- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lost Shakespeare?

“In 1727, Lewis Theobald staged a performance of Double Falsehood, a play he claimed was a ‘lost’ work by William Shakespeare. At the time — more than 100 years after Shakespeare’s death — critics dismissed the play as a fake, and it was quickly forgotten.

“It was forgotten, that is, until this week — when Shakespeare publisher Arden Shakespeare once again put the play back into print. The publisher did so based on the evidence and research of literature professor Brean Hammond of the University of Nottingham in England. The play is a story of love and betrayal, a dark comedy in which one man wants to steal his best friend’s fiancee. Its alternate title is ‘The Distrest Lovers.’

“Hammond told NPR’s Renee Montagne that he has linked the play to another that Shakespeare helped to write around 1613. ‘Shakespeare is known to have collaborated with John Fletcher in writing a play called “The History of Cardenio,” or some variant of that title,’ he said.

“The play was performed but disappeared from the record. Hammond believes that Theobald’s Double Falsehood was a ‘heavy revision’ of the play, with a new title.”

From “Scholar Says ‘Lost’ Shakespeare Play Is No Hoax,” on March 18 at National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition”

Lost manhood

“Speaking of battlefields, [Eric] Massa’s Naval career antics have been dredged up to prove a pattern of abuse. Do we really have to view the sailors who never filed complaints as ‘victims’? They’re not women. This happened in a volunteer Navy. Guys: if you can’t deal with the occasional overbearing bisexual prankster, please don’t join up. …

“‘Taking it like a man’ means dealing with the unacceptable without tattling to the principal. If it’s controversial to call men out for behaving like middle school maidens, it shows that feminism-for-men is now America’s white-collar default setting. …

“We need to bring back the double standard. If Massa had groped, tickled or bothered his female staffers, I would not be saying the same things. Men and women aren’t identical: our bodies make us vulnerable, and decent honorable guys will be mindful of this. Every culture has gender roles. While we don’t want these to be ridiculously inflexible, we need, in some areas of life, to preserve different attitudes for guys and gals. …

“Massa’s egregious behavior was a character-building exercise for his male staffers. Three, at the very least, appear to have flunked the test. Underneath all the talk of ethics, this is a big part of what happened. Increasingly, Americans view every uncomfortable test of individual character as nothing but oppression or abuse. When adult males report each other for salty language, infantile crudeness and tomfoolery, they lose their credibility.”

Tracy Quan, writing on “Role Call,” on March 23 at Splice Today

Lost expectations

“Yes, Monday night’s premiere of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ whipped up more confusion than anyone would’ve expected, from the comeback of ‘Rock Star’ host and post-pregnancy-corsette peddler Brooke Burke to the unexpectedly suave hip swivels and semi-masochistic training techniques favored by Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco.

“Who would’ve thought for a second that former demonizable sea donkerella Shannen Doherty would look lovely in her gown, then gesture her way awkwardly across the stage like a partially tranquilized farm animal? Who would’ve expected Doherty to sob openly after her performance, recognizing that it was Not Good, instead of scratching someone’s eyes out to squelch her self-doubt?

“Who would’ve guessed that Pamela Anderson would seem so human-like in her training session segments, compared to the strange, shiny mask-face, gigantic sea of teased extensions, and repetitive sucky-cheeked Tourette’s she offered up live and in person?

“Confusion seems to have taken hold of Kate Gosselin as well, who, despite sporting a hairstyle that doesn’t look terrible for the first time in about a decade, can barely form words or the dimmest of smiles in the company of her dance partner. She says she’s insecure, then proves it on the dance floor with a performance so leaden it would give lead itself a self-esteem boost.”

Heather Havrilesky, writing on “‘Dancing with the Stars’: The art of the comeback,” on March 23 at Salon

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