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. Joe in NJ

    From the title of the article my guess was that he had said the "N" word or "F" word.

    There is some validity to the superstition though as there have been quite a few bad incidents throughout history regarding productions of Macbeth. Simon is right though. It doesn't apply to Obama, only those actually working on a production of it.

    February 12, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  2. Ticker Shock

    Uh-oh!

    February 12, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  3. Enough Already

    Oh my goodness!! What the hell is wrong with this country? Can we find anything else to talk about? CNN and the rest of the media should be tried for treason for trying to bring this country to it's knees with their nonsense.

    February 12, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  4. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow
    Creeps in this petty pace from day to day on CNN's ticker
    Til the last syllable of recorded time.
    And all our yesterdays light fools the way to the dusty death of intelligent discussions by the media
    Out, out, brief candle, life is but a walking shadow,
    A poor player who struts and frets his hour upon the blog
    Then is heard no more.
    It is a tale told by the idiots at CNN, Fox, MSNBC, etc.
    Full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.

    February 12, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  5. Dave

    MAY SUFFER BANKRUPTCY, WELL HE IS GOING TO BANKRUPT THE USA, DOES THAT COUNT?

    February 12, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    @ altlic

    Yep, Rome is burning...and the GOP is busy handing out marshmallows because they don't control Rome anymore. They coul dprobably learn a thing or two from the lessons in MacBeth.

    February 12, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  7. Jenn L

    This is bullsh!t . Who cares if he says Macbeth. Can we cover the real issues?

    February 12, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  8. Marc in Virginia

    Another first!

    February 12, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  9. Clark

    most of our politicians are "performers" and "actors" ....

    February 12, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  10. stamblerd

    Obama compares himself to Lincoln.

    If he could only free our nation from DEBT, we would all be thankful.

    February 12, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  11. Terry in NY

    yea whatever!

    February 12, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  12. Sarah

    Maybe he should do the counter-curse: go out of the room, turn around three times, spit over his left shoulder and declare, "The curse is null!"

    February 12, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  13. The Geezer

    The media of late has been so much like a bad edition of a scandal sheet and this bit of horse hockey ranks right up there with the other BS being flung in an attempt to cause damage to the President and the United States as a whole .... Knock it off Media moguls!

    February 12, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  14. CZH

    Barry drops the M-bomb, nice.

    February 12, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  15. Regular People

    Darwin was right when he spoke of savages that are haunted by the grossest superstitions.

    February 12, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  16. obama-mama

    All the silly billy gumdrops on here who don't think this is news should just bypass the article and read something else. Noboby is making you read it and the whining will not lead to CNN changing it for the small few that are complaining.

    February 12, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  17. cmc

    I agree with JA/TN. I think they will try anything to prove their assinine ideals.

    February 12, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  18. I'm just sayin...

    FEAR NOT!!!

    February 12, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  19. A. Bachman

    Is THIS what constitutes news these days? When did real journalism die?

    February 12, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  20. Real American

    CNN needs to lighten up. I thought Macbeth was part of theliterally work studied in schools. No student in literature would ever bypass reading lady Macbeth. So CNN, what is the problem. Are you looking for just what to say about Obama. Get over it, CNN

    February 12, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  21. Bill

    ENOUGH!! CNN, you have stooped to a new low in 'baiting' readers into opening what appears to be a news story relating to politics yet fails to contain anything of merit. I am now changing my internet home page to something other than CNN. Goodbye Cable NONSENSE Network.

    February 12, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  22. Alex

    CNN, I think you've lost a reader here. How can anybody take you seriously when you're printing this garbage and dolling it up with a captivating headline? If I wanted to read this trash I would pick up US Weekly. Unbelievable.

    February 12, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  23. Mike Braswell

    Wow, maybe Mr. Obama ought to tell the Republicans (all 40) of the in the Senate that they are the minority and quit listening to Rush pill poping Limbaugh lets get some things done in the country for a change and quit using fear of the last president be as straight foward as the president is. He has made some mistakes but he is a quick learner and he is doing ok.

    February 12, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  24. Darlis

    Just when you thought it couldn't be more ridiculous... you proved me wrong CNN... As one writer said, with the Republicans and unamerican Rush Limbaugh praying for President Obama (Yes, get over it, he IS the President) to fail.. that is his primary fear.. We should be thankful every day that our President's claim to qualification is not that he can see Russan from his yard... that's where we COULD BE!

    February 12, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  25. Alan

    Looks like we're seeing more and more Americans with their "undies in a bunch". Laugh a little once in awhile, we see and live enough real drama all to often.

    February 12, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
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