like friends i think sometimes it sounds like exaggeration when i (or any of the other fine stratfordians on this site) say “the oxfordian theory is lit. just classist bullshit” but the first person who really put forward the case for oxford, j. thomas looney, in his book shakespeare identified, actually says —-
“There is a frequent assumption that the possession of what we call genius renders its owner capable of doing almost anything. Now William Shakespere [his spelling not mine] is the one stock illustration of this contention. In all other cases, where the whole of the circumstances are well known, we may connect the achievements of a genius with what may be called the external accidents of his life. Though social environment is not the source of genius, it certainly has always determined the forms in which the faculty has clothed itself, and even the particular direction which its energies have taken: and in no other class of work are the products of genius so moulded by social pressure, and even by class relationships, as in works involving the artistic use of the mother tongue. To what extent the possession of abnormal powers may enable a man to triumph over circumstances no one can say; and if a given mind working under specified conditions is actually proved to have produced something totally unexpected and at variance with the conditions, we can only accept the phenomenon, however inexplicable it may appear. It is not thus, however, that genius usually manifests itself; and, failing conclusive proof, a vast disparity or incompatibility between the man and the work must always justify a measure of doubt as to the genuineness of his pretensions and make us cast about for a more likely agent.
Now no one is likely ever to question the reality or the vastness of ’Shakespeare’s’ genius. If he had enjoyed every advantage of education, travel, leisure, social position and wealth, his plays would still remain for all time the testimony to his marvelous powers: though naturally not such stupendous powers as would have been required to produce the same results without the advantages. Consequently, if we regard the authorship as an open question we shall be much more disposed to look for the author amongst those who possessed some or all of those advantages than amongst those who possessed none of them.” (73-74)
he then goes on to argue for a “scientific” search for an author — for erasing shakespeare and starting with a blank slate, and systematically using the plays as ways to look for connections and commonalities and similarities towards The Right Sort of Elizabethan/Jacobean Man, the Right Sort of Englishman.
The Oxfordian theory is actually and literally predicated entirely on the assumption that someone of lower birth could not write Shakespeare’s works, it is literally a theory that is not created out of people noticing over the years connections between de Vere and Shakespeare and de Vere’s writings and Shakespeare’s writings but instead from a desperate comparison of the aspects of Shakespeare’s writings (and the assumed character of Shakespeare, which Looney goes on to lay out) with the eligible men of that era. They developed their criteria for a genius, then found the earl to fill it. He had to invent conspiracies to make de Vere fit, but by God he was not going to let some middle class fucker from Stratford be The Englishman (which, he repeatedly states in earlier chapters, is what Shakespeare is destined to become — the English person whose legacy will be most remembered).
Other theories of authorship are silly, classist, nonsensical, and rooted in an utter lack of fact, but none are — i think — as systematically and as purposefully rooted in the rejection of a lower (or middle) class Genius Above All The Rest. Baconians are still classist but entirely laughable and the argument seems to spring up more organically, Marlovians at least have the decency to come about their conspiracy theories honestly, but Oxfordians are gross. They are gross. It is gross.