Friday, November 25, 2011

Mediocrity’s Tribute | First Things

The inimitable David Bentley Hart on the film Anonymous, which peddles the preposterous conspiracy theory that Shakespeare was really written by a minor and mediocre aristocrat, the Earl of Oxford. As Hart puts it, "It [the conspiracy theory] was born in 1920, in a book by a demented English Comtean whom Fate, with her unerring sense of poetic justice, had given the name J. Thomas Looney—a man whose ignorance was so profound it verged on a kind of genius." The interesting thing to me is how willing people are to believe any conspiracy theory, no matter how ludicrous and lacking in logic or evidence. Is it because it enables us to feel that we - unlike these other clods - are in the know and so smarter than everyone else?

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