Commentary

Bye, Bye Bard: Penn’s ‘Snowflakes’ Banish Shakespeare

Leesa K. Donner
By Leesa K. Donner | December 14, 2016 | 2:11 PM EST

A detail of a portrait of William Shakespeare, presented by the Shakespeare Birthplace trust, as seen in March 2009. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

In the raging battle of culture wars – another one bites the dust. This time an English white male known as William Shakespeare has been removed from his prominent place at that bastion of Ivy League-ness, the University of Pennsylvania. English Department Chair Jed Esty confirmed that students removed Shakespeare’s portrait from its location in Fisher-Bennett Hall, as “a way of affirming their commitment to a more inclusive mission for the English department,” The Daily Pennsylvanian reported.

The American Spectator added the following:

“… Department Chair Jed Esty explained that the portrait was ‘delivered’ to his office and replaced with a photograph of Audre Lorde, a celebrated African American feminist and author, in a move that was intended to send a message to Esty, whose department agreed to replace the portrait several years ago.”

Now it’s true the average conservative might treat this news as nothing more than, “So what else is new?” And therein lies the problem. Bit by Bit leftists chip away at American culture while we barely notice.  This sad, slow surrender into submission ought to be replaced with outrage and indignation.

Knapping is the technique used to chip away at a hard surface. Often a hammer is used. For the first two hundred years of the American culture, we were undergirded by a bedrock of cultural moorings. Our surface was hard, fast and anchored to a morality that has turned soft with rot and neglect. Now a rubber mallet could do the job. Piece after piece of our culture now flakes away almost of its own accord, as the Spectator astutely pointed out:

“The insane 1960’s hippie leftovers who began hijacking academia in the 1970’s have spent decades placing a premium on ideology and feelings rather than learning. They probably didn’t expect to be doing the bidding of the students they’re charged with educating.”

Ideology and feelings – doesn’t that perfectly describe the sum and substance of these leftist young people who have thus far, been incapable of handling the recent political and public policy shift in this country with any visible maturity? Thus, they turn to “safe spaces,” puppy therapy and play-doh.   

Indeed, when one learns to worship at the altar of feelings a whole host of complications sprout up like a dandelion that overtakes your front yard. I may not feel love for my children after they’ve left a mess for me to clean up, but the truth is I love them.  And therein lies problem number two with this whole cultural morass. Children must be able to separate truth from feelings. When there is no truth and feelings are left to rule our hearts and minds, corruption of the spirit, higher education and our culture become inevitable.

So for whom did The Bard stand down at the University of Pennsylvania? You probably have never even heard of her. I had to look her up. Her name is Audre Lorde, a self-described "a black feminist lesbian mother poet.”  Now, I know your day won’t be complete until you’ve read some of her poetry, so here’s a sample:

“Genevieve
What are you seeing
In my mirror this morning
Peering out like a hungry bird
From behind my eyes
Are you seeking the shape of a girl
I have grown less and less to resemble
Or do you remember
I could never accept your face dying
I do not know you now
Surely your vision stayed stronger than mine
Genevieve tell me where dead girls
Wander after their summer.”

Whew. I’ll spare you the rest: Certainly not the worst poetry on earth, but a Shakespeare she is not. One must wonder if that section of poetry was read with no name, no race, no sexual orientation attached – would it still capture the literary lust of those brave (sic) Penn students?

Why have our young people chosen to settle for the mediocre over the excellent? Perhaps the answer should come from The Bard himself in The Tragedy of Macbeth from Act 5, Scene 5:

“SEYTON

“The queen, my lord, is dead.

“MACBETH

“She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”

“Sound and fury, signifying nothing,” doesn’t that utterly sum up so much of the Left.

And so dear friends, we must be appalled by this act of aggression against a man who can no longer defend himself. We must be outraged and repudiate all efforts to ban The Bard. Let’s refuse to lay down our literary arms, take up our Shakespeare, teach it to our children and fight on. Yes, fight on – for William Shakespeare and for an American culture where excellence can and must and should triumph over and above mediocrity.

Leesa K. Donner labored in the broadcast news industry for twelve years as a television news anchor, reporter and producer at NBC, CBS and Metromedia (now FOX) affiliates in Charlotte, Pittsburgh and Washington, DC.  She is the author of "Free At Last: A Life-Changing Journey through the Gospel of Luke." Leesa also writes for the American Thinker.

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