Of course, Shakespeare composed texts other than plays (e.g., love sonnets), and many of Shakespeare’s plays’ puns are in fact visual, i.e., textual, and wouldn’t register aurally for theater audiences. Nor does Franzen explicitly state that ‘the only true way’ to experience Shakespeare is in print, only that the sacral ratio between reading it in the Arden edition (more like Reeding it in the Arden edition! 47 chirp chirp chirp) and on a BlackBerry is equivalent to that between marrying in a church and in a shoe store – presumably, for Franzen, seeing Hamlet performed in the Globe would be like marrying in the Vatican, I guess (do people get married in the Vatican?), and at any rate preferable to seeing it performed in a shoe store (or in captured video on your fucking calliphone: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKiIroiCvZ0). This qualification of mine probably leaves Franzen in just as nostalgic and sentimental and indefensible a position, but not as boneheaded as it was maybe strawmanned out to be, and I thought that that was worth clarifying (even a couple weeks after the fact).
And to Julie Bogart, I might point out that Beethoven is an odd choice for analogy in this discussion, since his music in fact was best appreciated reading the score, at least for Beethoven (who of course went deaf ~1796).*,**
*From the Wikipedia page on Beethoven, where I plucked the date, it does read, ‘Around 1796, Beethoven began to lose his hearing…He suffered a severe form of tinnitus, a “ringing” in his ears that made it hard for him to perceive and //appreciate// music’ (emphasis mine) – so Julie’s example that came around to bite her (?) in the ass comes too to bite me in the ass.
**Also cue any critical-theoretical arguments about authors not being the chief appreciators of their own texts.