Sunday, October 31, 2004


Halloween Night: A Ghost Story

By The Erudite Redneck

Uncle B. was distant, to me, so when he died when I was 8, I didn’t cry. I didn’t know him that well. Somebody in my family might remember him picking me up and hugging me or talking to me or something, but I don’t.

I remember him being big and gruff. I have his genes. Any 8-year-old who knows me now thinks of me as gruff -- some grown-ups, for that matter.

I know now that he was about 50 when he died, and that always seemed old, until recently. I am 40.

He was one of my dad’s brothers. Those around me in 1973, when he died, had bigger thoughts about him. His funeral was one of the biggest held in our church, I think. He was a farmer, a businessman and a penny-pincher known to be a miser.

I think, or I’ve been told, that he was one of those men who gruffly gave of his wealth to those who had none of their own, in little, anonymous ways that meant big differences. I don’t know.

I remember that lots of people came to his funeral , and some people remember him still, more than 30 years after he died – and that means something.

The day of his wake, as best I can recall, was one of those days that starts out fine but winds up dark. Seems like it was in the spring, but I don’t really remember.

I don’t remember whether the day I’m remembering was the day of his funeral or not. I just remember it was the day of what I learned later was a “wake.”

Seems like in history a “wake” was meant to give the dead time to “wake” from the dead. I don’t know that for sure, either. This tale is about what I remember, not what I know.

I remember a lot of people – mostly kin, with maybe just a sprinkling of others – at his farmhouse, in the Arkansas River bottoms in eastern Oklahoma. To me back then, even though at 8 I didn’t know anything, the whole place seemed old.

I think it was the first time, maybe the only time, I saw a genuine outhouse. I do remember going out to it, and I do remember there actually being a catalog of some sort – most assuredly a Sears catalog – hanging from the wall. I remember there being a hole cut from a board to sit on, and a door, I think, with a spring on it. I do not remember a crescent moon cut in the door, which doesn’t mean it wasn’t there; I just don’t remember. I seem to remember that it was a one-holer.

I do remember that it was in what I then considered “the woods” east of the house, but that I now know to be just a handful of tall trees maybe 100 feet away. I do remember that, the whole long trip to the outhouse and back, I couldn’t keep my eyes off the northeast corner of the house, which is where the bedroom was that held the casket with Uncle B.

I remember the day dragging on, women with made-up eyes dried with eternal tissues pulled from heavy purses as big as doctor’s medical bags, men with stoic expressions smoking cigarettes and hawking into the yard to keep from showing emotion, kids acting subdued because, while there was loudness and some laughter, loudness and laughter, for a change, were not the reason we were all together.

I remember wearing a button-down sweater that was warm and itchy at the same time, and I remember it having some sky blue in it. Somewhere there is a picture of me in that sweater at this house in the bottoms; I’ve seen it, either in somebody’s shoebox, on somebody’s CD or in my mind.

It being a wake, the point was to walk by the casket and say your good-byes. No thank you.

The closest I got was the door between the bedroom with the casket and a closet leading to the bathroom. It was one of those bathrooms between two bedrooms – what they call a Jack-and-Jill bathroom now, but just an efficient use of space then.

The house I grew up in had one, which is why I felt fairly comfortable standing there, looking-but-not-looking, holding tight to the left jamb of the bathroom door, considering there was a dead man in a big box on a table in the next room, there were full-grown people in every other room of the house weeping or at least feeling very sad – and there was a storm brewing outside.

Uncle B.’s nose, forehead and the tip of his chin were visible over the edge of the casket from where I stood –if I stood on my tiptoes or jumped. No one else was around, so I looked hard, peaking from behind the safety of a frame and Sheetrock wall.

My breath was short. I clung to the door jamb, sweat gathering under my arms inside a too-warm sweater and dress pants on a cool spring day turned warm and muggy and stormy, made hot by a house full of people.

The thunder cracked. I flinched and gripped the jamb. The air seemed to evaporate. Another crack! It was dark outside the bedroom window, which was open a little to let the air flow, maybe three or four inches.

The dark grew darker. Lightning flashed!


A part of me fell on that moment in my mind, enveloping it, storing it away just for certain occasions.

Tonight, Halloween night, it seemed like time to drag it out.

I’ve read about “heat lightning” and “ball lightning.” Maybe that’s what it was. But maybe not.

Might’ve been Uncle B.’s heavenly escort, comin’ to dislodge his spirit from the casket and the house full of family who loved him.

Might’ve been him comin’ back to give me the hug I don’t remember him givin’ while he and I both walked this earth.

Might’ve been heat lightning. Might’ve been all that. Or more. Or less.

It most certainly was the closest I’ve come, or care to come, to livin’ a ghost story.


Saturday, October 30, 2004


Which country are you?

Germany -
Despite a controversial recent
history, it has had a tough and powerful
history. A modern-day technological and
cultural beacon, it is still target to
stereotypes and antiquited thoughts.


Technologically Advanced.

Culturally Admired.

Global Power.


Target of Historical Fervor.

Constant Struggle.

Funny-Looking Ethnic Clothing.

Which Country of the World are You?
brought to you by Quizilla


Fun with books

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence as a comment on my blog.
5. Post the text of the sentence on your own blog, along with these instructions.

"To elaborate is no avail,learn'd and unlearn'd feel that it is so,"
--Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself" from "Leaves of Grass."

(Idea swiped from


Good game

Next best thing to beatin' the sooners is givin' 'em a good scare. And, boy did we!

OU 38, OSU 35. Congratulations to the sooner nation.

Good game. Woulda been gooder to win. But, there is no shame in gettin' beat by the No. 2 team in the country.

So now.

GO POKES! Beat Texas!



OSU vs. OU

sooner. noun. A person who illegally settled homestead land in the western United States, especially Oklahoma, before it was officially made available, in order to have first choice of location; thief.

Cowboy. noun. A herder, usually hired by a rancher to tend livestock, especially cattle. A cowboy is responsible for feeding livestock, branding cattle and marking other stock, and tending to their injuries or other needs. Cowboys also repair fences and maintain other equipment. Cowboys are inextricably linked to horses. Working in the wild, cowboys utilize many skills. Danger and excitement are a part of a cowboy's daily life; hero.

Why would anybody want to be a sooner? :-)

Game time in 10 minutes. GO POKES! BEAT OU!


Friday, October 29, 2004


Delectable dialects

By The Erudite Redneck

My post yesterday and y'alls'* responses got me to thinkin'. I love when that kind of synergy happens. I think, y'all think, we all think for I think, y'all think, we all think -- whoa, I'm gettin' dizzy.

Colloquys are like that, sort of like a conversational Tilt-A-Whirl. Somebody get me a dippy dog** and a cocola.

I digress.

We all are as different as we are alike, even those of us from right around here in the same general part of the country. For every variation of dialect, there is a variation of world view -- and that's something that bicoastal snobs just don't get (or git).

Nothing makes me want to go to New York City like some ^(*)&^*$ talkin' about "flyover country" like it don't matter, or worse, that it's all the same!

You know why the Blue Collar comedy guys (Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, Larry the Cable Guy and Ron White) are successful? Because each represents a major strand of the redneck experience:

Jeff Foxworthy is the suburban Atlantan and represents modern Dixie; Engvall is from Winslow, Ariz., and represents the Southwest; Ron White is from the Texas Panhandle and represents the Great Plains; and Larry the Cable Guy is from somewhere up in the farmy Midwest and represents that redneck neck of the woods.

Watch 'em sometime, if you haven't. If yer from any of those places, or any of the redneck pockets of the Pacific Northwest, California or anywhere else, you will think it's some of yer own kin.

* Y'alls' -- possessive form of "y'all," one of them rare words with two apostrophes. Trumped only by this one: "y'alls'es' with three apostrophes. Usage: Guy at a chicken-fried palace on I-40 somewhere around the Weleetka-Wetumka exit accidentally backs into one of two church buses in the parking lot. He goes inside and spies a couple of adults (ADD-ults) and two different sets of kids at two different tables. He walks up and says to both tables, "Hey, I just wrecked one of y'alls' buses." He turns to one table and says, "Was it y'alls'?" then turns to the other table and says, "Or was it y'alls'es'? Used to distinguish one group of y'all from another.

** Dippy dog -- what they used to call wienies on sticks dipped in corn batter and fried at "the" drive-in where I grew up, which was right down the highway from "the" stop sign. In 1975, on a family trip from eastern Oklahoma to Nebraska, we stopped at a drive-in somewhere in Kansas. An 11-year-old ER walked in and said to a pretty teenage girl (older woman) behind the counter: "Hey, do y'all have dippy dogs?" Whereupon she fell into a fit of girly giggles and the young ER turned beet red. "Where are you from from" the lass inquired. "Oklahoma," I said. "I thought you sounded like you were from the Deep South." "Do what?" I thought. And that precise moment is when I started to notice that me and mine was a little differnt.


Thursday, October 28, 2004


Ah jest cain't hep it

By The Erudite Redneck

The other day I used a tape recorder in an interview for the first time in about 15 years. When I replayed it to transcribe the notes, I heard my own voice for an extended period for the first time since some people who didn’t know any better let me be a radio deejay.

Hoo boy. What a dang hick! I mean, there ain’t enough dropped Gs, gratuitous diphthongs, triphthongs and apostrophes to get across in writin’ exactly what I sound like in person.

That’s why I wound up in the bidness I wound up in: I have a face for radio and a voice fer newspaper.

Get this: My twang is so bad I used to get in trouble workin’ at an also-ran AM radio station in the second-largest city in Arkansas!

The station manager came in one day, closed the studio door and turned down the speakers.

"Uh oh," thought the 20-year-old ER. "I’m fixin’ to get a talkin' to."

"R," he said, holdin’ up a note card, "what is this word?"

"Bowkay," I allowed.

He sighed.

Holdin’ up another card, he asked, "And what is this word?"

"Flyers," I said.

Whereupon came the anticipated talkin’ to.

It was just before Valentine’s Day. We were runnin’ a promotion where the first caller won a bouquet of flowers — that’s a "bookay of flours" just about everywhur but where I grew up.

Heck, if I was destined to work in the media, I was dang well doomed to print from the start!


Wednesday, October 27, 2004


Bird's first ballot

By The Erudite Redneck

Bird* passed through on her way from Tejas back to Oklahoma-State today and informed me that she would be driving down on Tuesday to vote — her first-ever vote as a grown-up Bird!

The fact that she would be voting was no surprise. Me and Dr. ER have raised her right. The surprise was that she’d registered to vote at home. I just assumed she’d registered at Stillwater. I voted at an armory there back in the day, probably the same one she’d vote at if she voted there.

Anyway, she’ll be drivin’ in just to vote — in a Baptist church, which cracks me up because it just galls the non-Baptist Dr. ER to have to vote there. With her mama off on another bidness trip that day, I will be the one who takes her and is present for her first-ever act of civil obedience.

I will be a proud Erudite Redneck — even prouder because Bird knows the right way to vote, which means she will be lookin’ for another kind of bird — a proud rooster — for guidance on where to leave her marks on the ballot.

Stamp it, hon’.

This news gave me a flashback to another "first" for Bird, which was revealed one evenin’ on the way home from the paper in Texas. It started like this, with Bird sayin’ somewhat uncertainly, "R, do you know that thing that girls get and boys don’t ...?"

Whereupon I whipped the truck into the nearest Albertson’s and said, " ‘Nuff said," whipped out a twenty and continued, "Just go in there and get whatever you need."

She was as cool as a cucumber, which made it easier for ol’ ER, who is real easy to embarrass, to handle. Then we went to a Sonic to get her a DP and me a vanilla Coke before headin’ to the house.

It was a real Redneck-Bird Kodak-type moment.

Election Day will be another one.

Those moments are few and far between -- the just-me-and-Bird ones -- but as the saying goes, they’re priceless. And they make all the lonesome days when the nest is empty easier to accept.

* "Bird," short for "Baby Bird," She Who Is my Redheaded Redneck Stepchild, a freshman at Oklahoma State.



Tuesday, October 26, 2004



Bedlam Week is upon us. It's true, as far as I'm concerned: To a diehard Oklahoma State fan, a winning season is one in which we beat the sooners of the university of Oklahoma.

Ride, ride, ride, ride
Ride 'em Cowboys, down the field
Fight, fight, fight, fight
Fight 'em Cowboys, and never yield
Ride, ride, ride, ride
Ride on Cowboys to victory,
Cross ou's goal,
Then we'll sing
Oklahoma State!
Ride 'em Cowboys, ee-yah!
Ride 'em Cowboys, ee-yah!

Go here to hear OSU's "wave song"!
Oklahoma State Waving Song

Go here to hear "Ride 'Em Cowboys"!
Ride Em Cowboys

Go here to hear to the OSU chant!
Oklahoma State OSU Chant

Go here to hear "Oklahoma!"

Go here to hear pre-game fanfare!
Oklahoma State Pregame Fanfare



Monday, October 25, 2004


It's come to this

We really should not be instructing Afghanistan, Iraq or any other country on how to run an election!

Check it out:

Is it real? Is it satire? ... Is it live? Is it Memorex? ...


Sunday, October 24, 2004


"The Intellectual Origins of the European Reformation" -- book review

McGrath, Alister E. The Intellectual Origins of the European Reformation. 2d ed. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishing, 2004. (289 pages).

By The Erudite Redneck

In The Intellectual Origins of the European Reformation, Alister E. McGrath places the origins and relationship of the Lutheran and Reformed branches of the Reformation within the context of late-medieval scholasticism, that is, the formal Aristotle-influenced study of Scripture, and humanism, especially the pedagogy and general ontology of the Renaissance. The work is an attempt to filter the details of thought and influence of leading thinkers and distill the main strains of philosophical and theological effort that connect the late-medieval period to the Reformation. McGrath studied the period 1300 to 1600, concentrating on the early and mid sixteenth century in an attempt to put the work and influence of Luther, Zwingli and Calvin within the intellectual-theological context of the broader period.

McGrath summarizes late-medieval religious thought generally, giving attention to the increase in religion among the laity, increased questioning of authority within the church and advent of doctrinal diversity in the generations leading to the Reformation.[1] He then considers the commonalities and differences between humanism in general, but especially in Northern Europe, and the Reformed Church and Lutheran Church.[2] McGrath then ties late-medieval theology to the Reformation, giving consideration to the via moderna and schola Augustiniana moderna to find theological connections between the late-medieval period and the early stirrings of both Reformed and Lutheran theology.[3]

McGrath then puts prevailing philosophies within the more mundane circumstances surrounding issues of scriptural veracity, legitimacy of translation and church authority. He explores the humanist emphasis on source texts against traditional understanding of Scripture and how sola Scriptura – the idea of Scripture as the ultimate source of theology -- came to be shaped by the evolving hermeneutics, or Biblical interpretations, behind the Lutheran and Reformed Church movements.[4] McGrath outlines how scholastics and humanists dealt with St. Augustine’s legacy and explains his view of how the Reformed Church and the Lutheran Church incorporated the influence and thinking of early church leaders, as revealed by humanist and scholastic impulses that inspired fresh considerations of Scripture and patristic interpretation.[5] In his conclusion, McGrath summarizes his findings that the Reformation emerged as a result of the confluence of some intellectual trends, and as a result of the clashing of others.[6]

McGrath’s thesis is that while the Reformation built upon certain strains of thinking from scholasticism and humanism, there is no way to reduce its intellectual origins to anything approaching a precise point, either in time or on any of the spectra of philosophy and theology under way when Luther, Zwingli, Calvin and other reformers appeared. There is no single idea or tidy convergence of meaning that one can point to in explaining why the events and beliefs of the Reformation occurred exactly how and when they did. McGrath spells it out in his conclusion:

The movement so loosely designated ‘the Reformation’ arose from a complex heterogeneous matrix of social and ideological factors, the latter associated with individual personalities, intellectual movements, schools of thought, and universities in such a manner as to defy the crass generalizations that are the substance of all too many interpretations of the phenomenon.[7]

The meat, then, of The Intellectual Origins of the European Reformation, is McGrath’s illumination of those disparate factors, personalities, movements and schools of thought. The work is a veritable string of subtheses, some built upon the conclusions of McGrath’s own historiographical forebears in Reformation intellectual history, some erected from the remains of others’ judgments that he has mown down.

