Friday, May 22, 2009

a good detective story

When I was 16 or so, I took an interest in the question, "Who wrote Shakespeare?" My father taught Shakespeare and in school I was taught to hate Shakespeare -- the instructors kept implying and saying Shakespeare was 'great art' as if something else weren't 'great art.' But the question of who wrote Shakespeare had nothing to do with any sort of art ... it was just a detective story and detective stories were fun.

For anyone wise enough not to care about or even be aware of such a question, the issue of "who wrote Shakespeare" excited (and probably still does) a lot of attention within its own bubble. There were books and theories and proofs and anagrams and cryptograms and ciphers and claims and counterclaims. It was all as endless as a bunch of drunk guys at a bar discussing the merits and intricacies of baseball ... but at least at the bar, the beer and the camaraderie were good.

But no one, least of all me, seemed to ask, "Who gives a shit?" or "If you knew the answer, what would you know and what earthly use would it be?" Isn't Shakespeare Shakespeare whether his name is "Shakespeare" or "Bubba?" But none of that stopped me from enjoying a good detective story.

Maybe the theory and practice of Buddhism is a little like that:

Nothing saying you can't enjoy a good detective story.

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