By the Numbers (Crazy Christians and Celestial Cosmic Capers)

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If notability cannot be established, the article is likely to be merged , redirected , or deleted. Retrieved 26 January The Week. Michael Wolfe. Retrieved April 28, File The A. The Onion Inc. The New York Observer. Observer Media. It is the custodian of the qualities that make for change and experiment; it is the class that organizes danger to the service of the race; it pays for its high prerogatives by standing in the forefront of the fray. No such aristocracy, it must be plain, is now on view in the United States. The makings of one were visible in the Virgirnia of the later eighteenth century, but with Jefferson and Washington the promise died.

In New England, it seems to me, there was never any aristocracy, either in being or in nascency: there was only a theocracy that degenerated very quickly into a plutocracy on the one hand, and a caste of sterile Gelehrten on the other—the passion for God splitting into a lust for dollars and a weakness for mere words. Despite the common notion to the contrary—a notion generated by confusing literacy with intelligence—New England has never shown the slightest sign of a genuine enthusiasm for ideas.

It began its history as a slaughter-house of ideas, and it is to-day not easily distinguishable from a cold-storage plant. Its celebrated adventures in mysticism, once apparently so bold and significant, are now seen to have been little more than an elaborate hocus-pocus—respectable Unitarians shocking the peasantry and scaring the horned cattle in the fields by masquerading in the robes of Rosicrucians. The ideas that it embraced in those austere and far-off days were stale, and when it had finished with them they were dead.

When the plutocracy is challenged now, it is challenged by the proletariat. Well, what is on view in New England is on view in all other parts of the nation, sometimes with ameliorations, but usually with the colors merely exaggerated. What one beholds, sweeping the eye over the land, is a culture that, like the national literature, is in three layers—the plutocracy on top, a vast mass of undifferentiated human blanks at the bottom, and a forlorn intelligentisia gasping out a precarious life between. I need not set out at any length, I hope, the intellectual deficiencies of the plutocracy -- its utter failure to show anything even remotely resembling the makings of an aristocracy.

It is badly educated, it is stupid, it is full of low- caste superstitions and indignations, it is without decent traditions or informing vision; above all, it is extraordinarily lacking in the most elemental independence and courage. Out of this class comes the grotesque fashionable society of our big towns, already described. Imagine a horde of peasants incredibly enriched and with almost infinite power thrust into their hands, and you will have a fair picture of its habitual state of mind. It shows all the stigmata of inferiority—moral certainty, cruelty, suspicion of ideas, fear.

Never did it function more revealingly than in the late pogrom against the so-called Reds, i. The machinery brought to bear upon these feeble and scattered fanatics would have almost sufficed to repel an invasion by the united powers of Europe.

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They were hunted out of their sweat-shops and coffee-houses as if they were so many Carranzas or Ludendorffs, dragged to jail to the tooting of horns, arraigned before quaking judges on unintelligible charges, condemned to defend themselves, torn from their dependent families, herded into prison-ships, and then finally dumped in a snow waste, to be rescued and fed by the Bolsheviki. And what was the theory at the bottom of all these astounding proceedings? So far as it can be reduced to comprehensible terms it was much less a theory than a fear—a shivering, idiotic, discreditable fear of a mere banshee—an overpowering, paralyzing dread that some extra-eloquent Red, permitted to emit his balderdash unwhipped, might eventually convert a couple of courageous men, and that the courageous men, filled with indignation against the plutocracy, might take to the highroad, burn down a nail-factory or two, and slit the throat of some virtuous profiteer.

In order to lay this fear, in order to ease the jangled nerves of the American successors to the Hapsburgs and Hohenzollerns, all the constitutional guarantees of the citizen were suspended, the statute- books were burdened with laws that surpass anything heard of in the Austria of Maria Theresa, the country was handed over to a frenzied mob of detectives, informers and agents provocateurs —and the Reds departed laughing loudly, and were hailed by the Bolsheviki as innocents escaped from an asylum for the criminally insane.

Obviously, it is out of reason to look for any hospitality to ideas in a class so extravagantly fearful of even the most palpably absurd of them. Its philosophy is firmly grounded upon the thesis that the existing order must stand forever free from attack, and not only from attack, but also from mere academic criticism, and its very ethics are as firmly grounded upon the thesis that every attempt at any such criticism is a proof of moral turpitude.

Within its own ranks, protected by what may be regarded as the privelege of the order, there is nothing to take the place of this criticism…. Astronomers and physicists, dealing habitually with objects and qualities far beyond the reach of the senses, even with the aid of the most powerful aids that ingenuity has been able to devise, tend almost inevitably to fall into the ways of thinking of men dealing with objects and quantities that do not exist at all, e.

Thus their speculations tend almost inevitably to depart from the field of true science, which is that of precise observation, and to become mere soaring empyrean. The process works backward, too. That is to say, their reports of what they pretend actually to see are often very unreliable. It is thus no wonder that, of all men of science, they are the most given to flirting with theology.

Nor is it remarkable that, in the popular belief, most astronomers end by losing their minds. Of all Christain dogmas, perhaps the most absurd is that of the Atonement, for it not only certifies to the impotence of God but also to His lack of common sense. If He is actually all-wise and all-powerful then He might have rescued man from sin by devices much simpler and more rational than the sorry one of engaging in fornication with a young peasant girl, and then commissioning the ensuing love-child to save the world. And if He is intelligent, He would have chosen a far more likely scene for the business than an obscure corner of the Roman empire, among a people of no influence or importance.

Why not Rome itself?