McGrath holds nothing sacred, not even Luther’s insights. McGrath regards neither Luther’s beliefs nor those of Zwingli, Calvin or others as “distinctive foundational ideas” of the Reformation.[8] This puts McGrath at odds with historian Richard Bonney. In The European Dynastic States, 1494-1660, Bonney sees Luther’s “unique historical importance” in his actions as well as in his “truly original” doctrine of justification by faith alone.[9] McGrath regards Luther’s “breakthrough” on justification as “still well within the spectrum on contemporary catholic theological opinion,” in a time of doctrinal diversity.[10] McGrath’s interpretation of the origins of Luther’s central idea also puts him at odds with historian Donald J. Wilcox. Luther’s fundamental insight, not just the actions he took to defend it, is central to Luther’s legacy outlined in Wilcox’s In Search of God and Self: Renaissance and Reformation Thought.[11]
McGrath challenges the notion that Desiderius Erasmus should be so personally identified with the early influence of humanism. Such a generalization, according to McGrath, is “improper and misleading.”[12] Bonney accepts the title of “prince of humanists” bequeathed to Erasmus by posterity and does not challenge it.[13] Wilcox, likewise, sees Erasmus as a singular figure in transmitting the influence of the Italian Renaissance to what emerged as the Reformation in Northern Europe.[14]

McGrath assails generations of scholars who have drawn a direct line from an Augustinian school (schola Augustiniana moderna), within or apart from the Augustinian Order, through Wittenberg to Luther by way of his mentor Johannes von Staupitz, and ultimately to the Council of Trent. McGrath points to historians’ confusion over divergent ideas that emerged in the Augustinian Order and mirrored wider polarization between the via antiqua and via moderna. The emergence of twin schools would mean little to a university faculty of arts, but the result of such intellectual divergence within a faculty of theology, such as at Wittenberg, has led to confusion not easily avoided by historians, according to McGrath. The via moderna, but not the schola Augustiniana moderna, was being taught when Luther arrived at Whittenberg, McGrath asserts. As for any formal Augustinian influence at the Council of Trent, McGrath points to recent study and interpretation of primary documents in arguing that the evidence for an Augustinian school at the council is lacking.[15] Bonney broadly asserts St. Augustine’s general influence on Staupitz, Luther and their contemporaries, and lays particular emphasis on Augustine’s ideas on justification by faith as an influence on Luther’s theology.[16] McGrath points out that new scholarship has called into question the personal influence of Staupitz on Luther’s evolving theology at Wittenberg.[17] Further, the Council of Trent considered a range of theologies surrounding justification, according to McGrath, not just one labeled – either then or now – as “Augustinian.”[18]

McGrath sees little intellectual connection between Luther’s experience at Wittenberg and the emergence of the Reformed Church and outlines several contrasts between the two movements: Wittenberg professors were culturally isolated from the humanist ideas of Zwingli and other Swiss thinkers. Theology at Wittenberg was literally an academic exercise, not the practical reform of life and morals that Zwingli sought for the church and his community of Zurich. Wittenberg theologians were mainly concerned with how divine intention and action resulted in human salvation, which is absent from early Reformed theology. Further, as emerging theologies at Wittenberg made it clear that separation from the inherited scholasticism was imminent, Wittenberg theologians thought it necessary to debate and oppose the old ideas, while Zwingli saw fit to simply ignore them.[19] It was Calvin, drawing most of his theology from Luther and his humanism from Erasmus by way of Zwingli, who merged the two disparate movements, according to Wilcox.[20] Bonney has Calvin following scholasticism to humanism via Zwingli, although Bonney sees a more tenuous theological connection between Calvin and Zwingli than between Calvin and Luther. This, according to Bonney, was expressed mainly in the Swiss Confession of Faith, seen as Calvin’s compromise between Lutheran and Reformed ideas surrounding the Eucharist (the bread and wine were signs, a nod to Zwingli, yet substantive, a nod to Luther).[21]

Personalities aside, McGrath asserts that divergence of interpretation between Lutherans and the Reformed Church shows that a broad-based return to Scripture as the main source for theology, whether fueled or merely paralleled by the Renaissance-humanist return to antiquity for source documents, was not a driving force of the intellectual origins of the Reformation. McGrath points to one disagreement as a foundation for many others: Both Lutheran and Reformed leaders looked to the Gospel story and Scripture in general as sources of moral instruction. However, to Luther, the point was the explanation of Christ’s work in – and for -- humanity; to early Reformed leaders, particularly Martin Bucer, disciple of Erasmus and mentor of Calvin, the point was the example of Christ, which humanity was to imitate with the help of the Holy Spirit. Rather than the Reformation being born of a distinct return to Scripture as the sole source for theology, McGrath sees both Luther and Zwingli – and Bucer, Calvin and others – continuing debates that started within the late-medieval church.[22] Wilcox acknowledges that Luther considered his notion of justification by faith alone as subordinate to the Bible, and points to Calvin’s greater emphasis on the Bible as an important distinction between the two. Wilcox forthrightly declares that both movements looked solely to the Bible as the source for theology, but even he acknowledges that leaders of each looked to Scripture for fodder for their own evolving interpretations, rather than deriving their different hermeneutics from Scripture.[23]

McGrath’s command of the secondary literature on the Reformation is clear, according to Hans J. Hillerbrand’s review in The American Historical Review.[24] As a new synthesis of such a broad topic, The Intellectual Origins of the European Reformation is primarily concerned with others’ interpretations, not a reexamination of primary sources. McGrath was selective, however, in the materials he used and the orientation is reflected in what he does not explore. Hillerbrand, of Duke University, notes that McGrath does not consider the Radical Reformation at all; neither Luther’s fellow professor at Wittenberg, Andreas Carlstadt, nor the Anabaptist Thomas Muntzer is even mentioned.[25] Other reviewers point out other omissions. Joseph Tempest of Ithaca College, while he applauds McGrath’s work on Luther and Lutheran theology, found less to praise in his assessment of the Swiss Reformation.[26] However, Tempest pointed out McGrath’s inclusion of less prominent figures in the early Lutheran movement, such as the humanist and via moderna advocate Jodocus Trutvetter’s appointment as rector at Wittenberg in 1507, the year before Luther arrived, in building a formidable evaluation of Luther’s early influences, Trutvetter having been a professor at Erfurt when Luther studied there.[27] Charles G. Nauert Jr. at the University of Missouri faulted McGrath for simple errors, such as describing Erasmus, a priest and former monk, as an example of increased theological capability among the laity.[28] Harsh criticism came from Randall Zachman of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School; Zachman found McGrath’s thesis “unobjectionable” but faults him for building his case on a fundamental misunderstanding of the Reformation’s origins in both Wittenberg and Switzerland. Among other things, Zachman complains, McGrath all but ignores the indulgence controversy and fails to consider Luther’s ideas on the forgiveness of sins and the connection it makes to the thinking of Zwingli and Calvin despite the latter’s emphasis on outward moralizing rather than self examination.[29]

