Baltimore Evening Sun (5 October 1912): 6.


The endless competition of the platitudinarians:


This week’s prize for the loveliest, juiciest platitude discharged in Baltimore in seven days goes to the Hon. JOHN F. CLARKE, the Arlington Heracleites, for the following:

Death is too grave a matter to make merry over.

The prize, a framed portrait of Dr. Orison Swett Marden, the greatest living platitudinarian, awaits the Hon. Mr. Clarke’s order. The committee makes honorable mention of the Hon. HOWARD M. EMMONS for the following:

Any service that is valuable is worth paying for.

And of the Rev. Dr. GEORGE R. GROSE for the following:

The pulpit in always a power when there is a power in the pulpit. .

Next week’s prize will be a pair of honorary pallbearers’ gloves.

The committee is enthusiastic over the Hon. Mr. Clarke’s prize-winning platitude and predicts for him a bright future as a platitudinarian. It says:

The man has undoubted talent. He senses accurately the essential nature and genius of the platitude. All he needs is the development of his gift to make him a master. The platitude he presents is almost perfect. It meets all of the conditions and requirements of the ideal platitude, for on the one hand its truth is admitted by all men, and on the other hand it is not true.

The committee, passing beyond its prerogative, recommend that clergymen be debarred from the competition, on the ground that they are professionals, and so present unfair competition to worthy dilettanti. Unluckily, I see no force in this argument. It is true enough that clergymen are professionals, and that they have constantly at hand the fathomless platitude mines of the International Sunday-School Lessons, but it must not be forgotten that leading lawyers and Prominent Baltimoreans are also professionals, with the great placer deposits of the Maryland Reports and the Minute book of the Merchants and Manufacturers’ Association to draw from. I favor an open battle royal. Let the boys protect themselves at all times.

Those gay young preachers who plan to launch an Ecclesiastical Wilson League are playing with fireworks of a peculiarly dangerous kind. The American people, I believe, are not hospitable to politics from the pulpit. If this republic has any intelligible purpose at all, it is the purpose of opposing and stopping that sort of interference. To the present campaign, with smoldering religious animosities lying just beneath the surface, the scheme now under way is particularly perilous. No good can come of it.

Preachers, of course, have a right to their political views, but it does not follow that they have a right to become politicians. When they dedicate their lives to religion they give over many of the common rights of ordinary men, the while they take on rare and valuable privileges one of those forfeited rights, I believe, is that of playing politics. Politics is a dirty business. It is inevitably and eternally contaminating. No man can touch it and not carry away his smear. As a profession it ranks with saloon-keeping and bookmaking. As a diversion it ranks with poker and cornet playing.

Preachers had better keep out of it. Let them vote as they please. Let them even, as private citizens, solicit the votes of their friends. But let them beware of going into active politics, as preachers. The public does not want to hear their political views in that capacity. Their training does not give them any appreciable fitness for judging politicians. Their opinions about the tariff, public expenditures and the trusts are no weightier than the opinions of other men. All the more danger, then, when they seek to give those opinions the false force of their ecclesiastical authority. All the more peril when they try to capitalize their good repute.

Dramatization of the coming clash between the Hon. H. E. Macbeth, champion of the scorned Ethiops, and the Hon. Macduff Carrington:

Macduff—Turn, hell-hound, turn!
Macbeth—Thou losest labor:
As easy may’st thoy the intrenchant air
With thy keen sword impress, as make me bleed:
Let fall thy blade on vulnerable crests:
I bear a charmed life, which must not yield
To one of woman born.
Macduff—Yield thee, coward,
And live to be the show and gaze o’ the time.
We’ll have thee, as our rarer monsters are
Painted upon a pole.
Macbeth—I’ll not yield
To kiss the ground before young Teddy’s feet,
And to be baited with the rabble’s curse.*
Though Birnam wood be come to Dunsinane,
Yet I will try the last: before my body
I throw my warlike shield! Lay on, Macduff:
And damn’d be him that first cries, Hold, enough!
[Exeunt, fighting.]

* A misprint for “rabbit’s foot”?

Revised list of leading jousts in the rhetorical plaza de toros:

The Hon. Samuel E. Pentz, camerlengo of the Vice Crusaders:

There are at least 75 disorderly houses in Highlandtown.

How many of them have been opened since the Vice Crusaders began closing disorderly houses in Baltimore?

A carboy of mayonnaise to any man who can find any difference between the near-beer sold at the Laurel breeding station and the real beer sold at Back River.

The boomers! The boomers! They’re coming with a rush! And soon they’ll bawl the Marseillaise and ladle out the mush!

The Hon. A. E. Back, traffic manager of the Merchants and Manufacturers’ Association, to the Baltimore Ad Club:

The Interstate Commerce Commission * * * reduced the express rates throughout the country approximately 30 per cent., in a number of cases 50 per cent., and sometimes 100 per cent.