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 insurance of the Scopes Monkey Trial so galvanized the state 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 fascinating: his perceptive rendering of the court 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 studies have by no means been amassed jointly right into a booklet in their own—until now.

A non secular Orgy In Tennessee includes all of Mencken’s studies for The Baltimore solar, The Nation, and The American Mercury. It even comprises his assurance of Bryan’s dying simply days after the trial—an obituary so withering Mencken was once compelled via his editors to rewrite it, angering him and top him to rewrite it all over again in a 3rd model even much less forgiving than the 1st. All 3 models are integrated, 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

Sample text

IV Obviously, this is an intelligent attitude. Equally obviously, it is one that the evangelical brethren cannot take without making their position absurd. For weal or for woe, they are committed absolutely to the literal accuracy of the Bible; they base their whole theology upon it. Once they admit, even by inference, that there may be a single error in Genesis, they open the way to an almost complete destruction of that theology. So they are forced to take up the present challenge boldly, and to prepare for a battle to the death.

The slightest sign of anything further brought forth a peremptory challenge from the State. Once a man was challenged without examination for simply admitting that he did not belong formally to any church. Another time a panel man who confessed that he was prejudiced against evolution got a hearty round of applause from the crowd. The whole process quickly took on an air of strange unreality, at least to a stranger from heathen parts. The desire of the judge to be fair to the defense, and even polite and helpful, was obvious enough—in fact, he more than once stretched the local rules of procedure in order to give Darrow a hand.

Richard H. Edmonds and the Hon. Henry S. Dulaney. That is to say, evangelical Christianity is one hundred per cent triumphant. There is, of course, a certain subterranean heresy, but it is so cowed that it is almost inarticulate, and at its worst it would pass for the strictest orthodoxy in such Sodoms of infidelity as Baltimore. It may seem fabulous, but it is a sober fact that a sound Episcopalian or even a Northern Methodist would be regarded as virtually an atheist in Dayton. Here the only genuine conflict is between true believers.

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