McGrath organizes his work loosely chronologically, but mostly around ideas that emerged and receded at certain times within the late-medieval and early Reformation periods. The complexity of the subject matter – McGrath’s examination of the intricacies of wide-ranging interpretations of theological thinking that was, itself, so much a matter of interpretation, on many levels – makes The Intellectual Origins of the European Reformation a difficult read for even the most conscientious student. This is despite McGrath’s didactic approach. Unlike some scholars, he occasionally lists and enumerates his main points, especially when endeavoring to untangle a particularly confusing cluster of related but fundamentally different ideas. Such efforts to be clear are balanced against his copious use of Latin, with no translation.[30] In comparison, his section on “Sources and Methods,” wherein he places the evolution of ideas within the context of changing attitudes toward Scripture, translation and interpretation, are easy to digest because the subject matter is less an interpretation and synthesis of others’ interpretation of Reform theology and hermeneutics and more of a traditional attempt to recount the development of an intellectual history by giving the necessary evaluation and assessment of the practical application of reason.[31]

McGrath, a native of Belfast, Northern Ireland, attended Oxford University and Cambridge University. He holds bachelor of arts degrees in natural science and theology, a bachelor of divinity degree and master of arts and doctorate degrees in theology. He is an expert in historical theology whose work comprises writing, contributing or editing some 40 books of both academic and popular history.[32] The bibliography of The Intellectual Origins of the European Reformation indicates McGrath’s familiarity with Latin, French, German and Italian, all necessary for judging secondary works on the Reformation.[33] McGrath is an Episcopalian who served as a curate of a parish church in Wollaton, Nottingham, England, from 1980-1983. His academic training was in theology, not history per se.[34] His youth amid the Protestant-Catholic tension of Northern Ireland, his experience as a church pastor, his academic training in religion – and his role as a Christian apologist in popular writings – would seem to serve him well as a researcher into practical matters of intellect surrounding sacred things.[35] However, such personal involvement in Christianity might also blind McGrath to strains of thought that fall outside the main streams of historical thinking, which, perhaps, is evidenced by the lack of consideration given to the Anabaptist movement, noted above. [36]

Proving a negative is difficult. McGrath, however, in illustrating his argument that no single idea or even easily discernable single sodality, or cluster, of thinking can be seen as the intellectual origin of the Reformation, does outline the major strains of theological thought that were ongoing in the generations leading up to it. Despite certain omissions that might have been included in such a broad work, McGrath is convincing in his argument that Reformation thought was in many ways an extension of late-medieval thinking, and therefore does not represent as clean a break with the intellectual tradition of the church as some want to believe. Likewise reasonable is his assertion that the Reformation took what it needed from the Renaissance and humanist scholarship, with Lutherans staying nearer to scholasticism and the Reformed Church relying on humanism for its socially oriented moral reforms.

[1] Alister E. McGrath, The Intellectual Origins of the European Reformation, 2d ed. (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishing, 2004), 11-33.

[2] Ibid., 34-66.

[3] Ibid., 67-116.

[4] Ibid., 117-166.

[5] Ibid., 167-181.

[6] Ibid., 182-189.

[7] Ibid., 182.

[8] Ibid., 165-166.

[9] Richard Bonney, The European Dynastic States, 1494-1660, The Short Oxford History of the Modern World, ed. J.M. Roberts (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991), 15.

[10] McGrath, Intellectual Origins, 28.

[11] Donald J. Wilcox, In Search of God & Self: Renaissance and Reformation Thought (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1975; reprint, Prospect Heights, Ill., 1987), 294-295, 306.

[12] McGrath, Intellectual Origins, 34.

[13] Bonney, European Dynastic States, 10.

[14] Wilcox, In Search of God & Self, 281.

[15] McGrath, Intellectual Origins, 82-88, 106.

[16] Bonney, European Dynastic States, 10, 17.

[17] McGrath, Intellectual Origins, 162.

[18] Ibid., 28.

[19] Ibid., 114-115.

[20] Wilcox, In Search of God & Self, 316.

[21] Bonney, European Dynastic States, 29, 44.

[22] McGrath, Intellectual Origins, 129, 145, 156-157.

[23] Wilcox, In Search of God & Self, 303, 319.

[24] Hans J. Hillerbrand, review of The Intellectual Origins of the European Reformation, by Alister E. McGrath, The American Historical Review 94 (December 1989): 1362-1363.

[25] Ibid., 1363.

[26] Joseph Tempest, review of The Intellectual Origins of the European Reformation, by Alister E. McGrath, Journal of the American Academy of Religion 63 (fall 1990): 508, 510.

[27] Ibid., 509.

[28] Charles G. Nauert Jr., review of The Intellectual Origins of the European Reformation, by Alister E. McGrath, Renaissance Quarterly 41 (winter 1988): 726-727.

[29] Randall Zachman, review of The Intellectual Origins of the European Reformation, by Alister E. McGrath, The Journal of Religion 69 (April 1989): 248.

[30] McGrath, Intellectual Origins, passim.

[31] Ibid., 117-181.

[32] Contemporary Authors: A Bio-Bibliographical Guide to Current Writers in Fiction, General Nonfiction, Poetry, Journalism, Drama, Motion Pictures, Television, and Other Fields, New Revision Series, Vol. 98, s.v. “McGrath, Alister E(dgar) 1953-.”

[33] McGrath, Intellectual Origins, 254-272.

[34] Contemporary Authors, s.v. “McGrath, Alister E(dgar) 1953-.”

[35] Ibid.

[36] Hillerbrand review, 1363.

Friday, October 22, 2004


I column as I see 'em

By The Erudite Redneck

Dave Barry, syndicated humor columnist based at the Miami Herald, is taking a hiatus after 30 years. In all that time, he said, he hasn’t missed a single weekly column.

Good for him. That is one heck of a feat — IF he has had other responsibilities in addition to his column. Anyone who can write at all can come up with one column a week, if that’s all that’s required.

Forgive my hooseyness.* But it took an act of war for me to miss filing a weekly news column — and I have never had the luxury of just writing a column.

Writing news and editing copy or leading a staff or editing a newspaper section has been my real job. Writing a column has always been something I "get" to do on top of everything else.

The Saturday following 9/11, there was a little box on the page in the paper where my column should have been that said I was absent. It didn’t say why, although my closest friends and kin knew I was in D.C. on 9/11 and it took me until that Saturday, the day my column runs, to get home.

That broke the spell. Until that point, I hadn’t missed filing a column in just more than 10 years of writing them, first in Texas, now in Oklahoma.

That’s not to say one of my columns ran every week. Once in Texas, the person laying out the op-ed page ran what she thought was my column, with my mugshot and byline — but it was a column by the food editor. Not a food column, although it did have to do with food, but an op-ed piece.

The writer is a Texan by way of Alabam, and she and I share fundamental world views. We both had been to some small-town to-do and both of us had decided to write about it. It was the ... um ... Buford Strawberry Festival in Buford, Texas.**

I forget what I wrote about, but she wrote about how one of the TV newsbabes who’d also come out from town to a farm at Buford went on and on about how she’d never seen homemade ice cream being made.

The newsbabe — clearly a Yankee, or worse, a Southern girl who’d lost her dang roots — made out like she’d never even heard of anybody chucking ice and rock salt into a big wooden bucket with holes in the side and a small revolvin’ chamber filled with secret ingredients that you hand-turn with a hand crank until, lo and behold, it makes ice cream.

And she wrote it in that oh-so-slightly condescending way that only a matronly Southern woman can get away with when talkin’ oh-so-slightly down to a younger woman, Southern or otherwise.

Think "Steel Magnolias" zeitgeist. With the Erudite Redneck’s picture and byline by it, not the Southern matron’s.

Nothing untoward happened. Turned out that the voice and views of the woman who wrote the piece were so close to my own that nobody noticed the columns had been switched! (My Lord, if that means I write like a Southern Erma Bombeck, then just shoot me now). But I went the next few days keepin’ an eye out for hitbabes sent out by the Lone Star Chapter of the National Organization few Wimmin to come around and knock me on the noggin and set me straight.

That was in the early ’90s, and until 9/15 of ’01, I never missed another column.

