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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #49)

Thu Oct 2, 2014, 03:33 PM

53. The Movie was an attack on McCarthyism, something Byran also opposed


Last edited Thu Oct 2, 2014, 04:54 PM - Edit history (1)

As an attack on McCarthyism, the play and the Movie are excellent, but it is BAD HISTORY as to the Scopes Monkey Trial.

When "Inherit the Wind" comes up I do go into defensive mood as to William Jennings Bryan for he is the inventor of the Modern Progressive Wing of the Democratic Party. That wing has long forgotten him, for they tend to be more concerned about the FUTURE then the PAST and defend Bryan often gets in the way of doing what Bryan wanted the Democratic Party to do, i.e. work for the common man.

On the other hand, we progressives should NOT ignore him and understand why he is attacked in our own history books, for it is an attack on anything "Progressive", it is attack on anyone who favored Unions, Economic equality, or just plan justice (Bryan believe it what Jesus taught, to love your enemy as yourself). Thus why he shows up in the Scopes Monkey Trial and why he OFFERED to pay the fine, but still wanted the trial to be held. Bryan show the Trial as a way to bring to the American people the issue of Evolution AND the problem it brings when it comes to getting people to accept each other as equal citizens who should work for the common good NOT for one's own interests. That is the opposite of McCarthyism and why changes in the trial had to be made to make the trial to be used as an attack on McCarthyism.

Bryan AND the Scopes Monkey Trial was 20 years before McCarthy AND 25 years BEFORE the play was written (and 30 years before the Movie). The play was an attack on McCarthy, using the Scopes Monkey Trial as a means to do so. The problem was the Bryan was NOT McCarthy, but by the 1950s the GOP attacks on Bryan had been so continuous that Byran, as portrayed by the GOP, was McCarthy. With a little tweaking here and they, the Trial could be made to be an attack on McCarthyism.

As an attack on McCarthyism several changes had to be made:

1. Adding the prosecutors DEMAND for jail time, model after a speech by McCarthy, NOT anything Bryan ever said,

2. Showing Scoopes being arrested AND Jailed, ignoring the fact Scoopes HAD agreed to be prosecuted).

3. Ignoring the fact that TWO dinners were held, one for the lawyers on EACH SIDE.

4. Adding a comment why Bryan was referred to as "Colonel" while Darrow was not (and ignoring the transcript that the only time "Colonel" was used was to Darrow NOT Bryan and that the term "Colonel" was a term used for ALL attorneys in Tennessee at that time EXCEPT the Attorney General who was referred to a General (Thus it was PROPER to referred to Darrow as "Colonel" as what was done in the Trial).

5. Changing the transcript to better fit the author's agenda. Now the Script of the Play and Movie mostly followed the Transcript but often with key words added or subtracted that changed the tone of the whole question or answer, see the first cite I mention to see how this was done.

6. Ignoring the ACLU efforts to get Darrow Fired from the jop.

7. Ignore Bryan's statements as to the Theory of Relatively when being question how something physically impossible could occur in the old Testament i.e. when it was prayed for God to Stop the Sun from Raising so the Israelis could completely destroy their enemies, Darrow pointed out that meant the earth stopped going around the Sun and that would have destroyed the whole planet. Bryan said the Bible said the Sun stopped raising, that is how it appeared to the Israelis. It could have been just a local incident or even one of relatively given that theory (The better answer, one Bryan may have given if he had KNOWN he was going to be called as a witness is that all that occurred was the shift in the wind in Israel that occurs do to the heat of the day and all the "Stopping of the Sun" was, was a delay in that shift in wind, that is the opinion of Two Israeli Generals when they reviewed that battle).

8. That Darrow said he tried to read the Darwin, but gave up reading it after 50 pages for he did not understand it. Bryan had read Darwin and even wrote commentary on Darwin. Bryan, while anti-Evolution actually understood the theory, something it appears no one else at the trial did.

9. Bryan, under cross examination, made a comment about Nietzsche and Darrow defense in the Leopold and Loeb Murder trial the year before. Darrow took affront of this for Bryan used Darrow's own words (paraphrase) "It is hardly fair to hang a 19-year-old boy for the philosophy that was taught him at the university." Is it WRONG to punish someone, who was taught something in School, when he takes what he was taught out of school and apply it in a way that does harm to someone else? In many ways that was Bryan's argument against teaching Human evolution AND its related concept of "survival of the fittest". Given the nature of High Schools teaching of evolution brings with it the concept of "survival of the fittest" as a way of life as to Human interaction. i.e. Lowe and Leopard justified their murder on the grounds they were "Super men", a concept they picked up in School. This line of Bryan was hated by Darrow and the Transcript clearly shows it.


10. When Bryan agree to be called as a Witness he did so ONLY if he could call the Defense Team as Witnesses. That was AGREED to by the Judge and the Defense team. The Judge later ruled the whole line of questioning was irrelevant so only Bryan testified under earth. At the end of the Trial, Darrow and Bryan agreed to do such a cross examination of Darrow by Bryan. It was held in the courtyard but I have NEVER seen a transcript of what was said, or even comments for only the reporters were present. I mention it to show there were NO hard feelings at the trial between the two men.

11. In the movie they show Bryan old and being taken care of by his long suffering wife. The problem with this was First she was an attorney herself, Second, she was the one suffering from severe arthritis AND Bryan took care of her even while attending the trial (and it was do to her arthritis he had moved to Florida in the 1920s, away from his home in Nebraska).

12. In the movie Bryan dies in the Court. In real life he gets hit by a car two days latter (survives that accident) and then three days later after eating a large meal, he took a nap and never woke up. Darrow was hiking Smokey Mountains when he heard of Bryan's death. One of the reporters comment "Bryan died of a broken heart" do to Darrow Cross examination of Bryan the week before, but Darrow comment was "Bryan died of a full Stomach" (Implying that Bryan had no long term "problems" do to cross examination) and then added "And America has lost a Great Man". Darrow went to the Funeral.

I bring this up for much of what we "know" of Bryan is the result of the massive GOP attacks against him all of his life. Bryan's position on Evolution evolved itself, but was a reaction to Social Darwinism, thus his attacks was on teaching Human Evolution NOT evolution itself. In the years before WWI, Social Darwinism gained strength, and was one of the reasons the German High Command justified its actions during WWI. Bryan saw this trend as a danger to America for it put human life and interaction as secondary to "surviving" and that the rich were the "Most Fit". These were concepts Bryan rejected for it meant reject democracy as the best form of Government AND that people should HELP each other not fight each other. Thus Bryan opposed teaching Human Evolution do to these problems related to such teachings.

In many ways it is still an issue, how much and what type of "Values" should be taught in schools? If you said none, that is NOT an option, for then the values taught will be derived from what else it taught. Teaching of anything is NOT in isolation and thus any teaching teaches some Value, the real issue what values should be taught.

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LineLineLineLineLineNew Reply The Movie was an attack on McCarthyism, something Byran also opposed
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