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett

Why was not Jesus sent there, instead of being confined to the back alleys of Palestine? His followers, after his execution, must have asked themselves something like this question, for they proceeded at once upon the missionary journeys that He had never undertaken Himself. Their success was only moderate, for they were men of despised castes, and the doctrine they preached was quickly corrupted by borrowings from the various other cults of the time and from their own ignorant speculations.

Indeed, the whole machinery of propaganda was managed so clumsily that Christianity prevailed at last by a series of political accidents, none of them having anything to do with its fundamental truth. Even so, the overwhelming majority of human beings remained unaffected by it, and it was more than a thousand years before so many as half of them had heard of it. During all this time, by Christian theory, they remained plunged in the sins that Jesus was sent to obliterate, and countless multitudes of them must have gone to Hell. To this day there are many millions still in that outer darkness, including all the Moslem nations, all the great peoples of Asia, and nearly all the savages on earth.

Certainly, it would be impossible to imagine a more inept and ineffective scheme for saving humanity. It was badly planned, its execution was left mainly to extremely stupid men, and it failed to reach all save a minute minority of the men and women it was designed for. I can think of no reformer, not clearly insane, who has managed his propaganda so badly. Knopf, , pp. It is responsible for his feeling of superiority, and under that feeling there is undoubtedly a certain measure of reality, at least within narrow limits.

But what is too often overlooked is that the capacity to perform an act is by no means synonymous with its salubrious exercise. Of all animals, indeed, he seems the least capable of arriving at accurate judgments in the matters that most desperately affect his welfare. Try to imagine a rat, in the realm of rat ideas, arriving at a notion as violently in comtempt of plausibility as the notion, say, of Swedenborgianism, or that of homeopathy, or that of infant damnation, or that of mental telepathy. Try to think of a congretation of educated rats gravely listening to such disgusting intellectual rubbish as was in the public bulls of Dr.

Woodrow Wilson. Let any great nation of modern times be confronted by two conflicting propositions, the one grounded upon the utmost probability and reasonableness and the other upon the most glaring error, and it will almost invariably embrace the latter. It is so in politics, which consists wholly of a succession of unintelligent crazes, many of them so idiotic that they exist only as battle-cries and shibboleths and are not reducible to logical statement at all.

It is so in religion, which, like poetry, is simply a concerted effort to deny the most obvious realities. It is so in nearly every field of thought.

The ideas that conquer the race most rapidly and arouse the wildest enthusiasm and are held most tenaciously are precisely the ideas that are most insane. No doubt the imagination of man is to blame for this singular weakness. That imagination, I daresay, is what gave him his first lift above his fellow primates.

It enabled him to visualize a condition of existence better than that he was experiencing, and bit by bit he was able to give the picture a certain crude reality. Even to-day he keeps on going ahead in the same manner. That is, he thinks of something that he would like to be or to get, something appreciably better than what he is or has, and then, by the laboriious, costly method of trial and error, he gradually moves toward it.

He mashes his thumb, he skins his shin; he stumbles and falls; the prize he reaches out for blows up in his hands. But bit by bit he moves on, or, at all events, his heirs and assigns move on. Bit by bit he smooths the path beneath his remaining leg, and achieves pretty toys for his remaining hand to play with, and accumulates delights for his remaining ear and eye.

Alas, he is not content with this slow and sanguinary progress! Always he looks further and further ahead.

Always he imagines things just over the sky-line. This body of imaginings constitutes his stock of sweet beliefs, his corpus of high faiths and confidences—in brief, his burden of errors. And that burden of errors is what distinguishes man, even above his capacity for tears, his talents as a liar, his excessive hypocrisy and poltroonery, from all the other orders of mammalia.

Man is the yokel par excellence , the booby unmatchable, the king dupe of the cosmos. He is chronically and unescapably deceived, not only by the other animals and by the delusive face of nature herself, but also and more particularly by himself—by his incomparable talent for searching out and embracing what is false, and for overlooking and denying what is true. An American crowd does not go to a … [ball] game to see a fair and honest contest, but to see the visiting club walloped and humiliated.

And if, even then, the home club is drubbed, it becomes the butt itself, and is lambasted even more brutally than the visitors. All the while I have been forgetting the third of my reasons for remaining so faithful a citizen of the Federation, despite all the lascivious inducements from expatriates to follow them beyond the seas, and all the surly suggestions from patriots that I succumb.

It is the reason which grows out of my mediaeval but unashamed taste for the bizarre and indelicate, my congenital weakness for comedy of the grosser varieties. The United States, to my eye, is incomparably the greatest show on earth. It is a show which avoids diligently all the kinds of clowning which tire me most quickly—for example, royal ceremonials, the tedious hocus-pocus of haut politique , the taking of politics seriously — and lays chief stress upon the kinds which delight me unceasingly—for example, the ribald combats of demagogues, the exquisitely ingenious operations of master rogues, the pursuit of witches and heretics, the desperate struggles of inferior men to claw their way into Heaven.

We have clowns in constant practice among us who are as far above the clowns of any other great state as a Jack Dempsey is above a paralytic—and not a few dozen or score of them, but whole droves and herds. Human enterprises which, in all other Christian countries, are resigned despairingly to an incurable dullness—things that seem devoid of exhilirating amusement, by their very nature—are here lifted to such vast heights of buffoonery that contemplating them strains the midriff almost to breaking.

I cite an example: the worship of God. Everywhere else on earth it is carried on in a solemn and dispiriting manner; in England, of course, the bishops are obscene, but the average man seldom gets a fair chance to laugh at them and enjoy them. Now come home. Here we not only have bishops who are enormously more obscene than even the most gifted of the English bishops; we have also a huge force of lesser specialists in ecclesiastical mountebankery—tin-horn Loyolas, Savonarolas and Xaviers of a hundred fantastic rites, each performing untiringly and each full of a grotesque and illimitable whimsicality.

