I fell down an Internet rabbit hole this morning. I received an email from someone signing himself as “Alan Tarica.” It read:
“How do you have nothing to say? Idiots like you need to be exposed for having no critical thinking or meta cognition and no integrity.”
I had no idea what this was about. I thought it might be related to one of my political posts, but experience tells me that it could be about _anything._I’ve been active on social media, blogs and other Internet discussion services for many years, and have received worse insults like that for expressing options about Doctor Who, Star Trek, Apple, and any number of things you’d be surprised that people get worked up about.
I scrolled down a bit and found Mr. Tarica was apparently following up an email he sent me in January 2017 — yes, more than three years ago! — that I never replied to. I don’t even remember receiving the initial email. The initial email contained several links to articles about Shakespeare.
That is the full extent of my correspondence with Tarica. Two emails, both sent by him, unsolicited, with no response from me. Or maybe just one email; I have no record of ever receiving the initial 2017 message from Mr. Tarica
I am not a Shakesepeare scholar and I don’t have anything more than a casual interest in Shakespeare. I struggled through his plays in high school and college. I loved the movie “Shakespeare in Love.” Julie and I have seen a couple of Shakespeare productions over our years together; we loved one, liked one or two more and I vaguely remember another that we disliked although I couldn’t tell you where we saw it, which play it was, or why we didn’t like it (though I vaguely remember it having to do with the production rather than the plays themselves).
I googled “Alan Tarica” this morning and found this article:
The Shakespeare Wars: 150 years of vicious conflict www.jameshartleybooks.com/shakespea…
From which I learn that Tarica is a middle-aged software developer in Bethesda, Md., who believes that the works attributed to William Shakespeare were, in fact, written by the Earl of Oxford, and that a conspiracy of academics is burying the truth. This is actually a somewhat common theory, dating back nearly 150 years; believers have included Sigmund Freud, Orson Welles, John Gielgud, Charlies Chaplin, Charles Dickens and the actor Derek Jacobi.
The conspiracy theorists are known as “Oxfordians,” while people who believe Shakespeare wrote the works attributed to him are “Stratfordians.”
I also found this thread, which started in 2013 groups.google.com/forum/
Alan Tarica apparently likes to send insulting emails to Shakespeare scholars, and people who have even casually mentioned Shakespeare, to get attention.
Alan Tarica is on Twitter as well, where he likes to insult people.
Perhaps he will take notice of me as well?
I find the whole thing charming, reminiscent of an older, more innocent age on the Internet, when the worst thing Internet trolls could do to you was send nasty message. Nowadays, the Internet trolls and conspiracy theorists literally have access to nuclear weapons. For example: