Oi-yoi-yoi! Or perhaps we should say, “Zounds! I like it not, my heart ill-conceives.” For the third year in a row, one of our most un-eloquent leaders has declared April 23 to be “Talk Like Shakespeare Day” in honor of the birthday of the Bard of Stratford-On-Avon, who would have turned 447 if he still were alive. In 2009 and 2010 it was King Richard II of Daley who declared April 23 “Talk Like Shakespeare Day” in Chicago. This year the ante has been upped as no less a personage than Illinois Lord High Governor Patrick Quinn has declared the 23rd to be “Talk Like Shakespeare Day” in the entire state! The very notion of Richie and Pat talking like Shakespeare is akin to the blind leading the halt.
If, however, our public leaders insist on giving it a whirl, we believe the very first words Gov. Quinn should utter are, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be,” and then he can cancel his proposal for the state to borrow an additional $2 billion. Of course, the Fat Cats in the legislature don’t want to borrow, but they don’t want to do the hard work of cutting the budget, either. We hear Michael Madigan say to Quinn, “Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?” as he tucks into the public trough to feed some more. Perhaps all should heed the wise words repeatedly uttered by a long, long line of indicted Illinois governors (Stratton, Kerner, Walker, Ryan, Blagojevich): “This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” Or, perhaps it would be more appropriate for them to say, “Oh! My offense is rank, it smells to heaven.”
“Talk Like Shakespeare Day” was devised in 2009 by Chicago Shakespeare Theater and has caught the public fancy. The promotion’s website has become “A hit! A very palpable hit” with over one million hits. Forsooth, let not th’occasion fail, but arm thyself with utterance majestical ‘gainst the quotidian world of weary words. When Daley and Quinn to Shakespeare do come, then truly it may be said, “You ain’t heard nothin’ yet!”