Shakespeare is not “woke”

“William Shakespeare, thou hast been getting canceled.

An increasing number of woke teachers are refusing to study the Bard — accusing his classic works of promoting “misogyny, racism, homophobia, classism, anti-Semitism, and misogynoir.”

A slew of English literature teachers told the School Library Journal (SLJ) how they were ditching the likes of “Hamlet,” “Macbeth” and “Romeo and Juliet” to instead “make room for modern, diverse, and inclusive voices.”

“Shakespeare was a tool used to ‘civilize’ Black and brown people in England’s empire,” insisted Shakespeare scholar Ayanna Thompson, a professor of English at Arizona State University.” foxnews

Comment: Well, well pilgrims. I had two semesters of Shakespeare long ago and his golden words ring in my head to this day. “Let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings.” In this case it would seem that we will sing sad songs of the death of literature.

Last night I watched Harvard professor Henry Lewis Gates and his show “Finding your roots.” It is Black history month. His subjects were two Black or semi-Black people. These are people who are very successful, very rich and very well known.

Gates’ focus was on what he sees as the utter iniquity of all those who ever held slaves and the need to remember and hold bitterness against them and their descendants in the hearts of all Black people, forever apparently.

Gates is himself part White, is a member of the Sons of the American Revolution and is descended from A White Revolutionary War soldier who was a trooper in the Virginia Light Dragoons. What is the chance that the man did not own slaves? Does Gates hate himself?

In the course of his “instruction” of his male guest, Gates so upset the man that the interview had to be halted for a few weeks so that the man could recover some measure of self-control. It was evident that what Gates had accomplished with this pop-star was to permanently inspire in him a hatred for White people that will never fade.

These “teachers” who want The Bard to be eliminated from human memory should think of what they are doing to the possibility that we might live together in peace. pl

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35 Responses to Shakespeare is not “woke”

  1. Fred says:

    “…think of what they are doing to the possibility that we might live together in peace.”

    There’s a great push to destroy Western culture. It’s sad to see that Gates has become part of the putsch.

  2. fakebot says:

    “Shakespeare was a tool used to ‘civilize’ Black and brown people in England’s empire.”

    By that same logic they should stop teaching in English!

    Personally, I’m grateful to the English for civilizing me, and I’m grateful for their humor:

    • Mark K Logan says:


      Attempting to use Shakespeare as a tool to civilize was the subject of a humorous article based on the experiences of colonialists attempting to do so, didn’t work real well sometimes. It’s a fair bet that wasn’t pursued with great diligence. “Shakespeare In The Bush”. Worth a google.

  3. Barbara Ann says:

    My computer’s spell-checker is not woke either as “misogynoir” was not recognized – I hope those responsible have been dragged off to the Gulag. I’d best denounce myself too, as I am ashamed to say that I was unfamiliar with this word.

    From the Fox piece: Sarah Mulhern Gross, an English teacher at High Technology High School in Lincroft, NJ, said she was teaching “Romeo and Juliet” “with a side of toxic masculinity analysis.”

    One wonders whether modern interpretations of Macbeth will exonerate the good Lady and find that she was the innocent victim of toxic masculinity too. Othello presents more difficulties I would guess, though I’m sure his murder of Desdemona can be contextualized as his being a victim of racism – perhaps even misandrynoir.

    The New Cultural Revolution sweeping the Western world will spare no one. These ‘educators’ had better keep up. Wokeism will never be satisfied until all remnants of literature & our wider culture are expunged. Then like a ravenous ouroboros, it will finally consume itself.

  4. akaPatience says:

    Racist blacks risk creating racist whites by promoting such measures. Maybe that’s the point and part of the agenda, since we know white racism doesn’t exist to the extent stated by woke, divisive leftists.

    Ever since “women’s studies” and “African-American studies” hit college campuses a couple of decades ago, I’ve observed a spike in victimization, perpetual grievance, and outright hatred coming from some women and blacks, many who have never actually been victimized. But resentment, to say the least, is unfortunately inculcated as part of the curricula of these studies.

