Hands Off Shakespeare

Don’t bar the bard.

In this time of bipartisan acrimony, many on the left and on the right share one point of consensus: Shakespeare is a problem.

Admittedly, this consensus exists at the ends of the spectrum, and chiefly among the professional prudes and scolds who inhabit those extremities. After a season in which most of the hits Shakespeare took were from the education professionals on the cultural left (he was misogynist, racist, bigoted, colonializing, and Eurocentric), he has been taking some from the right (he was smutty, profane, dallied with homosexuality, and is too hard to read). The most recent sally of this kind was a kerfuffle in Florida over the summer when Hillsborough County teachers decided, or were told, to cut the sexy parts from Shakespeare to avoid falling afoul of Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act. Then the Florida Department of Education jumped in and told teachers they can do full Shakespeare—for now.

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