Most people today see the Scopes Trial as a simple confrontation between superstitious hillbillies who rallied around a great buffoon, William Jennings Bryan, and a great and open-minded science teacher. Bryan was certainly wrong about evolution. But he was not a buffoon.
It was Harry Cohn, boss of Columbia Pictures, who said "give the people what they want, and they'll come out for it." Now they can stay in and watch it. And what they watched in June is the Casey Anthony trial.
When the age of Mencken passed, many felt that the column would be followed by nothing but news. But today, given the millions of words of columns, billions of blogs and tweets, opinion is riding high.
The point is not that Televangelists are scoundrels, or that many Christian pastors are hypocrites, but that these grand ministry failures represent examples of what many mainstream churches have, in desperation, come to believe is relevant.
Sarah Palin's right that "English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too." And that's something to be afraid of -- because she's contributing far more to the trough of public consciousness than just a few verbal miscues.
When pundits labeled last year's presidential campaign "divisive" and "dirty," I had to laugh. The champion of all dirty races in this century, in fact, was the 1934 contest between Upton Sinclair and Frank Merriam.