    Do away with Shakespearean studies??? Are you kidding me? His plays show us what it is to be human, warts and all! Considering how ubiquitous multi-racial coupling is these days, one would think “Othello” would be required reading. SMH…

  5. Tidewater says:

    “To be or not to be tuned in, that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the ranting mumbo-jumbo of old inclusive academic trim, or to take oars against a Sargasso sea of troubled T-V shows. And by opposing end them…Ay, there’s the rub. “

    • Barbara Ann says:

      We few, we happy few, we band of gender neutral siblings;
      For hir to-day that sheds hirs blood with me
      Shall be my gender neutral sibling; be hir ne’er so vile,
      This day shall gentle hirs condition;
      And gentlepeople in England now a-bed
      Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
      And hold their personhoods cheap whiles any speaks
      That fought for social justice with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

      – Henry V addressing his Social Justice Warriors on the eve of battle.

      • Pat Lang says:

        Barbara Ann

        “One more unto the breach dear friends, once more or close the wall up with our English dead.” Henry V at Harfleur in Shakespeare’s play. I can’t begin to tell you how many times that sentence rang in my inner self.

        • Barbara Ann says:

          Glad to hear it, Sir – then the Bard has done his job.

          I can only think anyone wishing such literature gone must be entirely missing an “inner self”.

      • Cortes says:

        St. Quentin Crisp’s Day, surely?

        Don’t call me Shirley!

        More seriously, when my father in law – private in the Cameronians during the crossing of the Rhine, and earlier trained for alpine warfare in anticipation of a campaign in Norway – succumbed to pancreatic cancer after four long years of struggle, his daughters found consolation in the great

        Fear no more the heat o’ the sun…

        • Barbara Ann says:

          Cortes, yes Quentin Crisp Day works well.

          Who knows, perhaps the very word ‘woke’ is someone’s idea of Shakespearean humor. Are we all shortly to be advised by an honest Puck that all this craziness has just been a dream? Sometimes this seems the most rational explanation for the madness. A close second is that I fell down a rabbit hole sometime in early 2020.

  6. Tidewater says:

    ‘The play’s the thing.’
    There’s no appeal.
    Ebonics Not
    That big a deal.

    (I never did)
    Try Burma Shave.

  7. Ken Roberts says:

    The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

  8. AK says:


    His plays show us what it is to be human, warts and all!

    This is exactly why Shakespeare and all the classical humanities are being targeted. The notion of a universal human nature is the foundation of the individual freedom and responsibility which gave rise to American culture and governance. It is an antithetical obstacle to the kinds of radical social experimentation and engineering that these people seek to implement. It is also antithetical to the kinds of group segmentation and inter-group animosity that animates their very raison d’etre. If they can do away with human nature, then the road to utopia is clear.

    It also doesn’t help his cause that The Bard was the single greatest craftsman of the English language, or perhaps of any language, in human history. One need only consult the epilogue to Orwell’s 1984 to see how important control of the linguistic domain is in the crusade of the utopians. EngSoc attacked, degraded, and defiled the English language in order to replace it with one of their own making, so as to eliminate the ability to think critically and logically. This ability must be curtailed for social control to be fully effective. In Oregon, the Dept. of Education is now attacking mathematics to the tune of “finding the right answer” is “perpetuating white supremacy.” They are encouraging teachers to come up with at least two “acceptable” answers to every math problem. This is not just misguided ideological idiocy. It is purposeful.

    Col. Lang mentions in his post that these teachers should think about what their efforts do to the possibility of all of us living together in peace. They do think about it, just not in the manner that sensible people would, should, or do. They know full-well that this kind of pedagogy only inculcates resentment and animosity among peoples, and that’s the point. The post-modern worldview, in all its infantile and simplistic glory, sees the world as nothing but a power struggle and sees people as nothing more than avatars of a particular group. Thus, there never was and can never be peace among individuals, and the end of power acquisition justifies all means.

    Were racial harmony among all peoples of the earth to suddenly break out and persist for all time, the high priests of woke-ism would suddenly find their uselessness laid bare, and they’d be forced to engage in productive, cooperative pursuits with their fellow citizens for the preservation and betterment of a good society. They are psychologically crippled people for whom this sort of thing is impossible, so they’ll do whatever they can and need to in order to make sure such is never expected of them. If we all have to live in misery with them at the top of the heap, well, that’s just the broken eggs required to make the omelette.

