The Independent

mischief for millions


| ,

America, The Lost Shakespearean Tragedy

Mischief for Millions: It's not some new game show, but it is a lethal game.

"When the English colonists sailed for the New World, they brought only their most precious and essential possessions with them, including the works of William Shakespeare."

The quoted site linked below goes on to extol this precious cargo's ubiquity, noting that de Tocqueville was amazed in the 1840's to find copies of the Bard even in the humblest of cabins. Indeed, Mr. Lincoln, the founder of a now unrecognizable Republican party, dog-eared such pages despite his young poverty.

And, so, it is perhaps fitting that the reputed last play old William is said to have penned concerns a shipwreck near to Bermuda, the ship destined for the new American colonies chartered by Elizabeth I, his sovereign. One passage in that play seems to conjure the future of that never-reached destination.

There be some sports are painful, and their labour
Delight in them sets off: some kinds of baseness
Are nobly undergone and most poor matters
Point to rich ends.
The Tempest (III, i)

Whether Shakespeare intended it is unknowable, yet it rings true for all times, in all nations, and particularly so-called democracies. Fearing both the mob and the elite, a balance was haltingly attempted. Alas, the 'poor matters' of that balancing have, over time, led to 'rich ends', for some, and certainly not the alleged 'mob'.

Some would argue that the Occupy Wall Street movement is a direct outgrowth of this and, simplisitically, they'd be correct, while incomplete. The true villainy is in the writing of this nation's history by, as is now axiomatic, the 'winners'.

And it is the teaching of that history which has, ironically, caused the now former students to know that history for the skewed version of the truth that is has been and remains.

One example: who among us (outside of law school) has ever heard of this 1823 Supreme Court case: "At the root of most land titles in America outside the original thirteen colonies sits a federal patent. The validity of government title, in turn, rests on '[t]he great case of Johnson v. M'Intosh,' which held that a discovering sovereign has the exclusive right to extinguish Indians' interests in their lands, either by purchase or just war."

Chief Justice Marshal, cousin to Thomas Jefferson, relies in his mostly editorial opinion (snobbishly known as 'dicta' to lawyers) on the 'Doctrine of Discovery', rooted in church (canon) law, from a time when the Vatican actually had its own courts whose rulings were literally supreme, even in so-called sovereign nations of Europe. (Our now trampled concept of usury grew out of these courts, as featured in the Bard's relevant work, 'The Merchant of Venice'). Remember that topic, The Line of Demarcation, Spain and Portugal getting the Pope to divvy-up the world between them. How adorable, taught blithely as part of 'ancient' history, as though it had no relevance to today. Try telling that to all the native peoples who now, like it or not, speak Spanish or Portuguese.

So there it is, early on in this republic, the precedent for legalized expropriation, and, now that the North American tribes have been essentially reduced to corrupted gambling oases, those who make extant law and enforce it have, well, run out of victims, their financial flim-flams, rooted in real estate and the housing built upon its shifting sands, run amok.

Still, let history be written (by whom? you may rightly ask) that these, the few, the proud, the serene, cannot fail -- they have the functional equivalent of a Pope seated in august robes upon the bench they inherited from Marshal.

Rest assured that future historians will euphemistically term Occupy Wall Street as a demilitarized 'martial law' occupation aimed at testing the efficacy of pepper spray and other benign tactics on the enemies within, in the interests of 'national security'.

Comment on Disqus

Comment on Facebook

Updated May 6, 2017 6:00 AM EDT | More details

AND Magazine AND MAGAZINE

©2017 AND Magazine, LLC
5 Columbus Circle, 8th Floor
New York, New York 10019 USA

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without express written permission from AND Magazine corporate offices. All rights reserved.