We would all do well to think more like Shakespeare

Scott Newstok in The Dallas Morning News:

In our current political climate, it’s sad but not surprising that a U.S. senator would accuse China’s “brightest minds” of studying in America only to return home “to compete for our jobs, to take our business, and ultimately to steal our property.”

But the junior senator from Arkansas, Tom Cotton, didn’t stop there, adding in a recent interview with Fox News that they — the Chinese — should “come here and study Shakespeare … that’s what they need to learn from America.”

I love exploring myriad-minded Shakespeare with college students from across the globe — American, Botswanan, Cambodian, Chinese, French, Japanese, Korean, Mexican, Thai, Vietnamese and, yes, even students from the bard’s native England. Yet as I’ve never taught Shakespeare as some kind of a vehicle for American values, I feel “I am bound to speak” (Othello 5.2) about Sen. Cotton’s confused, and troubling, statement.

More here.