•Christian Toth, off-off-Broadway actor and advertising worker, arguing YES (that it really was that guy who lived in Stratford-on-Avon)
•Gerit Quealy, journalist, NBC.com style editor, former actor, and part-time paleographer, arguing NO (that who it was — whether the Earl of Oxford, Anakin, or other — may be unclear, but it wasn’t that guy)
Moderated by Michel Evanchik and hosted by Todd Seavey.
Basement level of Lolita Bar at 266 Broome St. at the corner of Allen St. on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, one block south and three west of the Delancey St. F, J, M, Z subway stop.
By the way, since I enjoy it when people produce multiple revisionist theories that, whatever their individual merits, seem unlikely to be true all at the same time, I’ve long been amused by the existence of (A) the theory that science writer Francis Bacon wrote the Shakespeare plays and (B) the theory that Shakespeare wrote the King James Bible. If both were true, the man most often condemned for inventing scientific hubris would also be responsible for the text most often wielded by those condemning it, which would be a neat trick. I don’t expect either of these theories to be decisive in next Wednesday’s debate, though.
And a thought on Elizabethan fashion: I have ventured in the past, perhaps unwisely, to explain my view that there is something fundamentally strange about the relationship between breasts and fashion, in that breasts are on some level de facto “sex organs” that one would think ought not to appear in public at all — akin to testicles — yet so much effort goes into displaying them in what can sometimes be deemed a “classy” fashion, depending on precisely which parts of them you show and in what way.
By contrast, a man in today’s world attempting to show off his crotch in just the right way to seem respectable would be regarded as engaged in a fool’s errand. Here a bright and shiny, unambiguous line exists. You simply don’t show off the crotch, at least in respectable circles. Nor do you head off to a business meeting or a gala fundraising ball asking which buttock you will display. Breasts are unique, I contend, and thus it seems far more could be written about what the unconscious rules at work here are than, to my knowledge, has been. Yet mention this to the average woman, who presumably has to worry about this question, and my guess is that you’ll be regarded as causing more trouble by raising the issue than society has caused by foisting the ambiguous breast-display rules on us.
I mention all this in the context of the Elizabethans not merely because they appreciated decolletage but because in their era males did face a comparable dilemma: whether to wear an ostentatious codpiece. How might modern fashion — and even mate selection — be affected if the codpiece were to make a comeback, I wonder? (I should discuss all this with my favorite neo-traditionalist fashion advisor and my friend with the evolutionary psychology Ph.D. who’s visiting soon — and my apologies for saying in a previous entry that she’s still a grad student.)
More He-Man Reflections
In other performing arts news, Wikipedia notes that “[d]uring its [impending] tenth season, Smallville will beat the Guinness World Record for longest consecutive running United States sci-fi television show — currently held by Stargate SG-1.” Impressive for a show originally just meant to be about Clark Kent’s years in high school before he became Superman. Stargate, of course, is a whole thriving, Star Trek-sized franchise with spin-offs now, so it arguably wins the real battle — but then again, Smallville is hardly the only element of the Superman franchise.
I gather the impending tenth season is building up to the invasion of Earth by the planet Apokolips, ruled by the evil Darkseid and fought over by the New Gods (who go around pinging their Mother Boxes in public), all creations from forty years ago of the most important comics artist, Jack Kirby. It should be interesting to see those cosmic, nigh-psychedelic characters depicted by human actors — and I wish the dialogue sounded like Kirby’s half-crazy, bombastic “word jazz,” though I suspect it won’t.
Some would argue, though, that we have already seen an “unofficial” live-action New Gods movie, two decades ago — except that it was called Masters of the Universe and featured characters referred to as “Skeletor” and “He-Man” instead of Darkseid and his rebellious abandoned son Orion. The director apparently admits to being influenced by Kirby, which is to his credit. I am unaware of George “Dark Side” Lucas making a similar admission. And where does the Earl of Oxford fit into all this?
If this month’s debate doesn’t sound quite political enough for you, consider e-mailing me (at the address given on the “About/Contact” page, not at this site’s URL, which will get you nowhere) to sign up for monthly e-mails about the other event I host, the Manhattans Project bar gatherings for politics/media people (now each third-Monday-of-the-month at Langan’s)…
and/or catch me and some no doubt political acquaintances (including the aforementioned neo-traditionalist) for brunch at Vermilion (with its easily-colonized sofas) in Old Town Alexandria (1120 King St.) on Sunday, June 6 (1pm)…
and/or remember to watch Fox’s FreedomWatch with Andrew Napolitano, moving from the Internet to cable the weekend after that, with a little help from me as a writer/producer.