The Mencken Code


No one in this world, so far as I know—and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help me—has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.  H.L. Mencken

I have always loved that quote.  Others have shortened it, but it remains as true now as when ol’ Hank said it back in the day.  With that in mind,  will you people please shut up about The Goddamn Da Vinci Code.

Opie’s Opus Dei offendin’ magnum opus, , raked in a shitload of money over the weekend.  This should come as a surprise to exactly no one.  See the quote above for the logic behind the boffo box office haul.  Even with the bad reviews, the sheep flocked to the theaters for their fleecing.  Hidden amongst the controversy is the main reason why any discriminating film-goer should skip this flick.  His name is Akiva Goldsman.

Demagogue: One who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.  H.L. Mencken

Goldsman is Hollywood’s go-to guy for hack writing.  His work runs the gamut from treacle (A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man) to truly indictable crimes against humanity (Batman & Robin, Lost in Space).  His upcoming work on I Am Legend will guarantee him a special place in Hell next to Hitler, Mother Teresa, and John Edward.  The involvement of Goldsman is only one part of the myriad of reasons why this whole uproar is such a tremendous waste of time.

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable.  H.L. Mencken

Last night, WKRN’s Jamie Tucker had a non-newsworthy bit about the reaction to DaVinci and an interview with a guy who is making a buck disputing Dan Brown’s cash cow.  It was at least as pointless as Tucker’s expose on whether Hell exists or not.  The answer was, of course, "depends on who you ask".

The guy who is selling his anti-Da Vinci book, claimed in the piece that in regards to Jesus and Mary Magdalene getting hitched, "There is absolutely no historical evidence whatsoever for it period!"  That’s a slippery slope you are on there, Josh.  If you want to get into the historical evidence pool, you better bring your water wings.  For instance, there is absolutely no historical evidence for the Massacre of Innocents that shows up in Matthew.  Even the other Gospels don’t mention it.  You would think that SOMEONE might have written down SOMETHING about all the first born children being slaughtered.  You may want to rethink that historical evidence rejoinder when bringing up Bible stuff.

Josh goes on to state this figure "Fifty-some percent of all Americans who read it said it is factual and true.  That’s a problem.  Fifty seven percent said it had a profound effect on their beliefs and faith."   So, the general public are a pack of gullible suckers.  Who knew?

The Vandy Divinity prof nails it on the head.  "I think the United States is both a Jesus saturated culture and a biblically illiterate culture. "  Kind of like all the people in this town who are Titans fans, but don’t know a damn thing about football.

The believing mind is externally impervious to evidence. The most that can be accomplished with it is to induce it to substitute one delusion for another. It rejects all overt evidence as wicked… H. L. Mencken

Josh goes on to proclaim, " The DaVinci Code wouldn’t even be an issue…if we had trained JUST OUR PEOPLE to discern truth from fiction."  Uh-oh, you don’t want to start doing that.  The whole house of cards might come down.

Take, for example, the popular story (John 7:53-8:11) in which Jesus saves a woman from being stoned as an adulteress. It is from this passage that Christianity draws the oft-paraphrased advice, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her."

Interestingly enough, this entire story  is missing from the earliest version of John. It is also missing from early Latin translations of the text, missing from older versions used in the Holy Land and in fact, according to the 12th century Byzantine scholar Euthymius Zigabenus (the earliest church father to comment on the passage), accurate copies of the Gospel of John do not and should not contain it. Furthermore, if one blocks out the entire little story, John 7:52 flows just fine into John 8:12, lending further credence to the idea that the passage was simply inserted after the fact. 

Is that the kind of truth Jamey Tucker is willing to do a story on? Or will these faith and ethics broadcasts continue to have such pandering howlers as "We all know you can’t believe everything coming out of Hollywood…" and "So what does history say?  Were Jesus and Mary a couple?" 

Gee whiz, only very small children and very slow adults don’t realize that movies are make-believe.  As far as what history says, it doesn’t say anything about the dating habits of Jesus.  Conjecture about it is the realm of fiction writers and biblical scholars.  That’s the whole point, isn’t it?  There is no PROOF either way.  If you had proof, why would you need faith?

The trouble with Communism is the Communists, just as the trouble with Christianity is the Christians. H.L. Mencken


5 Responses to “The Mencken Code”

  1. melusina Says:

    Well, I’m on the side of anyone who quotes Henry Louis freely.Still, for every person that has tried to bring this whole big debacle up to me, with the attempts at proving this or that or the other, I quickly let them know that I’m not even on board with the "truth" of Christ to begin with, so lets not start begging THAT question.

  2. W Says:

    Ah damnit. You ruined my day with the news about I Am Legend.

  3. sgazzetti Says:

    A fine post. I like the Mencken spin on this latest circus of ignoraminity. Attempts to bring history and/or fact to bear on the bible are like trying to use physics in marriage counseling.Umm, you *do* know you’re going to burn in hell for all eternity, right? Try to get seats near Brunetto Latini.

  4. Sarcastro Says:

    My seat is behind Odysseus and Diomedes, but in front of Muhammad, Judas Iscariot and Milton Berle.

  5. Ryan Says:

    This is simply excellent.Best,Ryan

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