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Who Will Be the Shakespeare of the Internet?

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Maybe you saw the Times’ fabulous piece the other day on the MIT Professor who gives physics lessons on Youtube, even turning himself into a pendulum with a rope and a harness. Kids in India are learning from him. Wonderful.

It makes me wonder Who will be the Shakespeare of the internet? Any writer will tell you that we labor in Shakespeare’s shadow. He invented the language, Harold Bloom says. Many of our great cliches come from him, all the music of speech is in Shakespeare and we’re rehumming his tunes. That said, Shakespeare was lifted by a new technology. He got in when there was an open field. He could invent the language because no one was ahead of him. Gutenberg and moveable type were barely 100 years old. Yes, Shakespeare’s celebrity had to do with the Globe and performance, but his unending majesty was assured by print. It seems to me that the internet affords another clear field in the arts. Who knows what sort of expression it is likely to be, how much of it written, how much performed ala the MIT prof.

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