Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The British Library blocks access to Hamlet

The British Library is perhaps the greatest library in the world, an absolute delight to bibliophiles everywhere and a protector of civilization's greatest works.  Or it used to be, before the Nanny State instinct caused it to block WiFi access to Shakespeare's Hamlet because the play is "too violent":
I took my computer over to the information desk, and after I had explained to them what MIT stood for (really), they called the IT department and told them about the webpage that I had been blocked from. http://shakespeare.mit.edu/hamlet/full.html

They had to spell out Shakespeare letter by letter. Really. Ess. Aitch. Ay. Kay...

I asked them if they were surprised that Hamlet was now banned in the British Library. They shrugged. I asked them how it was that I could still access youtube, facebook and twitter. I asked why the girl at the next desk to me had been able to spend the last half hour on Guardian Soulmates, while the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's website was banned. They shrugged.

I asked if they saw the problem, perhaps just the symbolism, of Hamlet being banned in the British Library. They shrugged.
[Blink] [Blink]

Observe your Philosopher Kings, ye Progressives.  Philosopher Kings.  After our hero posted the story and a rather lot of unwelcome attention resulted, the British Library relented and now the Bard can be read by patrons of the library.  It's a "victory" that Britain's greatest author can now be read in the British Library.

Well done, Mr. Forsyth.
... I'll have grounds
More relative than this: the play 's the thing
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king.


Rev. Paul said...

Bureaucracies: always plumbing new depths of idiocy.

Talitha said...

Awfully generous of them to let people read Shakespeare at the British Library.

(Further)Irony: My mother read "Hamlet" to me as a bedtime story as a child. She too was a progressive. Weird, huh?