Some months after, when space was tight in the section of the paper where my columns runs, when I had a particularly hellish week, I volunteered to sacrifice my musings for the good of the team — which freed up space for real news and gave me a break. Later, I was ashamed. I got over it.

Last month, on a week of vacation (a vacation from payin’ work only), I fully intended to send in a column. Between work on my master’s thesis and the can’t-miss-a-column spell bein’ broken, I begged off the day before it was due. I told myself it was OK, since I wadn’t goofin’ off, I just had other chickens to fry.

Then I read where Dave Barry had never missed a column in 30 years. I won’t be able to say that. Right now, I can say I haven’t missed but three columns in 13 ½ years. I reckon that ain’t bad, considerin’.

* "Hooseyness" is a family word. It means "uppity" or "snobbish" or "to be on one’s high horse." One of my little nieces used to call horses "hooseys." To be "hoosey" is to be on one’s high horse. "Hooseyness," of course, of course, is the noun form.

**Name of town and fruit changed to protect all involved. But some of y’all know what and where I’m talkin’ about.


Wednesday, October 20, 2004


Technical difficulties, please stand by

My computer at home will not let me sign on. I will try to remedy it. If I'm absent for an extended period, that's why.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


Must ... blog ... something

Just a note to say that because my head hurts, it's been a long day, the house is a wreck and I need to unwreck it, and I need to hang with the dogs on this dreary ol' day and smoke a ceegar, I don't think I will post anything on Erudite Redneck today for the first time since I started it.

Wait, I just did. As they say, It's OK to kiss a nun, just don't get in the habit. So I won't -- get in the habit. :-)

Something original soon!


Monday, October 18, 2004


Treaty of Doak's Stand

Today is the 184th anniversary of the Treaty of Doak's Stand, in Mississippi, one of nine treaties whereby Choctaws ceded their land in the east in exchange for land west of the Mississippi River, in present-day Oklahoma.

It was a "Treaty of Friendship, Limits and Accommodation." Later, after removal in the 1830s, there was a town called Doaksville a mile from Fort Towson, some 15 miles east of present Hugo, Okla. (Doaksville, long gone, was a typical bustling frontier town. The two newspapers I studied for my master's thesis, the Choctaw Telegraph and the Choctaw Intelligencer, were published there.)

The Treaty of Doak's Stand also meant to help "promote the civilization of the Choctaw Indians." Fascinating stuff. Read the Treaty of Doak's Stand at:


Sunday, October 17, 2004


Proud Aggies

By The Erudite Redneck

STILLWATER, Okla. -- Boone Pickens Stadium held four kinds of Proud Aggies Saturday night:

1. On the football field, the Texas A&M Aggies were rightly proud of their feat. They came to Stillwater and beat the Oklahoma State Cowboys fair and square.

The Cowboys themselves mightily aided the Aggies in their victory. The Cowboys didn’t appear to be able to find their collective backsides using all 22 hands.

2. In the stands, scattered here and there, Texas A&M Aggie fans likewise were proud: Their team was not expected to do what it did, but it did.

They quite reasonably celebrated their success with their “Gig ‘Em” cheer, wild cheers, high fives and cell phone calls, of the can-you-believe-this variety, to College Station and other Texas environs.

3. Also on the field, beaten almost from the beginning and embarrassed, the Cowboys (also known colloquially, out-of-state friends, as the Aggies), managed to keep long-term confidence in themselves even though their immediate poise took a lickin’ in the opening minutes of the game from which they could not recover.

The Pokes’ (another O-State Cowboy nickname) expressed both bewilderment at the immediate turns of events and their overall assurance in themselves in the stories in the paper this morning.

4. Also in the stands were Aggies like me, the Oklahoma State fan kind, who were button-poppin’ proud at the behavior of fellow fans. We grumbled. We gritted our teeth. We let our jaws and hopes drop. We cussed and frowned and scowled and wondered who the imposters were on the field and what they had done with our real team.

But I heard not one whit of whining – none. And, more important – and this is a sign of character born of losing more games than winning them – despite the reasonable but annoying glee of our guests in maroon, I heard not one word of ridicule, not one unkind word. Not a single one.

In fact, you’da thought were all kin, which we are, in a way. Ag schools are like that. I’m sure some O-Staters on Elm Street, after the game, after too many beers, probably got mouthy with somebody in maroon. And fisticuffs would not have beyond the realm of possibility. People are people. But I didn't hear such a peep, nor see such a scuffle -- and I was lookin'.

I am protective of our reputation -- or, to be more precise, I am protective of the fact that we do NOT have the reputation of others schools' fans for bein' jerks -- and I will fight a fellow O-Stater who gets out of line with a visiting fan if I have to.

But O-State fans, and Texas A&M fans, are good people. I never was prouder to wear O-State Orange than at this sad and frustrating homecoming defeat. I cannot think of a classier program or a classier set of fans than those of Texas A&M University.


And Gig' em Aggies!


Saturday, October 16, 2004


Orange Power

Just one thing on my mind today: Homecoming at Oklahoma State.

Bird, a freshman, is so excited she's been on the verge of peein' on herself all week. Dr. ER and I are headin' up to Stillwater here directly.

O-State Cowboys vs. the Texas A&M Aggies in a homecomin' game at the new-and-improved Boone Pickens Stadium. It don't get much better than that.

Coldbeer at Stables (formerly George's Stables), across the street from Eskimo Joe's -- -- hangin' out in old haunts at Bennett Hall, with Bird; just bein' on the beautiful OSU campus in the fall -- that's livin.



Friday, October 15, 2004


Hangin' Judge Isaac C. Parker

By The Erudite Redneck

Hangin' Judge Isaac C. Parker was born today in 1838. He wadn't too bad of a feller, for a Yankee.

Parker helped civilize my part of the frontier West. In "True Grit" and "Rooster Cogburn," Parker was the real-life judge the fictional Marshal Cogburn worked for.

In the late 19th century, more than a few of my ancestors, living in what was then the Cherokee Nation (now northeastern Oklahoma), passed through Parker's court.

Nothing too serious -- just the usual whiskey runnin', street fightin', gamblin' and garden-variety mayhem. One of the women did get charged with attempted murder, but it was a trumped-up deal.

Parker's court found that the man who shot and killed my great-grandfather, on July 5, 1889, in the Cherokee Nation, did so in self-defense.

Yes, well, from what we know of the circumstances, the killer deserved to have his ass whupped, and that's what great-grandpa was in the process of doing when it got him kilt.

Read more about Judge Parker here:


Thursday, October 14, 2004


Legend of the Rebel Soldier

My oldest friend in the world introduced me to this tune during the stump burnin' last Saturday night (see Sunday's post). I know this gentleman to be a blog "lurker" -- someone who visits a blog but never leaves a comment. That's OK.

Sir, I thank you. It is the most touching song I have ever heard from the War Between the States.

The words alone are all I can put here. But even they are both spare and soulful, somehow, at the same time:

Legend of the Rebel Soldier

In a dreary Yankee prison where a rebel soldier lay
By his side there stood a preacher ere his soul should pass away
And he faintly whispered Parson, as he clutched him by the hand
Oh parson, tell me quickly, will my soul pass through the Southland?"

Will my soul pass through the Southland, through Old Virginia grand?
Will I see the hills of Georgia, and the green fields of Alabam?
Will I see the little churchhouse, where I pledged my heart and hand?
Oh parson, tell me quickly, will my soul pass through the Southland?

Was for loving dear old Dixie, in this dreary cell I lie
Was for loving dear old Dixie, in this Northern state I die
Will you see my little daughter, will you make her understand?
Oh parson, tell me quickly, will my soul pass through the Southland?

Then the Rebel Soldier died.


Wednesday, October 13, 2004


Horseplay at the shirt factory

By The Erudite Redneck

A bunch of my dress shirts are defective.

They’re just typical oxford-cloth button-downs, 16 1/2-inch neck, 35-inch sleeves -- but somebody at the shirt factory snuck some extra layers of material in at the middle, from an area about even with the pocket, down to my belt.