Every American town, however small, has one of its own: a holy clerk with so fine a talent for introducing the arts of jazz into the salvation of the damned that his performance takes on all the gaudiness of a four-ring circus, and the bald announcement that he will raid Hell on such and such a night is enough to empty all the town blind-pigs and bordellos and pack his sanctuary to the doors. And to aid him and inspire him there are travelling experts to whom he stands in the relation of a wart to the Matterhorn—stupendous masters of theological imbecility, contrivers of doctrines utterly preposterous, heirs to the Joseph Smith, Mother Eddy and John Alexander Dowie tradition—Bryan, Sunday, and their like.

These are the eminences of the American Sacred College. I delight in them. Their proceedings make me a happier American. Turn, now, to politics. Consider, for example, a campaign for the Presidency. Would it be possible to imagine anything more uproariously idiotic — a deafening, nerve-wracking battle to the death between Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Harlequin and Sganarelle, Gobbo and Dr. Cook—the unspeakable, with fearful snorts, gradually swallowing the inconceivable? I defy any one to match it elsewhere on this earth. In other lands, at worst, there are at least intelligible issues, coherent ideas, salient personalities.

Somebody says something, and somebody replies. But what did Harding say in , and what did Cox reply? Who was Harding, anyhow, and who was Cox? Here, having perfected democracy, we lift the whole combat to symbolism, to transcendentalism, to metaphysics. Here we load a pair of palpably tin cannon with blank cartridges charged with talcum power, and so let fly. Here one may howl over the show without any uneasy reminder that it is serious, and that some one may be hurt.

I hold that this elevation of politics to the plane of undiluted comedy is peculiarly American, that no-where else on this disreputable ball has the art of the sham-battle been developed to such fineness…. But feeling better for the laugh. Ridi si sapis , said Martial. Mirth is necessary to wisdom, to comfort, above all to happiness.

Well, here is the land of mirth, as Germany is the land of metaphysics and France is the land of fornication. Here the buffoonery never stops. What could be more delightful than the endless struggle of the Puritan to make the joy of the minority unlawful and impossible? The effort is itself a greater joy to one standing on the side-lines than any or all of the carnal joys it combats. Always, when I contemplate an uplifter at his hopeless business, I recall a scene in an old- time burlesque show, witnessed for hire in my days as a dramatic critic.

A chorus girl executed a fall upon the stage, and Rudolph Krausemeyer, the Swiss comdeian, rushed to her aid. As he stooped painfully to succor her, Irving Rabinovitz, the Zionist comedian, fetched him a fearful clout across the cofferdam with a slap-stick. So the uplifter, the soul-saver, the Americanizer, striving to make the Republic fit for Y. He is the eternal American, ever moved by the best of intentions, ever running a la Krausemeyer to the rescue of virtue, and ever getting his pantaloons fanned by the Devil.

I am naturally sinful, and such spectacles caress me. As it is, I know that the uplifter is not really hurt, but simply shocked. As for me, it makes me a more contented man, and hence a better citizen. One man prefers the Republic because it pays better wages than Bulgaria. Another because it has laws to keep him sober and his daughter chaste. Another because the Woolworth Building is higher than the cathedral at Chartres. Another because, living here, he can read the New York Evening Journal.

Another because there is a warrant out for him somewhere else. Me, I like it because it amuses me to my taste. I never get tired of the show. It is worth every cent it costs.

That cost, it seems to me is very moderate. Taxes in the United States are not actually high. I figure, for example, that my private share of the expense of maintaining the Hon. Harding in the White House this year will work out to less than 80 cents. Finally, there is young Teddy Roosevelt, the naval expert. Teddy costs me, as I work it out, about 11 cents a year, or less than a cent a month.

More, he entertains me doubly for the money, first as a naval expert, and secondly as a walking attentat upon democracy, a devastating proof that there is nothing, after all, in that superstition. We Americans subscribe to the doctrine of human equality—and the Rooseveltii reduce it to an absurdity as brilliantly as the sons of Veit Bach. Where is your equal opportunity now? Here in this Eden of clowns, with the highest rewards of clowning theoretically open to every poor boy—here in the very citadel of democracy we found and cherish a clown dynasty!

In the field of practical morals popular judgments are often sounder than those of the self-appointed experts. These experts seldom show any talent for the art and mystery they undertake to profess; on the contrary, nine-tenths of them are obvious quacks. They are responsible for all the idiotic moral reforms and innovations that come and go, afflicting decent people. And they are the main, and often the only advocates of moral ideas that have begun to wear out, and deserve to be scrapped. The effort to put down birth control, led by Catholic theologians but with a certain amount of support from Protestant colleagues, offers a shining case in point.

The more the heat is applied to them, the more Catholic women seem to resort to the devices of the Devil, on sale in every drugstore. Many of these women are genuinely pious, but into their piety there has been introduced an unhappy doubt, perhaps only half formulated. It is a doubt about the professional competence of their moral guides and commanders. They have not only begun to view the curious fiats of bishops and archbishops with a growing indifference; they have also begun to toy with the suspicion that even the Pope, on occasion, may be all wet.

His first anathemas against contraception were plain and unqualified, but of late he has begun to hedge prudently, and it is now quite lawful for a Catholic woman to avoid pregnancy by a resort to mathematics, though she is still forbidden to resort to physics and chemistry. This concession is a significant admission that the original position of the moral theologians was untenable. In other words, it is an admission that they were wrong about a capital problem of their trade—and that the persons they sought to teach were right.

