Baltimore Evening Sun (4 April 1914): 6.
In a town of colorless and undistinguished men, all intensely afraid of public opinion, the Hon. William Shepard Bryan, Jr., stood out in bold relief. He was a man of fresh and active mind, impatient of platitudes, eager for intellectual exercise, devastating to pretenders and mountebanks. Like Major Richard M. Venable before him, he became a sort of tradition while he yet lived: the most eloquent of all testimonials to an uncommon and attractive personality. His passing removes one more independent and forthright man from Maryland politics, and makes room for one more mob-greaser and peruna-swallower. Right or wrong, he told the truth as he saw it, and not in a feminine whisper, but in highly audible and wholly masculine tones. This alone was sufficient to make him remarkable while he lived, and lamented now that he is dead.
A DAILY THOUGHT. Dancing is simply a hugging match set to music.–The Rev. Dr. Billy Sunday.
My estimable friend and associate in righteousness, the “penitent and puzzled parson,” on the sorrows of the world:
Everybody who has a hobby, and is earnestly convinced that the adoption of his special nostrum would instantly usher in the millennium, at once feels moved to write either to the clergy or to the newspapers or both.
AND what is worse, he is practically sure of a serious hearing, no matter how unpalatable his peruna or how dubious his testimonials. The newspapers, particularly here in suffering Baltimore, show an almost infinite hospitality to such fantastic utopians. All a man has to do, to get columns of free space, is to discover some new curse of man and bawl some new cure for it. His good faith is at once taken for granted by the newspapers, and not only his good faith, but also his competency, his information, his authority. He becomes, at one stroke, an “expert” in the subject he presumes to discuss, and is thereafter treated with all the consideration that a genuine expert deserves. In the end he takes on a sort of oracular, and even a supernatural, character, and is heard with a degree of respect verging upon veneration. To question him is contumacy; to flout him is sacrilege.
The newspaper attitude toward such earnest critics and instructors of the Creator (and no doubt the clerical attitude too) is partly the product of a notion that good intentions excuse even the worst follies. Is the uplifter sincere? Does he really believe in the preposterous rubbish that he vends? Then let us hear him politely, and thank God for such a virtuous man! And even when he is so palpably a fake that no intelligent person can ever mistake him for sincere--even then the newspapers give him plenty of room. And why? Simply because they cling to an ancient superstition that such fellows are dangerous--because they fear uplifters as the devil fears holy water.
This superstitious fear is one of the traditions of journalism, and you will find it in lavish flower in every newspaper office in Baltimore. It is based upon the known fact that the majority of uplifters, and particularly those who make a living at the trade, are extraordinarily vengeful and venomous--that they are quick to attack opponents with threats and accusations, and utterly careless of the truth, the probabilities and common sense. But when the newspapers, contemplating this obvious fact, deduce from it the notion that the wrath of uplifters is dangerous, they make a serious error, and that error leads them into a pusillanimity that would be disgusting if it were not so comical.
As a matter of fact, the average uplifter, lay or clerical, is all bark and no bite. His most vicious attack and excommunication can do no harm to any honest newspaper, nor to any honest individual, in or out of the pulpit. In its uplifttng capacity the Ministerial Perunion is just about as poisonous as a company of Boy Scouts, no more and no less. The more it rages and roars, the more the public laughs, and the more the public laughs, the less potent it becomes. Once the Rev. Dr. Billy Sunday has come to town, whooping like a whole drove of calliopes, the loudest scream of a local evangelist will seem like a puny whisper, and even the news papers will cease to fear it. If I reach the allotted span, indeed, I expect in see the day when the newspapers will belabor such fellows joyously, innocently and for the sheer fun of it, just as they now belabor the Hon. Sonny Mahon. Once they discover that the dog has no teeth, they will all reach for the poor beast’s tail.
The estimable Sunpaper on the proposed increase in railroad rates:
That the grant of the increased rates would stimulate business mightily, would end the present period of threatening disaster, is hardly to be questioned. The business men who know about such things are practically unanimous in their opinion that it would.
In other words, the way to improve business is to increase its overhead expenses. The new science of efficiency!
Impious suggestion of a foe to the good, the true and the beautiful:
In speaking to some business men this morning, I found it the general impression among them that if our newspapers were not so busy reporting church “movements” and perunas, and if our City Club fulfilled its purpose instead of having endless meetings forward-lookers, and if our banks, instead of financing Billy Sunday corporations, devoted their time to forwarding the interests of the city–in other words, if all the agencies which should have exerted themselves to obtain a regional bank for Baltimore had attended to their real business instead of being obsessed by the business of the other fellow, there would not be wailing and gnashing of teeth in Baltimore today.
I withhold the name of this low-flung blasphemer out of consideration for his family, which is highly respectable. With such fellows bellowing publicly against all that is virtuous and inspiring, can there be any further doubt that Baltimore needs Dr.Sunday?
The Rev. Dr. Edward Niles in defense of the Rev. Dr. Billy Sunday:
God dearly loves a fighter. The devil dearly lovesa a quitter.
Well, then, what of the Baltimore friars who throw up their hands, confess that they are beaten, and bawl for Dr. Sunday to help them?
College yell of the rah-rah boys at the University of Munich:
Kreuzbräu! Hackerbräu! Rah, rah, rah! Kochelbräu! Spatenbräu! Löwenbräu! Hofbräu! Mathäserbräu! Augustinerbräu! Hoch!
Free advice to the Hon. William Barnes, Jr.: Beware of Anderson, old top! He has teeth like a walrus!