That’s why they pooch out so much right there, and it’s why my pants are so tight lately.

Funny how more and more of my shirts have come that way from the store since the summer of ‘01, when I started grad school and started spending so much time behind computers -- this one at work, and the one at home.

The spring of ‘01 also was the last time I gardened. When I garden, I garden hard. Maters. Squirsh. Cukes. Carrots. Radishes -- white and red. I’ve also grown okry and green beans and herbs (the legal kind.).

And when I garden, the yard looks better because I’m out in it all the time and I want it to look nice. So, when I garden, and keep the yard and trees and landscaping up, it’s an all-day deal almost every Saturday, and sometimes on Sunday.

But I quit all that when I started grad school. Which caught me by surprise. I hadn’t really given any thought at all to what I’d have to give up in order to have time to study, do research and write. Because that’s ALL a masters’ degree in history is: Reading, researching, writing.

And none of that takes much physical energy. And not burning much energy -- plus eating poorly just to stuff something in my mouth between class and work and homework and life -- leads to unintended results.

But how do those sneaky folks at the shirt factory know all that about me? How do they know I’m more sedentary than I’ve ever been? I know they’re sneaking those extra layers into the middle of my shirts just to be funny -- and to distract me from my studies.

But I don’t appreciate it one dadgum bit. I know I’m fit -- fit to be tied when I think about those jokesters at the shirt factory.


Tuesday, October 12, 2004


Without adult supervision

Look out. Bird's in her collegiate nest and Dr. ER is hittin' the road today -- the first of many trips between now and the end of the year. Expect aberrant behavior from ol' ER. I do not play well on my own. :-(

Luckily, I have more than enough homework to keep me out of trouble. But melancholia always sneaks up on me when I'm by myself.

Wait, not melancholia: "a mental disorder, often psychotic, characterized by extreme depression of spirits, brooding and anxiety." That's a little extreme!

I mean melancholy, which is a noun as well as an adjective, definition 2 in my Webster's New World Dictionary, 2d College Edition (wonderful old friend, old enough to vote): "sadness and depression of spirits; a tendency to be sad, gloomy or depressed."

Awwww, between the dogs and keepin' my nose in the books, I reckon I'll be all right.


Monday, October 11, 2004


"Praecipitatum verius quam editum"

None of y'all ever asked about the recent addition to my label up there, under "Erudite Redneck," next to where it says, "For folks educated past their raisin'," so I'll tell you'ns.

"Praecipitatum verius quam editum" is latin. It means somethin' like "thrown together rather than edited," which splains my approach to this blog. It's what Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam, Netherlands, said about one of his own translations of the Bible, in 1516.


Sunday, October 10, 2004


Stump burnin'

By The Erudite Redneck

Consider the stump burnt. Not that the task is complete. Takes more than one burnin’ to properly burn a stump.

But the burnin’ was a success, in that -- well, some of the stump got burned, and we managed to burn the stump without setting the milk barn on fire.

Which became a real concern when what I guess was a gust front tied to the leadin’ edge of storms from Tropical Storm Matthew hit about 9:30 or so, after scootin' from the Gulf, up across Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas The site of the stump burnin’ is in extreme eastern Oklahoma, which got plumb drenched in places Saturday.

The stump in question is the remains of a tree that popped up in a crack in the concrete just outside the milking room. It is causing the concrete to crack further, which is why the stump deserved the burnin.’

The milk barn, also known as the milk house, has not been in use for milking since I have been alive on this planet. It stands as an artifact of history, from when my dad and mama ran a dairy.

Valves and pipes still hang from the ceiling. In the attic are a milk bucket and parts from a milking machine – also older than I am.

Which reminds me: Brudder and I got to wanderin’ around the milk house this mornin’ rememberin’ and flirting with melancholy, wondering what we were thinkin’ to have hauled off so much daddy-farmy stuff years ago that we would love to have now – and in the distraction, I forgot to bring back an old milk can that he had chromed for me.

Ah, well. It will go with the décor of the ER-Dr. ER household, once it gets rememembered and brought up.

The stump burnin’ itself went off without a hitch – once the one of us who actually knows how to properly build a fire showed up and undid what Brudder and I had done with the burnin’ materials, restacked it all so-so, and got the fire going.

Compared to stump burnin’s of old, this’n was a low-key, sparsely attended affair. Just four of us – countin’ one that pooped out after about an hour. Which left three of us to consume 12 Arkansas beers and a couple of bottles of cheap wine – and one of the three is dang near a teetotaler.

Well, it was a dirty job, and somebody had to do it. We rose to the occasion with aplomb, if I say so myself.

Miller Lite or Coors – both of which were represented – should’ve been taping it. They could have the footage it on hand if they ever decide to try to reclaim their redneck white guy market share, which they’ve been neglectin’ lately.

We are getting’ old, however. Nobody jumped in a truck and ran off to get more beer. The fact is, even after the 12 beers had been consumed from the tailgate of my truck – strategically backed close enough to the fire that we could listen to the only form of music left that is, always has been, and forevermore will be solely intended for redneck ears – BLUGRASS – I actually FORGOT that there was one more six pack in the house, in the icebox.

I forgot. About beer. Bought. Cold. Not 200 feet away. Somebody shoot me if I get any worse.

And we barely consumed one of four bags of pork rinds procured just for the occasion – partly because while pork rinds are an ideal complement for coldbeer, they sort of clash with wine, cheap or otherwise.

I did, however, remember that there were seven pieces left of a $5.99 eight-piece chicken special I’d picked up at an IGA just for the post-stump burnin’ feed around Mama’s kitchen table, which, as best as I can recollect, transpired around 11 or 11:30 p.m., another indication that the heartbreak of psoriasis can’t be too far in the future for the redneck remnant of what used to be a whole dang covey of folks who would drop about anything to stand around a burnin’ stump and drink beer.

We consumed the chicken, with white bread and white milk, with relish, so to speak. Two of we three then hightailed it, one to his house in “town,” the other’n to his place up on the mountain – and I retired back to my room, where there is a 1986 MAD magazine on the dresser, a six-pack of “Cowboy Cola” with the 1984 Oklahoma State football schedule on the side of each can, a 1988 calendar on one wall, an oversized version of my 1982 high school senior picture on the other, and – well, you get the picture.

And an erudite redneck’s soul awoke this mornin’ somewhat refreshed. Good beer, good friends, good family, good chicken, good music, good place – that’s livin’.


Saturday, October 09, 2004



What a week. And I capped it by drivin' 112 miles, round trip, last night, to go to a party. Hey, Bird is in Texas, Dr. ER is in Doo-Rant, and I was left without proper adult supervision. I managed to see a mentor who now runs a tavern and stopped in another bar where Garth Brooks played for seven years in the '80s before gettin' famous.

I am headin' for the hills, to see Mama and Brudder -- just in time, I learn, for a stump burnin'. Woo hoo. It's a tad warm yet, but there's nothin' like a couple of hours starin' into a big brush fire in the fall to help ya get yer head back on straight. (The $%*#$^ hardcopy of my $%&)# thesis, and a green pen, are going with me -- green because every page is already drippin' with red, from the editing I've done so far. Grrr.)

Check out some crazy Oklahoma State fans:



Friday, October 08, 2004


To the marrow!

OK, this really hurt. I had to cut to the bib! The bibliography -- which is like, oh, I don't know, cutting to the marrow. :-) Truth is, I'd padded it some, and it needed thinning! The paper will be better for it. I'm about done. It was 236 pages. Now it's 220. I might whittle another couple of pages, so I can technically meet my chairman's instruction to cut it by "20 to 30 pages." Look at these articles and books! Good stuff cited below!

Doyle, Thomas H., ed. “Single Versus Double Statehood (part 2).” The Chronicles of Oklahoma 5, no. 2 (June 1927): 117-148.

Doyle, Thomas H., ed. “Single Versus Double Statehood (part 3).” The Chronicles of Oklahoma 5, no. 3 (September 1927): 266-286.

