Did Shakespeare Smoke Pot? Francis Thackeray Wants to Find Out
Francis Thackeray: 'Exhume William Shakespeare to See if He Smoked Pot'
Since pipes testing positive for marijuana and cocaine were found in William Shakespeare's garden, there is the possibility that the Bard hit the trees harder than George of the Jungle. South African anthropologist Francis Thackeray wants to exhume Shakespeare's body to find out if the famed playwright wrote his plays the same way that Aaron Sorkin wrote The West Wing: on drugs.
So, to rephrase: Francis Thackeray wants to drug-test William Shakespeare.
Aside from weed and coke, Shakespeare may also have been smoking nutmeg. Ugh. Anyway, this would be an interesting insight into English culture at the time. Imagine the Stones just before the Redlands bust... but now we're talking about the entire country.
The low concentrations could be attributed to the fact that cannabis begins to degrade after a short period of time, according to the scientist.
However, there is no doubt about the traces of cocaine. "The pipes we tested still had dirt in them which preserved the residues inside the stem and bowl," Van der Merwe said. Contamination was unlikely, he said. "The readings we got were the same as if it had tested a modern-day crack pipe."
However, cocaine was not widely used in Europe until the mid-1800s. This doesn't mean that Shakespeare couldn't get his hands on some, sort of like how Shane MacGowan of The Pogues smoked crack before it was widely popular in the UK. Europeans had already been to South America, and could conceivably have brought some blow back with them. Of course, it would have been prepared differently than it is now.
Also, keep in mind that this was pre-Doritos and before there was such a thing as Adult Swim.
A Spliff! A Spliff! My Kingdom for a Spliff!
Take a look at Shakespeare's "Sonnet 76":
Why is my verse so barren of new pride,
So far from variation or quick change?
Why with the time do I not glance aside
To new-found methods and to compounds strange?
Why write I still all one, ever the same,
And keep invention in a noted weed,
That every word doth almost tell my name,
Showing their birth and where they did proceed?
O, know, sweet love, I always write of you,
And you and love are still my argument;
So all my best is dressing old words new,
Spending again what is already spent:
For as the sun is daily new and old,
So is my love still telling what is told.
So it's not as explicit as Snoop Dogg's "Pass It, Pass It", but still. Oh, and don't even get into an argument with an Oxfordian about whether or not Shakespeare wrote his own plays. If you didn't know who Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, was. The Oxfordian will tell you. Never mind that de Vere was a world traveler while Shakespeare thought Bohemia had a coast, and... never mind.
This is a story about Shakespeare smoking weed, so we'll leave it at that. Would William Shakespeare getting high really be that big a surprise? Shakespeare can