What was behind that consuming hatred? At first I thought that it was mere evangelical passion. Evangelical Christianity, as everyone knows, is founded upon hate, as the Christianity of Christ was founded upon love. But even evangelical Christians occasionally loose their belts and belch amicably; I have known some who, off duty, were very benignant.

One day it dawned on me that Bryan, after all, was an evangelical Christain only by sort of afterthought—that his career in this world, and the glories thereof, had actually come to an end before he ever began whooping for Genesis. So I came to this conclusion: that what really moved him was a lust for revenge. The men of the cities had destroyed him and made a mock of him; now he would lead the yokels against them.

Various facts clicked into the theory, and I hold it still. Thus he fought his last fight, eager only for blood. It quickly became frenzied and preposterous, and after that pathetic. All sense departed from him. He bit right and left, like a dog with rabies. He descended into demagogy so dreadful that his very associates blushed. His one yearning was to keep his yokels heated up—to lead his forlorn mob against the foe. That foe, alas, refused to be alarmed. It insisted upon seeing the battle as a comedy.

Even Darrow, who knew better, occasionally yielded to the prevailing spirit. Finally, he lured poor Bryan into a folly almost incredible. I allude to his astounding argument against the notion that man is a mammal. There stood the man who had been thrice a candidate for the Presidency of the Republic—and once, I believe, elected—there he stood in the glare of the world, uttering stuff that a boy of eight would laugh at!

The artful Darrow led him on: he repeated it, ranted for it, bellowed it in his cracked voice. A tragedy, indeed! He came into life a hero, a Galahad, in bright and shining armor. Now he was passing out a pathetic fool. He was ignorant, bigoted, self-seeking, blatant and dishonest. His career brought him into contact with the first men of his time; he preferred the company of rustic ignoramuses. It was hard to believe, watching him at Dayton, that he had traveled, that he had been received in civilized societies, that he had been a high officer of state.

He seemed only a poor clod like those around him, deluded by a childish theology, full of an almost pathological hatred of all learning, all human dignity, all beauty, all fine and noble things. He was a peasant come home to the dung-pile. Imagine a gentleman, and you have imagined everything that he was not. The believing mind is a curious thing. It must absorb its endless rations of balderdash, or perish. Casuistry has got a bad name in the world, mainly, I suppose, because of the dubious uses to which it was put during the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries by some of its Jesuit practitioners.

But it really is a very useful art, and its influence upon the thinking of mankind has probably been much more beneficial than deleterious. Some of the most valuable liberties of the modern age were attained by the use of adept casuistry. It was impossible to argue for them openly, but they could be supported effectively by the tricks invented by theological casuists. The legal fictions that broke down the old rigidity of English law had the same origin. It is a pity that American law is not developing more of them.

Mencken From the Smart Set , Oct. Nothing, in fact, could be more commonplace than the observation that the crazes which periodically ravage the proletariat are, in the main, no more than distorted echoes of delusions cherished centuries ago. The fundamental religious ideas of the lower orders of Christendom have not changed materially in 2, years, and they were old when they were first borrowed from the heathen of Asia Minor and Northern Africa.

The Iowa Methodist of today, imagining him able to understand them at all, would be able to accept the tenets of Augustine without changing more than a few accents and punctuation marks. And so in politics. The Bolsheviki of today not only poll-parrot the balderdash of the French demagogues of ; they also mouth what was gospel to every bete blonde in the Teutonic forests of the Fifth Century. Truth shifts and changes like a cataract of diamonds; its aspect is never precisely the same at two successive instants.

But error flows down the channel of history like some great stream of lava or infinitely lethargic glacier. It is the one relatively fixed thing in a world of chaos. It is, perhaps, the one thing that gives human society the stability needed to save it from the wreck that ever menaces. Without their dreams men would have fallen upon and devoured one another long ago—and yet every dream is an illusion, and every illusion a falsehood. It is spared thereby those moral witch-hunts that have so often disrupted the Protestant sects, it is aided in keeping down the nuisance of spiritual pride, and it is given a firm grip upon the lowly, who are as conscious of their lack of saintliness as they are of their lack of wealth, and are naturally grateful to a vast, lordly and mysterious organization which condescends to them politely, and makes them comfortable.

The whip it cracks over them is barbed with the fear of Hell, but the cracking is done with infinite discretion, and a fine understanding of psychology as she blows in the lower IQ brackets. Upon the superior minority -- never large—the Church makes play with other weapons, some of them of a great subtlety, but the rank and file are policed by fear alone, and its only administrative reinforcement is a very simple system of obligations and taboos.

Make your Easter duty. Avoid meat on Friday. Keep Lent. Marry only in the Church. Bring your babies for baptism promptly, and have plenty of them. Be respectful to your spiritual superiors. Read no forbidden books. For the rest, do as well as you can, considering the feeble strength that Yahweh hath granted you—and trust Holy Church, which is wise and merciful, to save you somehow from Hell.

The mob, having heard Christ, turned against him, and applauded his crucifixion. His theological ideas were too logical and too plausible for it, and his ethical ideas were enormously too austere. What it yearned for was the old comfortable balderdash under a new and gaudy name, and that is precisely what Paul offered it.

Christ, we are told, preached no complicated mysteries and demanded no pedantic allegiance. He knew nothing of transubstantiation, or of reserved sacraments, or of the adoration of the saints, or of the vestments controversy. He was even somewhat vague about original sin. Alive today, could He qualify as a bishop? He could not. Even the Salvation Army would put Him on probation, at least until He had mastered the cornet. What would Monsignor Manning say of His patriotism, or of His economic views, or of His probable opinion of the great spiritual filling-station on Morningside Heights?

