When I read Aleister’s post detailing the ludicrous trigger warning issued by Georgetown’s radical feminists for Christina Hoff Sommer’s talk, I was taken aback by this tweet from from an attendee of an event for the Association of Writing and Writing Programs.

After I got done rolling my eyes, I realized that it is unlikely that any one of these geniuses will be remembered for their writing in 40 years…much less 400 years.

This is compared to one very white, very straight man known as William Shakespeare, who was born on this day in 1564.

Although the plays of William Shakespeare may be the most widely read works in the English language, little is known for certain about the playwright himself. Some scholars even believe the plays were not written by William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon but by some other well-educated, aristocratic writer who wished to remain anonymous.

Shakespeare’s father was probably a common tradesman. He became an alderman and bailiff in Stratford-upon-Avon, and Shakespeare was baptized in the town on April 26, 1564. At age 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, and the couple had a daughter in 1583 and twins in 1585. Sometime later, Shakespeare set off for London to become an actor and by 1592 was well established in London’s theatrical world as both a performer and a playwright. His earliest plays, including The Comedy of Errors and The Taming of the Shrew, were written in the early 1590s. Later in the decade, he wrote tragedies such as Romeo and Juliet (1594-1595) and comedies including The Merchant of Venice (1596-1597). His greatest tragedies were written after 1600, including Hamlet (1600-01), Othello (1604-05), King Lear (1605-06), and Macbeth (1605-1606).

I doubt any of these young scholars have seen the inside of a Western Civilization course, so I thought I might use this day as a “teaching moment”.

Because any day when I can taunt raving, man-hating feminist lunatics is a good one, I also wanted to celebrate the birth of this literary legend by sharing some of my favorite moments from his plays. I invite Legal Insurrection readers to add their favorites, too.

However, given how much we love Professor Jacobson, perhaps we should dispense with Henry VI?

LI #24a Kill the Lawyers

One of my favorite movie moments that features a straight, white male is from Henry V, The Speech on the Eve of Saint Crispin’s Day:

The fact that the piece celebrates warriors, instead of forcing them into red high heels as some sort of sick homage to feminism, is an extra bonus.

Here is another great Shakespeare moment in film, featuring another straight, white man…in the form of a very young and very appealing Marlon Brando.

My son and I just watched this together, as he was actually covering the play in his English class.

Finally, as an Egyptophile, I have to conclude with my very favorite part of “Antony and Cleopatra” (even though it does celebrate a queen).

One thing’s for certain: I will be celebrating William Shakespeare’s birthday much more robustly than I did Earth Day yesterday!


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