Written By January 2012 : Page 2

letterS tHe MAGAzine OF tHe WriterS GuilD OF AMeriCA, WeSt THE MAGAZINE OF THE WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA, WEST Made Our Day www.wr i t t e n b y .c o m AGAzine OF tHe WriterS GuilD OF AMeriCA, WeSt THE MAGAZINE OF THE WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA, WEST Made Our Day www.wr i t t e n b y .c o m Collaborators Collaborators Clint eastwood & dustin lanCe blaCk Writers & Directors Buck Henry | Mike Nichols Christopher Hampton | David Cronenberg Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig | Paul Feig John Orloff | Roland Emmerich The Eastwood package was fascinat-ing reading [November/December 2011]. I’m looking forward to getting into the rest of the issue. It’s a shame that you can’t find a financial model to broaden your publication’s reach because it is consistently some of the best magazine reading around. Jon Thurber Breaking Wind Regarding the film Anonymous [“Stealing Credit,” Nov./Dec. 2011], it’s not credit but credibili-ty that appears to be missing. Unfortunately, John Orloff and his director, Roland Emmerich, have elected to play fast and loose with dates and events, rewriting history to suit their outrageous plot—an alleged conspiracy between Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, and the playwright Ben Jonson to stage plays pur-portedly written by Oxford, “anonymously” using Shakespeare, a drunken but ambitious lout, merely as a front. All this is pos-sible, of course, because none of Shakespeare’s own papers have survived (most likely lost between the Puritan demolition of the theatres in 1647 and the Great Fire of 1666). By contrast, de Vere’s life is well documented. Unfortunately for the filmmakers, the documents do not support their story. Without regard for chronology or fact, they shuffle and rearrange events between the first recorded performances of Shakespeare’s plays (roughly 1590) and Oxford’s death (1604) using flashbacks to fill in their convoluted backstory. Elizabeth at 16 had a liaison with Oxford’s father, John, resulting in Edward de Vere being the Queen’s illegitimate son; 23 years later, Elizabeth, now age 40, has an inces-tuous fling with her own son producing the Earl of Southhampton. What a round-heeled trollop! Who knew? How convenient that in a society in which Elizabeth was constantly surrounded by prying eyes, no one noticed or remarked about either pregnancy. In 1697, the writer John Aubrey published Brief Lives, a series of biographical sketches of many notable men of the period, includ-ing Ben Jonson and William Shakespeare. Nowhere in these does Aubrey ever suggest that anyone other than Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare. However, Aubrey does write the following about Edward de Vere: “This Earl of Oxford, making his low obeisance to Queen Elizabeth, happened to let a fart, at which he was so abashed and ashamed that he went to travel seven years. On his return, the Queen welcomed him home, and said, ‘My lord, I had quite forgot the fart.’” Apocryphal? Perhaps. But surely closer to the truth than Anonymous. Garner Simmons Written By welcomes your comments. Send letters to: E-mail letters to writtenby@wga.org, or fax them to (323) 782-4802. Letters related to Written By articles will be published, space permitting. Letters may be edited for clarity and length, and the editor will select representative content. Opinions expressed in Letters to the Editor are not necessarily those of the WGAW. 2 • WG AW Written B y J ANU AR Y 20 12 7000 W. Third St., L.A., CA 90048 Or E-mail us at writtenby@wga.org W ritten By © © WGAWOFFiCerS President Chris Keyser Vice President Howard A. Rodman Secretary-treasurer Carl Gottlieb WGAWBOArD OF DireCtOrS Alfredo Barrios Jr., John Brancato, Linda Burstyn, Ian Deitchman, Carleton Eastlake, Katherine Fugate, David A. Goodman, David S. Goyer, Mark Gunn, Kathy Kiernan, Aaron Mendelsohn, Billy Ray, Thania St. John, Robin Schiff, David Shore, Dan Wilcox exeCutiVe DireCtOr David Young GenerAl COunSel Tony Segall WGAWPHOne inFOrMAtiOn The Guild (All Departments) 323.951.4000 WeBSite: WWW.WGA.OrG WGAW DePArtMentS Administration Agency Awards & elections Claims Contracts Credits Dues Diversity executive Offices Film Society Finance Human resources legal library Member Services Membership Organizing Public Affairs Publications registration residuals Signatories theater Operations Written By Pension & Health WritersCare info. 323.951.4000 782.4520 782.4502 782.4569 782.4663 782.4501 782.4528 782.4531 782.4589 951.4000 782.4508 782.4637 782.4615 782.4521 782.4544 782.4747 782.4532 782.4511 782.4574 782.4699 782.4500 782.4700 782.4514 782.4525 782.4699 818.846.1015 800.227.7863 800.890-0288 FAx 323.782.4800 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011

Letters

Made Our Day

The Eastwood package was fascinating reading [November/December 2011]. I’m looking forward to getting into the rest of the issue. It’s a shame that you can’t find a financial model to broaden your publication’s reach because it is consistently some of the best magazine reading around.

Jon Thurber

Breaking Wind

Regarding the film Anonymous [“Stealing Credit,” Nov./Dec. 2011], it’s not credit but credibility that appears to be missing. Unfortunately, John Orloff and his director, Roland Emmerich, have elected to play fast and loose with dates and events, rewriting history to suit their outrageous plot—an alleged conspiracy between Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, and the playwright Ben Jonson to stage plays purportedly written by Oxford, “anonymously” using Shakespeare, a drunken but ambitious lout, merely as a front. All this is possible, of course, because none of Shakespeare’s own papers have survived (most likely lost between the Puritan demolition of the theatres in 1647 and the Great Fire of 1666). By contrast, de Vere’s life is well documented. Unfortunately for the filmmakers, the documents do not support their story.

Without regard for chronology or fact, they shuffle and rearrange events between the first recorded performances of Shakespeare’s plays (roughly 1590) and Oxford’s death (1604) using flashbacks to fill in their convoluted backstory. Elizabeth at 16 had a liaison with Oxford’s father, John, resulting in Edward de Vere being the Queen’s illegitimate son; 23 years later, Elizabeth, now age 40, has an incestuous fling with her own son producing the Earl of Southhampton. What a round-heeled trollop! Who knew? How convenient that in a society in which Elizabeth was constantly surrounded by prying eyes, no one noticed or remarked about either pregnancy.

In 1697, the writer John Aubrey published Brief Lives, a series of biographical sketches of many notable men of the period, including Ben Jonson and William Shakespeare. Nowhere in these does Aubrey ever suggest that anyone other than Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare. However, Aubrey does write the following about Edward de Vere: “This Earl of Oxford, making his low obeisance to Queen Elizabeth, happened to let a fart, at which he was so abashed and ashamed that he went to travel seven years. On his return, the Queen welcomed him home, and said, ‘My lord, I had quite forgot the fart.’” Apocryphal? Perhaps. But surely closer to the truth than Anonymous.

Garner Simmons

Read the full article at http://www.bluetoad.com/article/Letters/924203/93709/article.html.

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