It is essential to those seeking to create doubt, that they remove all early references to Shakespeare as a playwright and minimise as far as possible any references to him as an actor.
To tread this well-worn and completely discredited path, Ros invites authorship wildman, Alexander Waugh, to the stage to explain why these early references point elsewhere. In a recent debate with Professor Jonathan Bate, Alexander trailed his 'revolutionary proof' that the true Bard, The Earl of Oxford was buried under Shakespeare's monument in Westminster Abbey, Will's statue itself pointing at what he believes is the author's final resting place. He has yet, to our knowledge, to convince a single other person that this great discovery has any merit. Even the Oxfordian fundamentalists are silent on the matter. Waugh believe that Jonson designed the monument in Holy Trinity and made the acanthus capitals look like monkey faces to insult Shakespeare, describing him as 'an illiterate wool-brogger'.
Though Alexander and his chums like to claim so, and Ros likes to hint that she agrees, to the point where it has now become a non-Stratfordian common place, it's actually not so "obvious" that Shakespeare is the target of either Poet-ape or Poetaster.
none of the stuff about grain dealing, play brokering and making money has any objective relevance to the authorship question. Will of Stratford was a good business man - he also was an excellent playwright.
As we have said, singly and in chorus: the Poet Ape does not buy and sell new plays, but shreds and patches of old ones, restitched. He is a “dresser of plays,” a decker-out—and that should give you his name..
But if you can't provide any examples of people engaged in this activity from the period in question (and you can't), then you can't defend yourself from the charge of having invented the activity to suit your argument.
In Poet-ape, Jonson claims, "As we, the robb’d, leave rage, and pity it. " That being the case - what is the "factual" entry point for Shakespeare as the robber of Jonson or anyone else in the contemporary community of playwrights? Also, when Jonson writes, "He marks not whose ‘twas first: and after-times / May judge it to be his, as well as ours." Where is the evidence *Shakespeare* took credit for Jonson's work -- or anyone else's?
Its a shame that non-Stratfordians can't appreciate that Jonson, Dekker, Marston and Shakespeare himself, were, "a community of antagonistic rivals, bonded in their common love of hurling aggressive insults at each other." (Maria Prendergast) I know it will disappoint Sean, but Ian Donaldson makes a strong case for Dekker as Jonson's target in Poetaster. Meanwhile, Dekker was finishing Satiromastix even as Poetaster was wrapping up production. Both plays would be performed by the LCM. "Satiromastix, teasingly exposes many of Jonson’s more obvious authorial pretensions: his ostentatious behavious in the playhouse — making vile faces in the gallery while his plays are acted, venturing triumphantly onto the stage when they are concluded— his lofty denials of personal animosity, his boasted intimacy with the monarch." By the way - there is no reason to believe any of that is true about Jonson...it is a Dekker "invention."
"We only Roast those we Love". Friars Club Motto
As it is, I have no problem with Sogliardo hosting a celebrity roast of William Shakespeare - and neither would Shakespeare, frankly. The originator of Falstaff would have had zero problems with Jonson's Sogliardo. I know I quote this often but this is exactly what Jonson means by, "theatrical wit, right stage jesting, and relishing a playhouse, **invented** for scorn and laughter; " Its quite comical that the Doyen of Doubt herself, Diana Price, refers to Sogliardo 53 times on 29 pages in her Unorthodox Biography, without once mentioning Jonson's explanation of stage jesting and invention. Coming on the heels of the Nashe-Harvey insult fest, the start of the 17th century saw the escalation of the pamphlet wars into the London professional theater. Even Shakespeare gets into the act, extending, "this wave into the early Jacobean period with his railing plays Coriolanus and Timon of Athens." (see Maria Pendergast, "Railing, Reviling, and Invective in English Literary Culture, 1588–1617" )
Here's the definition from Samuel Johnson's Dictionary (1753). Note the illustration he uses for "the trade of dealing in old things." I think we can wrap this one up. The only thing left to do is write it up and send it in.