The Bard of the Financial Crisis

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11 Responses

  1. Dave says:

    Speechless.

  2. Lawrence Cunningham says:

    Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

    (Great post.)

  3. Steve says:

    Excellent. Small misspelling in the last paragraph – you meant to say you “shudder.”

    S

  4. Tim Hulsey says:

    This is a very selective reading of the play, not particularly persuasive for persons with more than a passing knowledge of the text. Among the most obvious points Oman overlooks: Shylock refuses a return of approximately 300% on his capital in favor of the critical pound of flesh (his remark about fish bait is spiteful). And Portia prevails in court not by force of rhetoric, but by invoking a second, little-known law of Venice — one that effectively condemns Shylock as a traitor to the state. (The latter point is so crucial to the play, I’m sort of surprised Oman didn’t notice it.)

    Shylock’s behavior grows increasingly irrational as the play progresses, possibly because of his anger over the elopement of his daughter Jessica (a situation which Antonio gladly aids and abets). The Jessica subplot, of course, is an elaboration of most of the antisemitic tropes in Elizabethan literature at the time; see Marlowe’s JEW OF MALTA for many, many more examples.

    To be fair, directors who impose a contemporary agenda on Shakespeare generally don’t fare much better than Oman did.

  5. Tim Hulsey says:

    Apologies: I should have placed quotation marks around “his” in the phrase “his capital,” since — as the play makes clear (but again, as Oman has overlooked, for reasons inexplicable unless he’s just not an attentive reader) — Shylock’s capital isn’t really his own. It should be noted, too, that Antonio’s lending of money gratis has less to do with “wild lending practices” or “irrational exuberance” than with religious proscriptions against money-lending. Shylock’s remark, “I hate him for he is a Christian,” is thus more relevant to the play than most readers, including Oman, understand.

  6. Nate says:

    Tim: You forgot to point out that Shakespeare also doesn’t (explicitly at least) refer to Antonio’s complex statistical models ;->.

  7. devil says:

    Uh-oh, I see what looks like a Word-induced spelling problem in that last excerpt (I’m assuming you used Word, with its arrogant tendency to “fix” things without asking first). There are a couple instances where Shakespeare’s “thy” has been changed to “they.” It looks like you caught some, but not others (or maybe those theys are your mistakes after all..? Nah, you’re a Harvard J.D.– it’s gotta be Word’s fault!).

    It looks to me like the quality of Shakespeare’s verse has been strained (by being forced through Microsoft’s crummy colander)!

    (And boy, that Tim Hulsey sure seems like a smart guy, and he really knows a lot about Shakespeare, but I’m still not gonna invite to any of MY parties until he learns what a “joke” is…)

  8. bkmoon says:

    Extremely witty, and further proof that Shakespeare was in fact a robot from the future.

    Also, I’m glad I can now use the terms “fat tail” and “black swan” at parties — which I am sure will increase my credibility regarding all things financial. All thanks to you.

  9. bkmoon says:

    Extremely witty, and further proof that Shakespeare was in fact a robot from the future.

    Also, I’m glad I can now use the terms “fat tail” and “black swan” at parties — which I am sure will increase my credibility regarding all things financial. All thanks to you.

  10. bkmoon says:

    Extremely witty, and further proof that Shakespeare was in fact a robot from the future.

    Also, I’m glad I can now use the terms “fat tail” and “black swan” at parties — which I am sure will increase my credibility regarding all things financial. All thanks to you.