  9. Gatun Lake says:

    After having watched this cult , that is what it is…a cult, destroy one of the great theatrical art institutions in our country, nothing amazes me. That the said art institute has Shakespeare in it’s title made it even sadder.
    I thank the lord that for 40 years Bill put food on my table, educated me to many aspects of life and indeed, whatever small personal glory I’ve attained has been uttering his words.
    In my inner voice I call him “my man” or “my n***a”, his being catholic, lower class having a universality one can relate to…he’s been a part of Black American culture for 200 yrs and our best were masters of his work. But, perhaps I’m just another self hating brother…sigh. One of my colleagues calls these kinds of woke practitioners “the enemy within”. Black American culture is many things but mostly, it’s American culture and like other americans some are lost and some are not…

    Side note: Tattoo is glorious for many reasons, not the least of which, being able to spend time in memories of the Canal Zone, memories of the mid sixties WWII veteran army my father served in and lastly, the effect different cultures, american and foreign have on us. Thank you.

  10. Deap says:

    How long do we hold young Germans today accountable for what happened during some our own life times? What reparations would allow Germans today escape their own version of eternal hell fire and damnation.

  11. Eric Newhill says:

    I’m pretty sure that living in peace is not a high priority on their agenda. In fact, as far as I’m concerned, they have already clearly declared on Western civilization and the people who’s superior intelligence and sensitivities built it (whites, of course). Sure, they be happy if Shaka Zulu could merely shake his spear and all of the whites would surrender and/or commit suicide and hand over the goodies. That would be closer to their vision of “peace”. However, these idiots are not averse to resorting to other means, from aggressive coercion to outright violence, if necessary.

  12. Tidewater says:

    Miss Sarah Mulhern G.
    Resplain de ecknowledge tree.
    Alldo’ sawtuh preachy,
    Laa’n we disso fuh Geechee.
    Dat gal awright wid me!

  13. jerseycityjoan says:

    This is depressing. I just read an article at the Washington Post about four more newspapers including the New York News being bought up by Alden Global Capital which has a history of buying newspapers and drastically cutting staff, hollowing them out and selling their real estate assets.

    Reading newspapers and reading and studying English literature are essential to a good education. They are important ways Americans become knowledgeable and rational and think for themselves. There is no replacement for them, in my opinion.

    These teachers are not eliminating Shakespeare on their own. They are telling their department heads about their plans and I assume the department heads are telling their bosses. I don’t think this movement is not coming from the students and their parents are asking for this although that will change as these teachers turn the public against anything that is not contemporary and meets their woke standards.

    I feel sorry for kids who never had Shakespeare and other classics in high school but encounter them in college. They will be at a disadvantage.

    Are we going to get rid of all of our culture — art, music, books and plays — because all of the creative people from the past do not meet our standards? What about religion? None of the people in the past we read about who founded or influenced or preached or believed in any of mankind’s religions meets our standards of today.

    I don’t see how the woke can approve of God. He gave us a very imperfect world full of death and unfairness. Once you start on the wokeness path there is no end to it, everything and everybody is wrong, including other woke people who disagree with you.

  14. Rick Merlotti says:

    The Wokies don’t have to burn the classics, they’ll just disappear them down the memory hole. Thanks for posting the Greek transitions. You’ve built a little Ark of classical thinking here. May an unborn discover it and revive with it a human, human culture.

  15. Skippy Handelman says:

    I thought Fox News was verboten these days to the anti-Dreyfusard Vichy Republicans…

  16. John Merryman says:

    The turtle is still plodding along, long after the rabbit has died.

  17. Cynthia says:

    Notice when woke folks mention “Blacks” and “browns” in the same sentence, they’ll oftentimes uppercase “Blacks” and lowercase “browns”(as is shown here in Col. Pat’s post).

    Which goes to show that despite blacks and browns both being “people of color,” they somehow see browns are being beneath Blacks. And since they see whites on the very bottom rung of the race ladder, they see whites are being even further beneath Blacks. That alone should tell you that woke folks are promoting racial supremacy, not the anti-woke folks who adamantly oppose them and their oftentimes anti-brown and always anti-white bigotry!

  18. Tidewater says:

    You can take your chance with a Gotham lit crew
    Or writing free verse at a bar.
    You can get okey-doke with an impi of woke.
    You can click poison pen from afar.

    Oh, it’s never so hard when there’s allies at hand
    Like a complicit Marxist review.
    But to stand and be still to a Gut-check lit drill
    When a wise old standard is looking at you.

    Then it’s the Canon on the right of you,
    If not volleying and thundering–
    It’s seeing right through!
    Canon on the left of you also, etc. —
    When you know that they know that you’ve got to do bettera.

