Saturday, March 19, 2016

Today in old stories...

Above: a campaign made entirely of
vitriol, punching and mean Tweets.
You know how they say history repeats itself? Huh? Who says that? I don't know, people? Battlestar Galactica? It doesn't matter, just stick with me. The history that's repeating itself here is anti-immigration hysteria like the kind that's gripping western Europe what with the Syrian refugee crisis as well as the slow, racist burn of of our own, home-grown anti-immigrant sentiment. The very same sentiment that Republicans are now building their bids for the nomination on.

At 350 years, Thomas More narrowly
edged out Fury Road for 'longest time
spent in development hell.'
But whatever, we're going to talk about William Shakespeare. The British Library is scanning 300 documents from the 16th and early 17th centuries for an online exhibit about Shakespeare's life as part of the 400th anniversary of his death. Among these are a draft of a speech he wrote for a play called The Book of Sir Thomas More. Never heard of it? Yeah, me neither. Shakespeare collaborated on it with a few other writers, but it wasn't ever actually finished or even produced until 1964 starring Sir Ian MagGandolf.

The speech is in written in 'hand D,' which most scholars agree is Shakespeare's. This is based on the few surviving documents that actually have the writer's signature on them and are mostly things like business deals and lawsuits, because holy shit did people liked to sue each other back then. Usually while cross-dressing.
"Your honor I object...I mean, does no one else here
see that that's just Portia in disguise? Seriously?"

Because opinions that can't be expressed
with horn toots are too complex for some.
But what's cool about this speech for people who don't give a shit about Shakespeare's handwriting is that in the scene Thomas Moore is trying to quell an unruly mob who are flipping out because of, wait for it, immigrants. In this case Huguenots, who according to my extensive wiki-research were French Protestants who faced persecution at home and fled to England looking for a better, less murdery life only to be met by insecure asshats who want to blame them for all their problems.

Sound familiar? Yup, even back in the primitive sixteenth century when people thought that leeches were medical equipment and that there was a decent chance that any ocean voyage might end in sea monster attack, everyone knew that anti-immigration protestors were ignorant, xenophobic dicks.
"It's ok everybody, let him go. He's not a sea monster, just an immigrant.
Sorry friend, our mistake. You just can't be too careful these days..."

-16th century Londoners being more
reasonable than like half of electorate 

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