February 12th, 2009
03:33 PM ET
11 years ago

In Ford’s Theater, Obama invokes forbidden word

 On a trip to Ford’s Theater, site of President Lincoln’s assassination, Obama paid tribute to the 16th president’s ability to recall passages of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Macbeth.

On a trip to Ford’s Theater, site of President Lincoln’s assassination, Obama paid tribute to the 16th president’s ability to recall passages of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Macbeth.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - It’s a word so fraught with superstition, its very mention can send grown men ducking for cover — and President Obama used it Wednesday night.

Macbeth.

On a trip to Ford’s Theater, site of President Lincoln’s assassination, Obama paid tribute to the 16th president’s ability to recall passages of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Macbeth. And with that reference, he unwittingly ventured into what many theater hands believe to be dangerous territory: any mention of the name of the doomed Scottish king in a theater outside of a performance is considered verboten by many actors, who believe it will result in a cursed production — including a greater possibility of injury, bankruptcy, even death.

So does Obama have anything to fear from uttering the unluckiest word in what may be the unluckiest theater in American history? Theater-goers can relax: Many stage afficianados believe that the prohibition only applies to performers or theater hands, and non-actors have nothing to worry about.

But in the near future, the president might want to stick to movies. Just to be on the safe side.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (318 Responses)
  1. Matt, Chico, CA

    BK,

    Why can't you believe it? He is the 2nd coming of Christ and we must know about every detail, no matter how irrelevant, of his "presidency."

    February 12, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  2. K'leen M

    Good grief, what was he doing in Ford's theatre in the first place, and second, why didn't the secret service usher him outside make him turn around three times and spit. These things have a half life you know. And all you who mocked the curse of the Scottish play, have not lived through it.
    With that I exit stage left...

    February 12, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  3. Yesss

    Lol. I appreciate this breaking news. It's not like there's fires ravaging continents or a giant stimulus bill about to be passed. Oh, wait.

    February 12, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  4. Brian, Decatur, GA

    I think President Obama has much more to fear from Republicans than he does from Macbeth.

    February 12, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  5. dotjet

    @ Eyes of Texas are upon you

    I don't get it . . . are those the "stats" of how many stooooopid comments are made by those newscasters in a week or what???? Yeah, looks like Fox is the winner allright!

    February 12, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  6. bj

    Well.....since Obama is quite the actor he might want to be worried.

    February 12, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  7. Big Al

    This is news? Someone on your staff actually got paid to research this drivel and then post it online? The country is circling the drain and you decide that this (yawn) story is news? Amazing! Where can I sign up to become a CNN correspondent? If Ted Turner was in his grave I'm sure he would be rolling over about now.

    February 12, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  8. Stevenson Democrat

    Doesn't CNN have anything better to write about? Does the rule publish or perish apply to CNN writers too. How about renaming this bit of fluff, "Much Ado About Nothing."

    February 12, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  9. Baldric

    Hot potato, orchestra stalls, Puck will make amends!

    February 12, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  10. tjaman

    What would you have "reported" if he'd instead referred to "The Scots Play"? "Obama caves to superstitious folly"?

    February 12, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  11. zago

    I myself once said: George W Bush, Sarah Palin. I was really scared

    February 12, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  12. ginny

    Obama is a man of the 21st century not the 12th..

    I think science and logic are more his strengths. The Scots always liked a good ghost story and whi would deny them that fun.

    February 12, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  13. Tony

    When I saw the article's title, I thought he might have uttered the words E-Verify or H-1b Contractor. By the way folks, while everyone focuses on this non news story, are any of you aware that E-Verify and a limit on guest workers was quietly removed from the stimulous package. That's right Mr. and Ms American, your tax money is going to create jobs for people who ought not to be in this country. A little bit of news that no one is reporting. Why not?

    Hey CNN, why is this not being reported? What is this MacBeth business, bread and circuses?

    I don't expect my comments to even be posted.

    February 12, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  14. Robert

    Angels and Ministers of Grace defend us!

    Come on, folks, relax. Don't beat up on CNN for a little levity. For those of you complaining that there are more important things to cover, like the bailout, I'm sure with just a little searching, you can find all the stories you want on that depressing subject as well as many more just like it.

    Some people complain that all the news is bad and CNN never gives us a break, and others complain because CNN is giving us a break.

    February 12, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  15. dave

    CNN needs to just turnoff the lights and go home. You have ceased to have any credibility as a legitimate news organization. You have become trivial. No news...............hell let's just make somthing out of nothing.

    February 12, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  16. Contrarian

    I'm waiting for the CNN Headline "OBAMA SAYS N-WORD", only to click the link to find out that he mentioned Nicaragua, or naturalization or (god forbid) Newsweek. Oh, the horror!

    That will be followed by the headline "OBAMA IGNORES HEROES", only to see a story that Obama does not indeed watch the NBC TV show Heroes.

    CNN, you all are stooping lower and lower every day. Please, stop digging!

    February 12, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  17. itbeme

    good grief. The country is falling down around our ears, and THIS is the top story on the ticker?? C'mon CNN, you can do better than this. Either that, or it's time to find a new blog page.

    February 12, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  18. atypical

    I think the education sector should take over the media.

    The articles, and "news" are becoming increasingly irrelevant, tiresome, and meaningless.

    By the way, Macbeth is just a word.
    Macbeth, Macbeth, Macbeth.
    Geez.

    February 12, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  19. Patriot Guy

    When I saw the headline to this story, I thought oh my God! He said "capitalism!"

    February 12, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  20. Jerry Green

    Sic Semper Morons. lighten up

    February 12, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  21. AEK

    So, let me get this straight. The next time I'm at a community theater production that doesn't seem like can get any worse, but can get longer, I should stop chanting my old mantra, "Smoked chicken nachos and a cold Bud Light" and start one that includes Macbeth? How fast does this usually work?!?!

    February 12, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  22. Native Texan

    CNN are you getting your news stories from Nancy Reagan now?

    February 12, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  23. SKYEYE

    Deconstructing Broadway Gypsy Myth!

    MACBETH.

    There i said it, what bad may befall that has not yet? tell me dear superfaladocious neanderthals.

    MACBETH

    February 12, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  24. Amy

    I cannot believe this is news. Starving people worldwide, financial traumas, slayings, kidnappings... and yet we are reading about this? What the hell is that all about?

    February 12, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  25. Missy

    Well, he does liken himself to Lincoln and Kennedy.....maybe they'll really have something in common?

    February 12, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
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