any attention to it anymore.
“What are they doing over there at the base of the mountain with those buckets?”
Destabilizing everything above it from the bottom.
About the time when someone realizes that that’s what is going on, is when the fighting to save whatever it is begins. Then there are the big battles and all of that stuff that people tend to think are what destroy whatever it is or was when really, it was all of the pebbles that were being taken away from the base for however long.
These silly memes and things like them, they’re pebbles, in a way, being taken away from the base of our intellect, of our smarts as a society, it’s a very subtle part of the dumbing-down of everything.
Well, why do you need to know who really said that? Why do you need to be able to ascertain the truth? Who cares, it’s just a silly meme!
In other words, that’s how societies get owned, one person at a time. It’s not the meme itself, that meme is just a symptom of a bigger thing that is going on, it’s just one of the pebbles.
So, are you paying attention? I mean, just ask yourself that question. I don’t expect to change anyone’s mind or even that a significant number of people will understand what I’m saying about this as something not to fight over,or argue about, but to understand. The main thing that got me about it was that they didn’t even put any effort into it. I mean, it’s supposed to be Shakespeare who said that, right?