What these high authorities would say, I venture, would be a plenty. It is common to assume that human progress affects everyone--that even the dullest man, in these bright days, knows more than any man of, say, the Eighteenth Century, and is far more civilized. This assumption is quite erroneous. The men of the educated minority, no doubt, know more than their predecessors, and of some of them, perhaps, it may be said that they are more civilized--though I should not like to be put to giving names--but the great masses of men, even in this inspired republic, are precisely where the mob was at the dawn of history.

They are ignorant, they are dishonest, they are cowardly, they are ignoble. They know little of anything that is worth knowing, and there is not the slightest sign of a natural desire among them to increase their knowledge. The most ignorant man, when he is ill, may enjoy whatever boons and usufructs modern medicine may offer--that is, provided he is too poor to choose his own doctor.

He is free, if he wants to, to take a bath. The literature of the world is at his disposal in public libraries. He may look at worlds of art. He may hear good music. He has at hand a thousand devices for making life less wearisome and more tolerable: the telephone, railroads, bichloride tablets, newspapers, sewers, correspondence schools, delicatessen.

But he had no more to do with bringing these things into the world than the horned cattle in the fields, and he does no more to increase them today than the birds in the air. Every step in human progress, from the first feeble stirings in the abyss of time, has been oppressed by the great majority of men. They have fought every new truth ever heard of, and they have killed every truth- seeker who got into their hands. They mirror very accurately his congenital hatred of knowledge, his bitter enmity to the man who knows more than he does, and so gets more out of life.

Certainly it cannot have gone unnoticed that their membership is recruited, in the overwhelming main, from the lower orders--that no man of any education or other human dignity belongs to them. What they propose to do, at botttom and in brief, is to make the superior man infamous--by mere abuse if it is sufficient, and if it is not, then by law.

These super-Chandala often attain to a considerable power, especially in the Democratic states. Their followers trust them and look up to them; sometimes, when the pack is on the loose, it is necessary to conciliate them. But their puissance cannot conceal their incurrable inferiority. Whatever lies above the level of their comprehension is of the devil. A glass of wine delights civilized men; them themselves, drinking it, would get drunk.

Ergo, wine must be prohibited. Ergo, its teaching must be put down. Nothing else can. We must think of human progress, not as of something going on in the race in general, but as of something going on in a small minority, perpetually beleaguered in a few walled towns. Now and then the horde of barbarians outside breaks through, and we have an armed effort to halt the process. The minority is decimated and driven to cover.

But a few survive--and a few are enough to carry on. He hates it because it is complex--because it puts an unbearable burden upon his meager capacity for taking in ideas. Thus his search is for shortcuts. Their aim is to make the unintelligible simple, and even obvious. So on what seem to be higher levels. No man who has not had a long and arduous education can understand even the most concepts of modern pathology.

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But even a hind at the plow can grasp the theory of chiropractic in two lessons. Hence the vast popularity of chiropractic among the submerged--and of osteopathy, Christian Science and other such quackeries with it. They are idiotic, but they are simple--and every man prefers what he can understand to what puzzles and dismays him. The cosmogonies that educated men toy with are all inordinately complex.

To comprehend their veriest outlines requires an immense stock of knowledge, and a habit of thought. It would be as vain to try to teach to peasants of to the city proletariat as it would be to try to teach them to streptococci. But the cosmogony of Genesis is so simple that even a yokel can grasp it. It is set forth in a few phrases. It offers, to an ignorant man, the irrestibile reasonableness of the nonsensical. So he accepts it with loud hosannas, and has one more excuse for hating his betters. 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. But in jazz there are simple rhythms, comprehensible even to savages. The intellectual heritage of the race belongs to the minority, and to the minority only. The majority has no more to do with it than it has to do with ecclesiastic politics on Mars. In so far as that heritage is apprehended, it is viewed with enmity.

But in the main it is not apprehended at all. Of the ,, so-called human beings now who live in the United States, flogged and crazed by Coolidge, Rotary, the Ku Klux and the newspapers, it is probable that at least ,, have never heard of him at all. So far as they are concerned he might as well have died at birth. The gorgeous and incomparable beauties that he created are nothing to them. They get no value out of the fact that he existed.

They are completely unaware of what he did in the world, and would not be interested if they were told. His music survives because it lies outside the plane of popular apprehension, like the colors beyond violet and the concept of honor. If it could be brought within range, it would at once arouse hostility. Its complexity would challenge; its lace of moral purpose would affright. Soon there would be a movement to put it down, and Baptist clergymen would rage the land denouncing it, and in the end some poor musician, taken in the un- American act of playing it, would be put on trial before a jury of Ku Kluxers, and railroaded to the calaboose.

That is to say, they show all their habitual lack of humor and all their customary furtive weakness for the delusions of Homo neanderthalensis. I point to two of their most enlightened organs: the eminent New York World and the gifted New Republic. The World is displeased with Mr. Darrow because, in his appalling cross-examination of the mountebank Bryan, he did some violence to the theological superstitions that millions of Americans cherish.

Once more, alas, I find myself unable to follow the best Liberal thought. This, I fear, is nonsense. The way to deal with superstition is not to be polite to it, but to tackle it with all arms, and so rout it, cripple it, and make it forever infamous and ridiculous. Is it, perchance, cherished by persons who should know better?

Then their folly should be brought out into the light of day, and exhibited there in all its hideousness until they flee from it, hiding their heads in shame. True enough, even a superstitious man has certain inalienable rights. He has a right to harbor and indulge his imbecilities as long as he pleases, provided only he does not try to inflict them upon other men by force. He has a right to argue for them as eloquently as he can, in season and out of season. In Blue Murder s signature style, heart-tugging domestic drama and good-natured workplace ribbing leaven each suspenseful, grimly realistic mystery.