    Now to stand and be still to the Gutcheck lit drill,
    That’s a damn tough bullet to chew.
    (Particularly, over a century or two.)
    But they stood it, the writers,
    The great British writers.
    Our steady Canonical few!

  19. The Twisted Genius says:

    Misogynoir – First I thought that was a misspelling or misquote by Fox. Then I looked it up. It’s a real word, newly created, but real. I wonder if there is a word for the victimology of rightwing white people as in Trump declaring we are all victims now. If everyone’s a victim, who the hell is doing the victimizing? For God’s sake, sack up people.

    The Fox article doesn’t do justice to the linked “School Library Journal” article. The first discussed answer to how to teach Shakespeare was to continue teaching him and show his relevancy through contemporary authors and experiences. I see nothing wrong with that. In fact, I applaud that approach. Others who want to ditch Shakespeare altogether for contemporary literature are, in my opinion, wrong. Shakespeare is central to the study of English literature, just as many dead white men are central to American literature. But it doesn’t have to end there. There is plenty of contemporary literature and literature from other cultures worthy of study. Expanding the teaching of literature beyond the classics is not erasing Anglo-American culture. It’s enriching it.

    • Pat Lang says:

      TTG et al

      “Expanding the teaching of literature beyond the classics is not erasing Anglo-American culture. It’s enriching it.” C’mon sir or madam. A platitude. Who said it was not enriching?

      • The Twisted Genius says:

        The central cry from right wingers and conservatives is that Western Civilization is being erased from the pages of history. Footnotes and margin scribblings are being added, maybe even new chapters, but our civilization is not being erased. If anything, stories ling hidden are being brought to light.

        • Pat Lang says:

          TTG et familia
          It is interesting that you all keep trying to define the concerns of conservatives, none of which you share.

          • The Twisted Genius says:

            This talk of erasing Western Civilization has been around for years. I didn’t invent it. I just hear it. And i certainly don’t share it. Rush Limbaugh dedicated an entire show to the subject in 2015 saying, “We’re erasing Western Civilization. It is a creep, creep, creep, creep, creep through various means. Illegal immigration, normal immigration, intimidation, political correctness, what have you. But Western civilizations are pretty much in the process of erasing themselves, in my view, anyway.” I haven’t checked, but I doubt that was his last word on the subject. In response to the efforts to remove the Lee monument, Senator Amanda Chase said in Richmond this year, “Let’s be honest here, there is an overt effort here to erase all white history.” And here’s two recent book titles: “Erasing America: Losing Our Future by Destroying Our Past” and “The War on History: The Conspiracy to Rewrite America’s Past.” Tucker Carlson said of the first, “A brilliant book based on a true concept.”

            A more visceral expression of this idea was the right wing nut jobs of the “Unite the Right” Rally trooping around with their torches chanting “Jews will not replace us” or alternatively “You will not replace us.” Although I will fully understand if you consider these right wingers as not true conservatives.

  20. Cynthia says:

    Cancelling Shakespeare will result in more dumb things like the dumb thing white woke Andrea Mitchell did recently. She tried to correct Sen Cruz’s reference to the phrase: “sound and fury”, claiming it originally came from Faulkner, not Shakespeare.

    Not only was Andrea dumb for first not doing a quick & easy fact-check before posting her false tweet. She was also dumb for not knowing that Cruz is one of the sharpest knives in the Senate drawer, meaning the likelihood of him misquoting anyone is near zero!

    BTW, Andrea’s excuse for making this mistake is she doesn’t know English literature like she knows American literature. Which really gets back to why the entire woke culture is both a dumbing-down of and an assault on everything that’s Worthy & Wonderful about the West!

    • AK says:

      Apparently, Andrea Mitchell has a BA in English Literature from UPenn. Seriously.

      • Pat Lang says:

        So what. Napoleon said that he had mules in his artillery who had been in a dozen campaigns, but that he did not want to promote them.

        • AK says:


          My comment was meant to imply that even a BA in English Literature from UPenn doesn’t necessarily instill an understanding of the subject in the recipient. Definitely not a defense of Mitchell. My point was that she should know Shakespeare, and the fact that she doesn’t is telling in several respects.

    • Skippy Handelman says:

      One of the “sharpest knives in the Senate drawer” is vacationing in Cancun while his constituents freeze — political nous.

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