The Scopes Trial And H L Mencken

One of the best tangential stories about Mr. Mencken has to do with the Monkey Trial in Tennessee in 1925.  I the intervening years, much has been made about the conflict between those who absolutely believe in creationism and those who absolutely believe in evolution.  This is especially true since that play and the subsequent movie.

At the time, the public of Dayton and of other spots in America were not so much on Clarence Darrow or William Jennings Bryan, but on Henry Mencken.  He was considered to be the devil in the flesh by many, and there was some serious concern that he might get hanged or ridden out of town on a rail if he showed up.  So he showed up to cover the event.

Mencken apparently knew Bryant from earlier times, and the two had a conversation in the street in the days preceding the trial.  I suppose the sight of William Jennings Bryan speaking with Satan stopped anyone from further considering any drastic measures against him.  After all, if the Hammer of God was friendly to him, maybe he was not quite so sinister after all.

After the trial, Mencken wrote what, for him in the 20s, was pretty standard stuff about the things he witnessed in Dayton that summer, as well as some less than lofty things about Mr. Bryant who kicked off within weeks of the verdict.

TheSquirrel TheSquirrel
51-55, M
1 Response Mar 10, 2010

Mencken was awesome.<br />
<br />
What did you think of the Gene Kelly depiction of HL in Inherit the Wind?

You know, I have not seen that in thirty years. I need to get it and watch it. Gene Kelly was a class act.