(Rebecca Mead’s article appeared in the New Yorker, 8/1; via Pam Green.)

If Twitter is a place in which a user may be rewarded for exposing his most stupid self, Ira Glass put the medium to good use this week, when, after watching John Lithgow appear as King Lear at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park, he tweeted his response: “Shakespeare sucks.” Glass admired Lithgow’s performance but thought the play flawed. “No stakes, not relatable,” he wrote. Later, he tweeted that the productions of “Richard III” and “Twelfth Night” in which he had seen Mark Rylance perform last winter had affected him similarly: “fantastic acting, surprisingly funny, but Shakespeare is not relatable, unemotional.”

The suckiness or otherwise of Shakespeare is a topic that cannot be broached without generating considerable online outrage, and Glass later backtracked, telling Entertainment Weekly that his provocative comment was “kind of an off-the-cuff thing to say that in the cold light of day, I’m not sure I can defend at all.” What Glass didn’t rescind, though, was the yardstick by which he was judging the merit of Shakespeare’s work: whether the plays are “relatable.”


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