Fanaticism and ignorance is forever busy, and needs feeding …

Harry Morgan as the judge, Spencer Tracy as Dr...

Cover of "Inherit the Wind"

Cover of Inherit the Wind

Fanaticism and ignorance is forever busy, and needs feeding … and we are feeding it well.

From “Inherit the Wind” 1960, Directed by Stanley Kramer, based on actual transcripts of the 1925 Scopes’ “Monkey Trial” in Tennessee, where the teaching of evolution had been banned. As far as I can tell, we are going back there again.

Is this where we want to go with our country? Is this what we fought and died for? God help us.

Categories: Ethics and Philosophy, History, Movies, Politics, Racism and Bigotry, Religion

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

14 replies

  1. Spencer Tracey! One of the classic all-time greats:>)


  2. Isn’t that Colonel Potter staring down from the bench?


    • Yes. It is. Harry Morgan did a lot of work before he became The Colonel. I guess you’re watching MASH reruns too, huh? So are we. Garry says that his career goes back to at the latest 1943 (“The Oxbow Incident) and maybe even earlier. He was quite a bit older than he looked in MASH.


  3. God, I so love this movie for many different reasons!! Tracy! Tracy! Tracy! He did this in the twilight of an iconic (yes, THAT word!!) career. Every aspiring actor’s role model for generations gives a bravura performance atop a brilliant cast of stars and character actors. The courtroom dialogue –as pointed out elsewhere — was often lifted directly from the real life Scopes Trial court transcripts. I saw Inherit The Wind three or four times the first week it was released in 1960 and have lost count of the many times I’ve revisited it for more than half a century. Most of the dialogue is committed to memory and the courtroom scenes still have me standing, pounding things or cheering as I would during a sports rally by one of our local teams. Our most recent viewing was taped during an all day TCM salute to Gene Kelly who more than held his own with the legendary Tracy and Frederic March. You’ll have to indulge me with a brief snippet from one of my old “war stories”. James Cagney, in a memorable encounter, told me me that “Spence” Tracy was one of his favorite actors. “..very professional and no nonsense..”, I recall Cagney telling me as he cited “Inherit The Wind” as an example of Tracy’s work. Yes, it is more timely than ever and that’s a sad commentary on the state of our nation.


  4. Quite possibly Spencer Tracey’s finest moment and film, except possibly for the August film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. Bravo.


    • Probably one of Garry’s top two or three movies and my favorite Spencer Tracy movie. “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” is more a sentimental favorite … Tracy’s speech about love, you can see Katherine Hepburn with real tears in her eyes because everyone knew he was dying. Aside from the really wonderful acting and script (taken, in large part, word for word from the actual trial) … it’s scarily relevant and it shouldn’t be. I thought we settled this issue nearly a hundred years ago. But it’s back, bigger than life and twice as ugly.


      • Does fanaticism every really go away? I don’t think so. I think it hibernates for a time under very big rocks. After it’s had a little rest it comes back out to regroup and change it’s face a little. Sad that something so ignorant came be so hard to eradicate.


        • It seems to be a part of human nature. I don’t understand it. Yeah, okay, intellectually I understand it but in my gut? It’s like “those people” come from another universe. I don’t understand hatred, bigotry, racism, or blood lust. I just don’t. The worst I’ve ever been is too angry and thus too quick to judge, followed by craven apologies.


          • I think we’ve all been in that position where we’ve spoken or acted first and then either apologies all round or a ‘Homer Simpson’ moment, *face palm* That is also part of the human condition.
            Unfortunately hatred, bigotry, and racism (blood lust as well to a certain degree) are all learned emotions and feelings. They are taught to each new generation by the same Neanderthal creatures that seem to populate the world. I like to think optimistically that the numbers are slowly dwindling. It would be nice to think that soon folks will realise that all people are the same.


            • Right now, the political climate in the USA is not encouraging. We seem to be marching backwards. Again.


              • And that is a shame. There does seem to be a world wide resurgence of ignorance and hate. Hopefully that will change for the better. We can only hope and keep trying to educate those who have such outdated and ignorant attitudes.


                • There is an advantage to not living here full time. You have the benefit of distance. I lived in Israel from 1978 to 1987 … and somehow, what was going on here was just not as hard to deal with. An ocean’s distance helps. It’s bad here. Really ugly. I never thought I’d see this in my lifetime. It’s like “Tailgunner” Joe McCarthy is waiting in the wings, only this time, he’s a “Christian.”


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