Shakespeare and “That” Billboard


In the second installment of the mystery that is the I-40 billboard, another pseudo-cryptic message was given by our anonymous source.

Apparently the source is making fun of the backlash that the original billboard received. And I am glad that the source gave us an explanation that requires yet another explanation.

If anything, it gives me another opportunity to come to the defense of one person who would surely be offended by the seond billboard. And that person is William Shakespeare.

If someone uses the idiom/phrase “much ado about nothing,” then most people would surely think of the title of one of the more famous comedies created by the Bard.

Some linguists think that the phrase originated in the 1500’s and the meaning of the idiom seems rather universal:

“a lot of trouble and excitement about something which is not important”Cambridge Idioms Dictionary, 2nd ed. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2006.

Making the idiom the title of the billboard would further verify that it is a direct reference to the Shakespeare play.

But if you’re going to use Shakespeare’s title, should you not at least try and use his style and language? It doesn’t have to be in iambic pentameter. Shakespeare wrote a lot of his dialogue in prose.

Here’s the text of the original new billboard as seen now on I-40.

“Much Ado About Nothing
A social experiment that brought forth those so immersed in their own insecurity that in the mirror they could only see an angry victim of their incorrect interpretation of a silly billboard — Bless their hearts”

Imagine that in Shakespearean English. You could try one of many “Shakespeare Translation” websites. Schmoop has one that is used here.

Magically what is created is not only a reference to Shakespeare, but keeps the spirit of Shakespeare. It makes you feel moere intelligent for reading it as if you were above a social experiment.

“Much Ado About Nothing
A social experiment that hath brought forth those so immersed in their own insecurity that in the mirror those gents could only see an fell victim of their incorrect interpretation of a fartuous billboard — Bless their hearts ”

But a man of Shakespeare’s wit and ability to pinpoint human nature as well as inject humor and social satire in the same words may have actually said something different in reference to the first billboard.


“Much Ado About Nothing
We hath spent wage anonymously to maketh a provocative billboard to stir up a little controversy so that we could findeth a reason to bless thy hearts “


“Much Ado About Nothing
We hath made a billboard so that those who comment on news articles can maketh excit’ment of others who art offended by t by telling those folk that those gents should just receiveth ov’r t while those gents themselves wenteth out of their way to giveth longer comments about how those gents wast not affected by the billboard”


“Much Ado About Nothing
We bethought twas comical that so many wast offended by the sexist message of the first one that we referenced a playeth that would not has’t originally allowed women to beest cast in female roles”


“Much Ado About Nothing
We actually didst not bethink that people would readeth this billboard because if ‘t be true hath too much text and no graphics and trying to readeth ti while driving would maketh either a wreck or a phantom traffic jam, or both”


“Much Ado About Nothing
A social experiment about not using proper grammar should only beest hath followed by a longer billboard message that doesn’t useth proper mechanics of English convention”

Even this,

“Much Ado About Nothing
A social experiment about showing how so many people art immersed in their own insecurities conducted by people who art too insecure to identify themselves”

And maybe this,

“Much Ado About Nothing
A social experiment that should has’t shown the creators that if ‘t be true those gents hath taken incredible backlash from the original message tis not incorrect interpretation as much as tis incorrect presentation”

But definitely Shakespeare was a man who loved free speech and would fight to the death so that others may speak freely, even if what was said is, well you know:

“Much Ado About Nothing
A social experiment that showeth we all has’t freedom of speech coequal if ‘t be true what we sayeth is asinine”

One thought on “Shakespeare and “That” Billboard

  1. Pingback: What That Billboard Taught Me About Real Men | caffeinated rage

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