Ira Glass hates Shakespeare

Ira Glass loves the fine storytelling done on his public radio show, the Chicago-based “This American Life.” He’s not so fond of the storytelling done by an English writer named William Shakespeare.

Here’s what he tweeted after seeing John Lithgow as King Lear in New York City’s Central Park Sunday: “@JohnLithgow as Lear tonight: amazing. Shakespeare: not good. No stakes, not relatable. I think I'm realizing: Shakespeare sucks.” And he followed it up with a second salvo, based on stagings of “Richard III” and “Twelfth Night.”

Here’s Glass, again: "Same thing with the great Mark Rylance shows this yr: fantastic acting, surprisingly funny, but Shakespeare is not relatable, unemotional."

A tweet may not be the best forum to contend that the man widely regarded as the greatest playwright of all time lacks the goods. And Glass back down a bit when contacted, after the Tweets, by Entertainment Weekly. “That 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,” said the “TAL” host, creator and executive producer. Actually, though, with more reporting and some actual examples to bolster the case, the anti-Shakespeare argument could make a first-rate “This American Life” story. At minimum, it would find a lot of fans in high-school English classes.

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