Features the life of the master showman who became part of American history. Mysterious deaths occur, and the detective must deal with a multitude of suspects, evasive answers, and his growing attraction to Deborah Riscoe. Originally broadcast on PBS on Based on the life stories of the eccentric aunt and first cousin of Jackie Kennedy, this HBO drama tells the tender, intimate story of an eccentric mother and daughter. Fans of non-mainstream, slice-of-life, thought-provoking films enjoy its sharp dissection of the British class system. This episode of the PBS series, The American Experience, examines the influenza pandemic that broke out in and that within two years killed 30 million people.

Epidemiologists discuss the odds of such a plague occurring again. This made for TV movie attempts to re-create the disastrous events that took place during the Mount Everest climb on May 10, Joined by Dizzy Gillespie, hosted by Doc Severinson, these jazz pioneers reveled in the numbers with which they had changed the face of popular music more than thirty years before.

Proposing to divide his vast kingdom amongst his three daughters, Goneril, Regan and Cornelia, Lear devises a test for his offspring to convince him of their suitability and compassion for rule. The complete story of the D-Day landings at Normandy through the eyes of all its participants. Based on the book by Cornelius Ryan.

A continuing look at the Sterling Cooper advertising agency and the lives of the people who work there. Originally broadcast on AMC in Originally broadcast as an episode of PBS series, The American Experience , this documentary uses a wealth of archival film, photographs and documents to uncover the story of this Jamaican immigrant who between and built the largest black mass movement in world history.

Also features interviews with people who witnessed the Garvey movement first hand. A high-powered executive, diagnosed with terminal cancer, begins filming a home movie in which he teaches his unborn son all the things a man must know: how to shave, how to slam dunk, and most of all, how to love. Cast: Michael Keaton, Nicole Kidman. Betrayal, deception and murder end the friendship between Othello and Iago and culminate in the tragic death of Desdemona. Patton during World War II. Cast: George C. Scott, Karl Malden. Kristin McGee presents her special blend of power yoga with this intense fitness program.

Building on the yoga lessons she taught on MTV, McGee combines aerobics with soul-centering moves all accompanied by an energizing workout. In this Alfred Hitchcock horror film, a secretary steals money from her boss and leaves town. On the road, she checks into the Bates Motel, run by a nice young man and his mother. Professor Henry Higgins works to make a pretty flower girl into a young lady of society.

Based on the play by George Bernard Shaw. Carroll, Rhonda Fleming, John Emery. Set in Paris in the s, Swann falls in love with a young courtesan, and soon finds himself tormented by his unrelenting sexual desire. Based on the novel by Marcel Proust. A lavish screen production of the classic Shakespearean play, with Taylor starring as the wealthy Katharina and Burton as the Petruchio who tries to subdue her. Their empathetic leader is replaced by a severe general who begins to identify with the young fliers.

When a man tries to stop his ex-girlfriend from marrying someone else, he is magically given an opportunity to turn back the clock and correct a past mistake. A history teacher, Tom Crick, inspires his students to embrace the past and discover the marvels and mysteries of life. Through many extraordinary stories, he takes them on an unforgettable journey into the past that changes their lives forever.

Change comes to Kris Furillo and everyone at the Raintree Ranch. A near win at the Sandpiper Race puts Kris and Wildfire in the limelight, but how will she adjust to fame and how will it affect those closest to her? Originally broadcast on television in Alanna Zabel presents traditional, flowing yoga routines moving through sequences that target specific body parts and muscle groups.

Begins with a simple warm-up and moves to lower body to lift and tighten buns, thighs and hips. Next is the sculpting arm and upper body sequence, followed by a middle-whittling core segment, finishing with a total body stretch. Charming year-old, Evie rebelliously sabotages her interviews at prestigious colleges. Based on the novel by Edith Wharton.

Gaelic Dictionary

Architectural historian Dan Cruickshank embarks on a five-month, country world tour visiting his selection of the 80 greatest buildings, artworks, and other man-made treasures that define human civilization. Originally broadcast on BBC in A young, newly wed couple set up housekeeping in an attic apartment near Central Park in New York City. Based on the play by Neil Simon. A brilliant but cynical forensic anthropologist and an ambitious FBI agent partner up to solve some of the most baffling and bizarre crimes ever.

Thyne, Eric Millegan, Tamara Taylor. Originally broadcast on television during the season. A former spy uses his special ops training to help others in trouble. Cast: Jeffrey Donovan, Gabrielle Anwar. Cook, Kirsten Vangsness, Paget Brewster. Originally broadcast on CBS during the season. Working with police and pathologists while fighting bureaucratic resistance, Vancouver city coroner Dominic Da Vinci relies on high-tech forensic science and old-fashioned shoe leather to illuminate the murky world in which men and women commit murder.

Cast: Nicholas Campbell. This crime drama series follows the adventures of Dominic Da Vinci, coroner of Vancouver, British Columbia, as he investigates suspicious deaths along side the police. Follows the adventures of Dominic Da Vinci, coroner of Vancouver, British Columbia, as he investigates suspicious deaths along side the police.

Originally broadcast on television Cast: Laura Leighton, Sebastian Spence. Set two years after the critically acclaimed Showtime series ended, the undead reapers are introduced to their new boss, Cameron Kane, whose new agenda creates disorder within the reaper clan. Based on the characters created by Bryan Fuller. Rated R.

