Mathew Mackie

Shakespeare: Torturing writers with swagger since 1589

Our hack editor Mathew Mackie has a complicated relationship with William Shakespeare, especially now he’s discovered how many words were invented by the great man.


William Shakespeare. The warm fuzzy champion of the dwindling baby-boomer critic, the fuel that fires the laughable pedant theatre types who want to undress your partner. In 2015, it’s what his legacy boils down to. He’s circumstantial.

And fair enough I say. Despite the barefaced fronts, no-one will lower themselves to admit they have no idea what the Bard is rambling on about. Bill, it’s torture. Here, in the enlightened future, we like our things to make sense.

So yes, Bill Shakespeare is an out-of-touch pantaloons wearing hack, with no place in the modern world. Right?

The answer is a deafening no. He created over 2200 words. In itself, a monumental achievement. Everyday words too, like swagger or mountaineer. A list so complete, lesser writers can even use his creations to besmirch the man himself.

For example:

Dear Bill,

You’ve made me rant this, you make me feel worthless.

I wish I could eye-ball you, the cold-blooded manager of fashionable countless works, the drawer of multitudinous packs, these new-fangled fans, disheartening our generation’s writers, making an assassin of ourselves, as we sit there uncomfortable; as we deal with the addiction you feed them from beyond the grave, making us mimic in drugged discontent. Years from now, we’ll be looking back on our lacklustre careers, jaded, frugal, bloodstained, laughably drinking skim milk out of luggage.

 You impede us all.

Also, fair readers – you’ve probably figured out. All of Bill’s words are in bold italics.

Much amazement.

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