We’re back, with a proper WWA episode. Daniel’s choice this time: Inherit the Wind, Stanley Kramer’s 1960 drama loosely based on the Scopes Monkey Trial. (Details here.)
A really good episode, this one (IMHO). Lots of laughs and silliness but also some meaty discussion about history and politics.
Show Notes: Main Topic: Inherit the Wind. Vague plot summary. Fictionalized. Quality female characters. Familiarity breeds contempt? Chimpanzee casting. Didn’t fall in love. Connected to Mississippi Burning. Cartoonish Brady. Brady’s wife. Sexism of 1925. Pronouncement dialogue. Golden Age acting. Comic relief. Unforgiving role. The One Man Who Can Think. Educating the rubes. McCarthyism. Flouting conformity and Great-Man-ism. Village Atheist. Blacklisted screenwriter and HUAC. Slavish attachment to the USSR. At last, a Trump reference. And Nixon. Fans sponspored by the funeral home. Perspiration necessary for a proper courtroom drama. Bigwig motives. Old Time Religion Uber Alles. Lynching sequences. Black actors. Talking about civil rights without talking about civil rights. Mencken. Brady’s hypocrisy. Not William Jennings Bryan. Classism and the American South. Ditto for British regional accents. Legitimate resentment. Not even Hollywood Poverty. The “respectable poor.” Scopes and eugenics. Scientism and Social Darwinism. Nasty Nietzsche. Sociobiological implications in Darwin’s followers. Kit brings us back to the film for a moment. Rachel Brown’s impossible choice. “Just fucking listen.” Western heroine thing. Darrow calls Bryan. Interlude. Facts not feels. “If you’re explaining, you’re losing.” Williams Jennings Bryan and his place in history. Bryan’s presidential runs and the gold standard. No left in American history. Radicalism of the gospels. New Atheists revised history. Defending Dawkins? Arguing against the book. The history of the religious right. Aftereffects of the trial. Inherit the Raging Bull. Two colonels? Eugenics and evolution. Moral systems. Christianity is revolutionary. Origins of creationism vis a vis fundamentalism. Luther and divisions in the WWA crew. The Klan. Hitchens on King. “White With Authority.” Evolution in American schools. Using theology for political purposes. Non-binary thinking. Bill Nye. The Universal lot. Good American monkeys. Adapting the play. H.L. Mencken the Nazi sympathizer. Wrapping Up. Next time: Gangs of New York.
Daniel’s book recommendations:
Six Days or Forever?: Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes by Ray Ginger
The Creationists: From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design by Ronald L. Numbers