Gould, Charles N. “Beginning of the Geological Work in Oklahoma.” The Chronicles of Oklahoma 10, no. 2 (June 1932): 196-203.

Cooper, James Fenimore. The Last of the Mohicans. Edited by William Charvat. Cambridge: The Riverside Press, 1958.

Dale, Edward Everett, and Gaston Litton. Cherokee Cavaliers: Forty Years of Cherokee History as Told in the Correspondence of the Ridge-Watie-Boudinot Family. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1939, 1995.

Johnson, Walter A. “Brief History of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad Lines.” The Chronicles of Oklahoma 24, no. 3 (autumn 1946): 340-358.

Maxwell, Amos D. “The Sequoyah Convention (Part 1).” The Chronicles of Oklahoma 28, no. 2 (summer 1950): 161-192.

________. “The Sequoyah Convention (Part 2).” The Chronicles of Oklahoma 28, no. 3 (autumn 1950): 299-340.

Thoburn, Joseph B. “Centennial of The Tour on the Prairies.” The Chronicles of Oklahoma 10, no. 3 (September 1932): 426-433.

Wright, Muriel H. “Early Navigation and Commerce Along the Arkansas and Red Rivers in Oklahoma.” The Chronicles of Oklahoma 8, no. 1 (March 1930): 65-88.

Abel, Annie Heloise. The American Indian under Reconstruction. Cleveland: Arthur H. Clark Co., 1925. Reprint, titled The American Indian and the End of the Confederacy, 1863-1866. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1993.

Abel, Annie Heloise. The American Indian as Slaveholder and Secessionist: An Omitted Chapter in the Diplomatic History of the Southern Confederacy. Cleveland: Arthur H. Clark Co., 1915. Reprint, titled The American Indian as Slaveholder and Secessionist. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1992.

Abel, Annie Heloise. The American Indian as Participant in the Civil War. Cleveland: Arthur H. Clark Co., 1919. Reprint, titled The American Indian in the Civil War, 1862-1865. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1992.

Ashton, Sharon Standifer. Indians and Intruders. Vol. 1. Norman: Ashton Publishing, 1996.

Bailey, M. Thomas. Reconstruction in Indian Territory: A Story of Avarice, Discrimination and Opportunism. Port Washington, N.Y., and London: Kennikat Press, 1972.

Blondheim, Menahem. News over the Wires: The Telegraph and the Flow of Public Information in America, 1844-1897. Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press, 1994.

Bradlee, Ben. A Good Life: Newspapering and Other Adventures. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995.

Buchanan, Edna. The Corpse Had a Familiar Face: Covering Miami, America’s Hottest Beat. New York: Random House, 1987.

Cuozzo, Steven. It’s Alive! How America’s Oldest Newspaper Cheated Death and Why it Matters. New York: Random House, 1996.

Edwards, Whit. The Prairie was on Fire: Eyewitness Accounts of the Civil War in the Indian Territory. Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Historical Society, 2001.

Fecher, Carles A., ed. The Diary of H.L. Menchen. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1989.

Fischer, LeRoy H., ed. The Civil War in Indian Territory. Los Angeles: Lorrin L. Morrison, 1974. First published as feature articles in Journal of the West 12, no. 1 (July 1973).

Frankel, Max. The Times of My Life and My Life with The Times. New York: Random House, 1999.

Gramling, Oliver. AP: The Story of News. New York and Toronto: Farrar and Rinehart Inc., 1940.

Kunkel, Thomas. Genius in Disguise: Harold Ross of the New Yorker. New York: Random House, 1995.

Lynch, Dudley. The Hereford Brand, Belle of the Prairie Press: Sixty-five Years of Newspapering on the High Texas Plains. Austin: Department of Journalism, The University of Texas at Austin, 1966(?).

Rampp, Lary C., and Donald L. Rampp. The Civil War in the Indian Territory. Austin: Presidial Press, 1975.

Read, Donald. The Power of News: The Story of Reuters, 1849-1989. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

Reston, James. Deadline: A Memoir. New York: Random House, 1991.

Rosenblum, Mort. Back Home: A Foreign Correspondent Rediscovers America. New York: William Morrow and Company Inc., 1989.

Scripps Howard Foundation. Roy W. Howard – The True RWH: a Collection of Letters, Tributes and Stories about One of Journalism’s Finest. Cincinnati: Scripps Howard Foundation, 1997.

Sperber, A.M. Murrow: His Life and Times. New York: Bantam Books, 1987.

Tuccille, Jerome. Rupert Murdoch. New York: Donald I. Fine Inc., 1989.


Thursday, October 07, 2004


Hair, teeth and eyeballs!