Two upstanding married Englishwomen rent an Italian villa to get away from it all. Based on the novel by Elizabeth von Arnim. The story of a man torn between his joyless marriage to one woman and his lustful desire for another. Originally broadcasted on television in The story of the Joad family and their migration to California from their dust-bowl farm in Oklahoma during the Depression.

Based on the novel by John Steinbeck. Based on the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Centered on the personal and professional lives of five surgical interns and their supervisors. Love, lies, and family ties are revealed as the surgeons of Seattle Grace discover that their choices have major unintended consequences. Rated TV The glittering yet treacherous world of New York high society comes to life in the heartbreaking story of Lily Bart, a renowned beauty of exquisite charm who seeks a wealthy husband but winds up disgraced and discarded.

He invests his life savings into creating the American Roller Derby League as an attempt to make the sport a national sensation again. Based on the books by Marcel Pagnol. Side A. Jean de Florette : A man inherits a farm from his mother, but his powerful neighbor plots to steal it from him. Side B. In French, English subtitles.

The Pixie and the Mosh Pit (Ep. 5) - Fantasy High

The spooky fun begins when Kay Villano is one week away from marrying the serious Dr. Following a tragic plane crash, newspaper columnist Peyton MacGruder discovers a note that was from one of the passengers onboard. She sets on a quest to find the person for whom it was intended, and discovers the life it will change is her own. Based on the novel by Angela Hunt. Haunted by past mistakes, Peyton hesitates to take the next step with the man she loves. But a note from a reader warns about the regret caused by passion denied. Based upon the characters from the novel The Note by Angela Hunt.

A Hallmark Channel original movie. In Depression-era California, two migrant workers dream of better days on a spread of their own until an act of unintentional violence leads to tragic consequences. The story of the heroic Scottish Highlander who fought for family and country against the evil machinations of the British aristocracy in the s. A must-see for musical theatre fans. Cast: Bernadette Peters and Mandy Patankin. Follow the detailed investigations of two very different police officers thrown together by a series of gruesome crimes ranging from baffling murders to terrifying abductions.

Cast: David Hayman, Kate Buffery. Broadcast on British televivion Cast: America Ferrera, Eric Mabius. Betty Suarez is smart, sweet and hard working. The five documentaries span three hundred years tell the story of pivotal moments in U. Narrated by Benjamin Bratt. This ABC Family series centers on the world of horse racing and a young girl named Kris Furillo who, after serving time in a juvenile detention facility, works as a stablehand and later a jockey at Raintree Farm.

The story of several generations of a family, from the arrival of immigrant Sam Krichinsky in the suburb of Baltimore called Avalon, down through his children and grandchildren. The family goes from poverty to prosperity and the world changes around them, but their love and humor hold the family together.

This mini-series centers around the Kendrick family, owners of Beulah Land, and those connected to the plantation by history and fate. It follows Beulah Land from its height of splendor through its destruction in the Civil War and to its rebuilding. Based on the novel by Lonnie Coleman. A fact-based story about the all-black U. The film examines the racial tensions that existed between the black soldiers and some of the white soldiers, and the truths about the Indian invaders.

An American bomber pilot falls in love with a British nurse, and then must escort her husband on a mission behind enemy lines. Cast: Louis Gossett Jr. In Nazi-occupied Poland a poor Jewish cafe owner invents fictitious news bulletins about Allied advances against the Nazis. These lies keep hope and humor alive among the ghetto inhabitants. Lovejoy, an antiques dealer and part-time detective, scours the murky salesrooms, auction halls and stately homes of Britain, always on the lookout for a find.

Note Originally broadcast on BBC television in She is faced with a terrible dilemma when she learns the patients are denied treatment that could cure them. Marshall, Ossie Davis. Based on the play by David Feldshuh. In this exotic and erotic interracial love story, an African American businessman falls for a beautiful Indian immigrant, only to encounter shock and outrage from both families.

Based on the novel by Marion Zimmer Bradley. The story of a young slave girl and the man who, at great risk to each other, teaches her to read, opening up a whole new world for her. Based on the book by Gary Paulsen. The story of four slaves who escape from a cotton plantation in the South and travel along a clandestine network of escape routes to freedom in Canada.

Vance, Tim Reid. Robin of Locksley heads home from the Crusades to find his people starving and brutalized under the tyrannical rule of the new Sheriff. Along with trusty companion Much, trickster Allan A. The state of England is rotten and Robin and the gang will learn that doing good deeds in Nottingham is a dangerous business indeed. The world is changing rapidly. The Sheriff of Nottingham has forged a pact with the black knights to kill King Richard.

But first, the sheriff wants Robin dead more than ever and sets about catching him with the help of his sister and others. Marian and Edward are placed under house arrest in the castle after Gisborne burns their home to the ground. Now with Marian as castle spy, Robin and his gang can continue to help the people of Nottingham and stay one step ahead of the sheriff and Gisborne. Could this change the dynamic of the gang or tear them apart for good? Originally broadcast on BBC television in Set in , during the turbulent early days of the right-to-vote movement. The story of a young schoolgirl in Selma, Alabama, who is inspired by Dr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Ten acclaimed documentary filmmakers offer a fresh, compelling look at 10 pivotal moments in American history and their often unforeseen repercussions. Originally Broadcast on The History Channel. Two mischievous students turn convent school upside down with their pranks. Their graduation is both a relief and a celebration for the Mother Superior. A history of the pilots who faced discrimination in their effort to fly combat aircraft for their country during World War II. Originally broadcast on PBS in Narrator, Ossie Davis.

