Sidney Harman, who passed away earlier this year, was well-known as an electronics mogul, philanthropist and, of course, owner of NewsBeast at the age of 92. But very few people know that Sidney Harman was also a frequent performer of Shakespearean skits.
At the Aspen Ideas Festival, I’m sitting in a session on “Shakespeare in the Millenium.” (I could live on Shakespeare alone, with nothing else to read, and my press pass lets me into the session, which will include Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Ambassador John Negroponte as well as NYT columnist Joe Nocera.) It’s a yearly skit - and four out of the past five years, surprisingly, Sidney Harman has been one of the players. So tonight’s skit opens with a tribute to the departed cast member, Harman.
Tonight’s skit opened with Jane Harman, looking elegant, noble and witty in Elizabethan dress, reading out a few Shakespeare quotes in honor of Sidney. It’s a surprising insight (for me) into a man known only as a businessman.
The whole night features the players reading quotes from Shakespeare.
Nocera’s line in the skit is about the financial crisis: “How camest we in this pickle?”
Not surprisingly for a group that’s been hearing sessions full of dire predictions on the U.S. in the global economy, Nocera’s deadpan delivery got big laughs.