FORTUNATELY I zipped around and happened upon AMC which was showing Inherit the Wind. YES. The play Inherit the Wind was a very important catalyst in the development of my cognitive thinking skills, and this movie version staring Spencer Tracy, Fredrich March, Gene Kelly, and even a youngish Harry Morgan (Colonel Potter!) and even youngerish Dick York (Darren #1!) is quite a WONDERFUL adaptation. (There was Showtime version done a few years ago with George C. Scott, and that was very good too- but the classic 1960 black and white film is still my favorite.)
Well- I was prepared to do an hour of intervals on the treadmill o’ doom, but ended up doing 90 minutes. It was an ABSOLUTE pleasure to watch this movie, even though every inch of my fat ass was saying STOP! SIT DOWN! HAVE A COOKIE...
This film (play, script, whatever) is so full of great lines, that I bet that the folks next to me must have thought I was mental. I kept smiling and laughing and nodding with the screen as if I was only missing a tin-foil hat and rubber underwear. Ah well- who gives a shit. To listen to such brilliant writing is worth appearing like someone that belongs on the small bus.
When Drummond (the character based on Clarence Darrow) says
In a child's power to master the multiplication table, there is more sanctity than in all your shouted "amens" and "holy holies" and "hosannas." An idea is a greater monument than a cathedral. And the advance of man's knowledge is a greater miracle than all the sticks turned to snakes or the parting of the waters.
I started repeating: An idea is a greater monument than a cathedral… An idea is a greater monument than a cathedral…. I just fucking LOVE that line, and I wish I could always have it at the ready.
And then of course, dear and deep to my motherfucking soul is:
I don't swear for the hell of it. Language is a poor enough means of communication. We've got to use all the words we've got. Besides, there are damn few words anybody understands…Fuck yeah!
AND THEN there are a few lines that just are the summation of my beliefs, and they’re words that got me to thinking as a 12 year kid that maybe all this superstition that we’ve been spoon fed is just that- so much superstition. Along with the introduction of the word agnostic this play was showing me that all of the catholic hoo-ha and religious/spiritual CRAP that I’d been spoon-fed as a boy was WORTHLESS in the real world, and that the doubt that I was feeling was not a PHASE but a DESTINATION. How come I (as a fucking SIXTH grader!) could so often stump the priest in religion class? I’m just a stupid kid, and the BEST answer for a whole cassock full of questions would be “well… some things we just can’t know.”
Wha? Two thousand years of preaching TRUTH and your best answer is “we just don’t know”? And do you sell it that way Father? With modesty and a sense that “…yeah some shit in the world is REAL FUCKED UP, and we just don’t get it…” No. FUCK no- it’s always sold like “WE KNOW ALL”- and you must follow THE WAY, and it’s not YOUR PLACE TO KNOW or to even QUESTION. Yawn. At least science is ALWAYS saying “we don’t know” but aren’t purporting to espouse some universal TRUTH. Fuck you father- and no, not literally.
All of this was encapsulated to me by Drummond saying-
…why did God plague us with the capacity to think? Mr. Brady, why do you deny the one thing that sets above the other animals? What other merit have we?
At one point Drummond and Brady are sitting on a porch talking like the two old friends that they are. Brady talks about how his faith gives people hope- and that looking forward to heaven is (for some folks) the only thing they have. “Why would you want to take that away?” he asks.
And then Drummond responds to two thousand years of false hope, uncritical thinking and backwards logic with twenty words of pure fucking genius.
As long as the prerequisite for that shining paradise is ignorance, bigotry and hate, I say the hell with it.
Preach on brother…