Whatever else Shakespeare’s dramas had to do, they had to attract a late Elizabethan/early Stuart audience of ordinary people to pay money to go to the playhouse. Shakespeare was a ratings chaser. If punters thought his play too slow, too obscure, too difficult, then he would have failed. So his art was not part of a refined world, but a product of popular culture. I think what I’m suggesting here is that the mass of people — whose wishes are often to be understood in what they choose to spend their money on — actually help to provoke the most dynamic and successful art.

Do you agree with David Aaronovitch? Let us know what you think. David was writing after Peter Bazalgette, the TV producer who brought Big Brother to Britain, was appointed as chairman of the rather more refined Arts Council England (read more)

Notes

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