February 10th, 2006

VDB Imposes Shakespeare-Wide Boycott

by Philip Baruth

So far, 2006 has been the Hamlet year in Vermont politics: the endlessly histrionic, shill-I/shall-I, will-I/won’t-I, explore-you-’til-I-bore-you Year to End All Years.

Martha Rainville, according to the Feds, has been a candidate in fact all along, but the revelation didn’t stop the Alas-Poor-Yoricking. Now Rainville says she’s made a decision, shared it with her family and will travel to “all corners of the state” on Monday to communicate it to every Vermonter.

Extremely hard to imagine flying from Bennington to St. Albans to say the whole thing’s a wash.

But the long and short of it is that Rainville likes playing the Melancholy Dane, and she’s going to play it to the hilt.

Not to be outdone, David Zuckerman has said he’ll make a decision on a US House race in two weeks. Why two weeks, when he’s already had a month of Sundays and a tepid round of grassroots fund-raising to concentrate his mind? Because he clearly doesn’t want to share the boards with Rainville: one Hamlet palming one skull and wailing at one ghost is more than enough at any one time.

Even John Tracy, an otherwise sane and stalwart sort, has been driven a touch mad by this star-crossed year. He was quickly in, and then as quickly out, of the Burlington Mayo’rs race. Currently Tracy says he’s committed to running for Lieutenant Governor, but unfortunately he has a ton of other work to do right now. So look for a statewide campaign, like, May Day.

Enough, says VDB, is enough. Enough of the drama-queens and kings and princes; enough with stringing the media along through another thin adaptation of Shakespeare’s ADD-afflicted hero; enough of the post-dated declarations of candidacy.

And enough, frankly, of whining about the waiting.

VDB is acting, now, today. Until all of the make-believe undecideds and hasta-manana types formally declare that they’re running (Rainville, Tracy) or not (Zuckerman), VDB is calling for a nationwide boycott of all products Shakespearean.

That’s right. Not simply Hamlet, but anything Shakespeare wrote, inspired, handled or touched in any way, shape or form.

All plays, all productions, all travel to England, any and all adaptations of Shakespeare, of course, including but not limited to Shakespeare in Love, O, Ethan Hawke’s Hamlet, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Romeo and Juliet, etc.

We understand that this move will destroy the tourist economy of Stratford-upon-Avon. And we held off on the Boycott as long as humanly possible. But enough is enough. The ban stands until the Hamlets fall, until every Vermont hold-out gets off the freaking dime.

Because these statewide offices are important. People should know they want to run, and they should admit it, and they should then actually do it.

Now, not three months from now. Clarity of purpose is the character issue this cycle.

Anything less is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. And, of course, wicked annoying.

Late Update, 5:24 pm Mountain Time:

A number of urgent emails have come in from readers wondering if the Shakespeare Boycott covers the Gilligan’s Island episode during which the castaways produce a version of Hamlet, and during which the Skipper plays Polonius (”There’s just one other thing/That you must do/To thine own self be true!“).

The answer is yes, absolutely. This Boycott will be a long, hard slog, but now is no time to waver, people.

Stay strong.

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  1. on February 23rd, 2006 at 2:22 am

    […] VDB has said it before and we’ll no doubt say it again: these statewide offices are important — people should know they want to run, and they should then actually do so. […]