Yale Students: Shakespeare is Better Than Maya Angelou, Honestly

Shakespeare
Australia’s national women’s soccer team – hotly tipped for a medal at the Rio Olympics – has  been thrashed 7-0 by a team of under-15-year-old boys. Students at Yale University have petitioned their English Department for a change of curriculum. They want fewer “white male authors” and more contributions by “women, people of color and queer folk”. Does anyone want to hazard a guess as to why I’ve linked these two stories? Yes, that’s right. It’s because I am sexist, racist, homophobic pig. Also because I am a shameless elitist. I actually believe that whether you’re talking international sport or you’re talking about literature then it is quality – not how many gender or diversity boxes it ticks – that should be the criterion that counts. What this means, in practice, is acknowledging that Shakespeare is better than Maya Angelou, English literature is better than Nigerian literature, Pride and Prejudice is better than Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Paradise Lost by straight dead white male John Milton is better than anything by lesbian Poet Laureate Carole Ann Duffy (or indeed, probably, by any other lesbian poet in history, ever, including Sappho) and that all women’s sport (apart from showjumping, the only one where girls can compete