No Minister

Shakespeare in Heaven

Walter Mondale died a few days ago at the age of 93. A good innings by any standard.

Most people, perhaps even quite a few political tragics, would be unaware of Mondale, but he was fairly prominent part of the modern Democrat Party, rising to prominence from the mid-1960’s on as a Senator before serving as Vice-President in Jimmy Carter’s doomed administration.

He would then go on to run for the Presidency in 1984, where his Old Democrat ideas surrounding unions and taxation were soundly thrashed in a landslide loss to Ronald Reagan. After that he basically disappeared into the world of good works that used to be the destination of politicians, before the world of Washington D.C. influence and power-broking became the norm.

You can read about Mondale at the first link, which is Wikipedia, but it’s this article in McSweeny’s Magazine, riffing on Mondale’s death, that I thought you might find amusing. Mondale gets to heaven where he encounters The Bard and commits a gigantic faux pa:

So, Walter Mondale shows up in heaven the other day, and I’m all eager to talk to him because I’m kind of a political junkie — see Richard III — but before I can say anything, he’s like, “So?” And I’m like, “So, what?” And then he goes, “So, did you really write them?” And I’m like, “Write what?”

The writer has some fun with the well-known arguments around Shakespeare:

You guys weren’t going to tell me this? How has nobody ever mentioned this to me?

I look over, and Christopher Marlowe is giving Mondale that “stop talking” throat slash gesture thingy, but it’s too late. Apparently, whenever anyone shows up in heaven, someone pulls them aside and is like, “Don’t mention the Shakespeare authorship thing to you-know-you.”

But no one caught Mondale slipping in ’cause they all thought he was already dead. Fair enough. I thought he was dead too.

And then Shakespeare really gets pissed off:

So first of all, fuck that. Do you think it takes a long time to watch Hamlet? Try writing it. In verse. Also, when has this insane theory ever been applied anywhere else? “Gee, Hamilton was great. I bet Prince Charles really wrote that, not Lin-Manuel Miranda.” Or, “Fleabag was fun. I bet Sir Ringo Starr was behind that.” I mean, my name was on the marquee! 

Read the whole thing

Written by Tom Hunter

April 29, 2021 at 3:06 pm

One Response

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  1. For people interested in the Shakespeare authorship question, seek out “North of Shakespeare” (2011) by Dennis McCarthy.
    His theory that makes the most sense to me is that the plays published in Shakespeare’s lifetime were “reader’s digest” versions adapted by Shakespeare for the low-brow public stage and the versions published after Shakespeare’s death (that we now regard as Shakespeare’s work) were the original versions written by Sir Thomas North and purchased by Shakespeare for adaptation. Let’s face it, no-one going to the Globe Theatre in the early 17th century would sit through a Shakespeare play as we currently know it. The largely illiterate audience wanted fun and entertainment, not the long and erudite plays that were written by North partly to educate the sons of the nobility.


    April 29, 2021 at 5:25 pm

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