DEAR MISS MANNERS: I work as a secretary at an English department. Somewhat to my surprise, we have been besieged by fringe "academics" who are very adamant that we are part of a conspiracy to cover up the fact that Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, was Shakespeare.
The professors understandably do not wish to waste their time on this. I personally think the "authorship question" is an incredibly stupid and classist one, but as I am not credentialed, just the person handling incoming general mail, I am not sure what to say.
GENTLE READER: Have you thought of responding that you are all wild-eyed revolutionaries, determined to suppress an aristocratic genius in favor of a plebeian hack?
No, Miss Manners supposes not. Conspiracy theorists are not known for their sense of humor, and inflaming them would only waste your own time.
These letters are not academic challenges; they are accusations. What you need is not a response, but a crank file.