The sleepy English village of Dibley is plunged into an uproar when its new vicar turns out to be a woman. And not just any woman, but the unconventional Geraldine Granger who brings her own earthy spirit and humor to the pulpit. Originally broadcast by BBC1 Comedic drama centering around nuns in a convent and the conflict between the traditional, rigid values of the Roman Catholic church and the liberalism of the s. Sequel to The trouble with Angels. A drama focused on the hardships endured by a black family living in the Midwest in the 20th century.

With social progress still decades away, the family experiences open prejudice nearly everywhere they turn. Based on the book by Ovida Sebestyen. The true-life adventures of veterinarian James Herriot in rural England. Based on the books by James Herriot. The heart-warming tales of James Herriot, his wife Helen and his volatile but warm-hearted partner, Siegfried Farnon continues.

An elderly, exiled British spy remembers his days at an English boarding school in the s. In school, he fell in love with a male classmate, explored his homosexuality and was exposed to Marxist ideas, both contributing to his activities as a spy. A dramatization of the Battle of Arnhem, tracing the failed Operation Market Garden in which Allied soldiers struggled to disable the German forces from behind enemy lines in Holland. Founder of the greatest Champagne dynasties of the world, Charles Heidsieck falls in love with Southern belle Pauline.

Based on the book by Joseph Henriot. The dawn of the 20th century brought with it stunning new technology—technology that would change the world—and public personalities that were larger than life. Relive the heady days at the birth of the modern age, and discover its more sobering moments, with this exceptional compilation of documentaries. All segments previously aired as episodes of various programs on The History Channel.

In the teens, a nation still recovering from its own growing pains was thrust onto the world stage and began its rise to the status of superpower. Following a decade of worldwide terror and deprivation, the Roaring Twenties were a swinging time of flappers, bathtub gin and high spirits. It was an exhilarating period when we could achieve anything, from flying across oceans, to discovering the mysteries of the past, to unlocking the secrets of life itself.

Today we are still feeling the effects of the Great Depression and Prohibition. The 30s, with its gangsters and work projects, breadlines and escapist pursuits superhero comics, color movies, thoroughbred racing was a formative period for our country.

With mounting global tensions and domestic despair, the roar of the 20s faded quickly. The forties dawned with Nazi forces in Poland. It was clear from the beginning that trouble lay ahead. This sweeping DVD presentation captures the figures that steered the globe through these turbulent waters, including Churchill, Roosevelt, Gandhi, Hirohito and others. It was the age of hip-swingers, jet-fighters, and Ike-likers. It saw the end of the scourge of polio and the dawn of the scourge of McCarthyism.

Much of what we nostalgically revere — the foundations of our pop culture — arose in the fifties. This DVD collection explores the boom-time of the post-war decade when the sky was the limit and the Cold War chilled the planet. Depending on whom you ask, the sixties was all about love, civil rights, the Cold War, the Vietnam War, decadence, repression, or something else completely. It was many things to many people, and was, unquestionably, a turning point in our national experience. It was, in retrospect, a terrifying time only slightly ameliorated by the distractions of a decadent nightlife culture and over-the-top pop icons.

Our world changed forever during these fateful ten years, and this captivating two-disc set clarifies the major events — and major players — that shaped our globe. Still perfectly clear in the rear view mirror, the nineties loom in our collective memory. This revealing DVD collection remembers events eerily similar to our current situation: a war in Iraq, domestic terrorism, and deadly school shootings.

The set also covers the touchstone trials of the decade, if not the century: O. Simpson and Bill Clinton. A week before his mission, he is implicated in a murder and his cover slowly unravels under the scrutiny of an investigator and the woman he loves. At twelve-years-old, Timmy shows the early promise of a champion in the making. When his father sends him to caddy at a local country club, he finds a world where privilege meets the working class. With the help of a golf teacher with a broken past, he learns more than just technique and sportsmanship.

Based on the novel by Tom Coyne. A couple decides to live off the land of their suburban London home to the annoyance of their neighbors. A group of kids in s Brooklyn form a gang and do everything together. While this makes things easier, they eventually have to face new problems.

This time around Mary deals with more adventures, both in the newsroom and with her romantic life. But their relationship sparks a series of events so horrifying they threaten to destroy everything the two have ever known. Based on the novel by Alexander Pushkin. Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Liv Tyler. Neal Page Steve Martin wants to fly home to spend Thanksgiving with his family.

Del Griffith John Candy leads Page on a hilarious, cross-country, wild goose chase that keeps him from tasting his turkey. A pair of literary sleuths unearth the amorous secret of two Victorian poets only to find themselves falling under a passionate spell. Based on the novel by A. This History Channel documentary is an eight-part survey of the personal lives and legacies of the remarkable men who have presided over the Oval Office.

From George Washington to George W. Bush, series gathers together vivid snapshots of all 43 Commanders in Chief who have guided America throughout its history—their powerful personalities, weaknesses, and major achievements or historical insignificance. The set features rare and unseen photographs and footage, unexpected insight and trivia from journalists, scholars, and politicians such as Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley, Wesley Clark, Bob Dole, and former President Jimmy Carter.

Narrated by Edward Herrmann. A disillusioned Southern coach reveals his tortured childhood in order to help his troubled, suicidal sister, and discovers the healing powers of love and forgiveness. Based on the book by Pat Conroy. The story of the mulatto woman who had an affair with President Thomas Jefferson for nearly 40 years. After failing to have his marriage to Katherine annulled, Henry appoints himself the head of the Church of England. Anne Boleyn insists that Henry remove the Queen from the picture.

A royal visit to France finally prompts Anne to consummate her relationship with Henry. The king and new queen are disappointed that their first child is a girl, whom they christen Elizabeth. Showtime Production.