A Religious Orgy in Tennessee: A Reporter's Account of the by H.L. Mencken

By H.L. Mencken

Fiercely clever, scathingly sincere, and hysterically humorous, H.L. Mencken’s assurance of the Scopes Monkey Trial so galvanized the country that it will definitely encouraged a Broadway play and the vintage Hollywood motion picture Inherit the Wind.
 
Mencken’s no-nonsense sensibility remains to be intriguing: his perceptive rendering of the court docket drama; his piercing portrayals of key figures Scopes, Clarence Darrow, and William Jennings Bryan; his ferocious tackle the fundamentalist tradition surrounding it all—including a raucous nighttime journey into the woods to witness a mystery “holy curler” service.

Shockingly, those stories have by no means been amassed jointly right into a e-book in their own—until now.

A spiritual Orgy In Tennessee includes all of Mencken’s experiences for The Baltimore sunlight, The Nation, and The American Mercury. It even comprises his insurance of Bryan’s loss of life simply days after the trial—an obituary so withering Mencken used to be pressured via his editors to rewrite it, angering him and prime him to rewrite it another time in a 3rd model even much less forgiving than the 1st. All 3 models are incorporated, as is a whole transcript of the trial’s such a lot mythical trade: Darrow’s blistering cross-examination of Bryan.
 
With the increase of “intelligent design,” H.L. Mencken’s paintings hasn't ever appeared extra unnervingly timely—or undying.

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Extra info for A Religious Orgy in Tennessee: A Reporter's Account of the Scopes Monkey Trial

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The biliousness of his attacks, the withering scorn he subjected so many to in various group libels—those created a sense of hatred. Teachout reports that in 1926, a year after the Scopes trial, roughly 500 editorials about Mencken were published in American newspapers, and four-fifths of those were unfavorable. To read Mencken is to understand why columnist Walter Lippmann would remark, in the Saturday Review of Literature, that “He calls you a swine, and an imbecile, and he increases your will to live,” and yet, “What Mr.

For one of the few times in his life, though, Mencken censored himself due to an immediate outcry, and produced a softer, second version for the paper. His rethinking appeared in the American Mercury in October, and can be found in the ending of these pages. T. Barnum,” he wrote of Bryan. The unresolved issues at the heart of the Scopes trial remained vexing questions for decades. Mississippi and Arkansas went on to pass statutes inspired by the Butler Act, and other states imposed less onerous restrictions on the teaching of evolution.

It offers, to an ignorant man, the irresistible reasonableness of the nonsensical. So he accepts it with loud hosannas, and has one more excuse for hating his betters. Politics and the fine arts repeat the story. The issues that the former throw up are often so complex that, in the present state of human knowledge, they must remain impenetrable, even to the most enlightened men. How much easier to follow a mountebank with a shibboleth—a Coolidge, a Wilson or a Roosevelt! The arts, like the sciences, demand special training, often very difficult.

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