The carnage continues!
(Editorial) Many, even neighbors in the States, appear to be entirely ignorant of the advance which the Choctaws have made in the art of living, as well as of the labors of those who have been and still are engaged in the work of imparting instruction to them. They look upon the Choctaws as still a wandering race, wearing the tomahawk and scalping knife, and disposed to use the same whenever an opportunity offers. We venture 3 or 4 assertions, in regard to this people. 1st. That in more than one State, go off of the public roads and you will find more poor cabins and huts than you will find in this Nation. 2d. The Sabbath is better observed among the enlightened Choctaws than among many of the highly favored in many States. 3d. There are more adults who learn to read, than among most whites. 4th. There is more interest in schools and religion than among country people in many States.[1]
(Editorial) Never has it been our lot to experience such a scene of horror as thrilled through the entire community on Thursday night last. About 10 o’clock report reached us that Mr. A, Roby, and old resident of this vicinity, in the employment and has been for many years, of Mr. Jackson Kemp, was shot by an unknown hand in the dark, while he, unsuspectingly, was issueing the usual weekly allowance of provisions to the negroes under his care and management. The perpetrator of this act, shot him it is supposed, with a pistol or shot-gun, through the crack of the house with balls or slugs, entered his side near the kidneys, passed through him to the opposite side and the balls or slugs lodged in his clothes. The unfortunate man only survived his painful attack till the morning following at 11 o’clock. It may be some consolation to his absent friends and relatives to know that he was sensible to the last. He was asked who he thought committed the act, his reply was some one of the negroes on the plantation, but could not tell which one. Every exertion is now making by our worthy Chief, with the friends of the deceased, to bring the guilty to punishment, which we hope will prove successful.[2]
(Letter-to-the-editor) You have no idea what a large amount of money, is paid out annually for the fire water, in the western portion of the Nation. I have not been acquainted with the facts before, but by seeing a load of empty whisky barrels, passing by my house, I was led to enquire a little into the matter. These barrels (ten in number) were bought at a “Doggery” in Preston, Texas; and they are to be converted into tar barrels. Each barrel holds forty gallons. I was told that the vender sells a barrel of whisky a day, when the river is passable. At the least calculation, three hundred barrels of whisky are sucked dry in one year in Preston. A gallon of whisky may be worth seventy-five cents. Thirty dollars for a barrel. Three hundred barrels at thirty dollars apiece, is the handsome sum of nine thousand dollars; and half of the nine thousand, is paid by Indians for their morning’s bitters. Nine thousand dollars laid out in one year, just for the gratification of the depraved appetite! What capacious and inconsumable ventricles, the lovers of strong drink have![3]
(Letter-to-the-editor) If the Choctaw Nation were sunk down in drunkenness, what a wild devastation it would be. How the philanthropist venders of the liquid fire, would then laugh at our calamity. In their rejoicing they would say, “we have completed the destruction of one hated tribe of Indians.” But proud am I to say, that we are not all brought to the verge of destruction. There are some brave sprits in the land, who would not be taken as prisoners, but would stand as beacons, and meet every temptation, which may be held out to them to swallow the death dealing fire. They have declared themselves as enemies to the destroying stuff, and they stand firm, and there they will stand, as long as they live. It is a great consolation to me, that the better days have dawned upon a large portion of our countrymen.[4]
The editorial (from the Fort Smith Herald) is repeated in its entirety because it is the clearest statement of the Telegraph’s stand on the subject:
The Liquor Traffic. The temperance cause makes an urgent and solemn appeal at this time to all its friends, whatever their organization or name, to unite their influence and efforts in one great and continuous struggle for the final arrest of intemperance. Several circumstances favor our hopes and encourage to action. In the first place, the cholera as it has passed from place to place, has taught the country again, as it did before, that intemperance is the great auxiliary of the scourge, supplying it with subjects and multiplying its triumphs, whole [while] as a general rule, abstainers escape its attacks, or recover. These facts are making a deep impression, and must aid our glorious reform. That large, powerful, efficient organization, the Order of the Sons of Temperance, are now engaged in a special and earnest effort all over the country to collect facts and statistics, showing the enormous evils of the liquor traffic, and these facts, when embodied and laid before the public, must and doubtless will, produce a powerful sensation. The whole temperance community are appealed to, in reference to this movement to assist in obtaining statistics and facts, and in bringing them out to the light of day, and to aid in arousing the country to action, to relieve itself of the fearful burden and curse. The liquor traffic is emphatically the great evil to be overcome. It is idle for temperance men to waste their time, money and energies in striving to reform and save here and there an inebriate, so long as the rumsellers can go on without hindrance, raising up new armies of inebriates to take the places of the old. All our old processes are like attempting to dry-up a river by dipping out buckets full, while the streams above are in full flow to replenish it. We must go to the fountain head of the evil, if we would stop it. As long as thousands and tens of thousands of drunkard makers ply their infamous business, there will be no great diminution of intemperance. The whole strength, the united wisdom, influence and zeal of the entire temperance force of the nation, must be brought to bear against the traffic. It must be stayed, rooted out, utterly and forever, and without loss of time. Come up, then to the work. A long pull, a strong pull and a pull altogether, destroy the perilous liquor traffic![5]
(Choctaw liuquor law, circa 1850) Sect. 1. Be it enacted by the General Council of the Choctaw Nation assembled, That no person or persons shall be permitted to bring any whisky or other ardent spirits into this Nation; and any person so offending shall have the whisky or other ardent spirits destroyed by the Light horsemen or any one of them; and the captains and their warriors of the several Districts, shall have the power and be bound to exercise the duties of the Light horsemen in assisting to destroy any whisky or other ardent spirits, which may be brought into the Nation. And be it further enacted, That should any person or persons refuse to have his or her whisky or other ardent spirits destroyed by taking up arms, and should any one of the Light horsemen, captain or warriors, in self defence, kill or destroy the life of the person or persons having whisky or other ardent spirits, he shall be protected by the laws of the Nation. But should any offender kill or destroy the life of any person or persons who are engaged in assisting to destroy the whisky or other ardent spirits, such shall suffer death; but should the offender only destroy or injure the property or limbs of the Light horsemen, captains or warriors, he or she shall be liable to a fine or punishment according to the crime.[6]
(Editorial) The more favorable account, given by the emigrants, that left Red river in the Northern part of Texas, at a point, nearly on a straight line from Little Rock to El Passo, than that of any other route we have seen, induces us to believe, that the greater part of the emigration next Spring, will take this route. This opinion is gaining confidence with those, who anticipate leaveing for California, both from Texas, and the Southern part of Arkansas; and is strengthened by the fact that Capt. Marcey, has determined to return a more Southern way, than that upon which he went out, and of the unsatisfactory account made by him of the Fort Smith route. Capt. Marcey is now expected in every day by the way of Fort Washita, and no doubt, but that the public will receive from his report, some valuable information, relative to the two routes, that will go far to decide, which one the emigration will take hereafter. From Little Rock to the Nation’s line, it is about one hundred and sixty miles, over a very good road, as we are informed by the officers of Fort Towson. From the line there is an excellent road, runing by Fort Towson to Preston in Texas, where Red river should be crossed, going to El Passo.[7]

[1] Ibid.

[2] Choctaw Intelligencer, January 29, 1851, p. 2, col. 2.

[3] Choctaw Telegraph, August 23, 1849, p. 2, col. 5. A “doggery,” in the nineteenth century, was slang for a cheap drinking establishment, a dive. Oxford English Dictionary Online, s.v. “doggery,” accessed 12 June, 2004.

[4] Choctaw Telegraph, August 23, 1849, p. 2, col. 5.

[5] Choctaw Telegraph, August 30, 1849, p. 1, col. 2.

[6] Choctaw Telegraph, July 19, 1849, p. 2, col. 1.

[7] Ibid., p. 2, col. 4.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004


Bone and gristle!

More from the ER Butcher Shop! Arrrrgghhhh!

Standing on the promise suggested by Marshall’s finding that tribes were “domestic dependent nations,” leading tribesmen influenced the Cherokees to stay put and probably caused missionaries to overstep their already tenuous bounds when encouraging the Indians to resist the greater injustice. The struggle, in fact, was watched keenly by a growing religious-conservative element arising in response to what was perceived as a largely secular era in American life.[1] A second lawsuit in 1832, however, showed just how far federal promises could go when they went up against states’ rights and interests – and a president whose reputation rested on fighting Indians. Georgia authorities convicted and jailed the Rev. Samuel A. Worcester – who later would run one of the earliest printing presses in Indian Territory – and other missionaries to the Cherokees on charges including failure to swear allegiance to the state. When Worcester vs. Georgia went before the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Marshall found that Georgia had violated the constitutional rights of the petitioners and the solemn treaty rights Cherokees enjoyed with the United States. Georgia refused the court’s order to release the prisoners, holding them for several months. President Jackson was said to have uttered the words that still reverberate through tribal law and Five Civilized Tribes history: “John Marshall has rendered his decision; now let him enforce it.”[2]
The Cherokees drew hope from Cherokee Nation vs. Georgia, but saw it dashed. Worcester vs. Georgia evoked excited expectation, but it also shattered. The tribe, fractured along politically and familial lines, eventually had to accede to the inevitable and take its place with the other Southeastern tribes on trails to the West.
Before considering the “when” and “why” of their work, it is important to remember that the present look at some of the early Indian journalists of Indian territory, and their opinions, seeks to evaluate within the context of the nineteenth century, not to critique their words and ideas from the perspective of the twenty-first.
(Andrew Jackson said) And is it supposed that the wandering savage has a stronger attachment to his home than the settled, civilized Christian? Is it more afflicting to him to leave the graves of his fathers than it is to our brothers and children? Rightly considered, the policy of the general government toward the red man is not only liberal but generous. He is unwilling to submit to the laws of the states and mingle with their population. To save him from this alternative, or perhaps utter annihilation, the general government kindly offers him a new home, and proposes to pay the whole expense of his removal and settlement.[3]
Upon Jackson’s death, the Cherokee Advocate took a high road, declining the opportunity the occasion allowed to express bitterness over the wrongs done to the tribes.[4] Later, until the Civil War, the possibilities for full self-rule, however sullied by the travails of the trails of tears, did seem promising. Further, the progressive tribal leaders, well along the path of white “civilization,” probably would have continued to reflect that culture in their government, as well as other aspects of society such as journalism, even if left to their own devices.
(Thomas) Jefferson made his opinion regarding removal explicit in one draft of a constitutional amendment he hoped would certify the legality of the purchase, post hoc:
The right of occupancy in the soil, and of self-government, are confirmed to the Indian inhabitants, as they now exist. … The legislature of the Union shall have authority to exchange the right of occupancy in portions where the U.S. have full rights for lands possessed by Indians within the U.S. on the East side of the Mississippi: to exchange lands on the East side of the river for those of the white inhabitants on the West side thereof …[5]
Almost obscured by his verbosity (John L. O'Sullivan, the newspaperman who coined the phrase "Manifest Destiny") are several other phrases, in italics in the following, which seem particularly ironic and cutting as regards the Indian tribes and their own destiny, as murky, it seems, as America’s was “manifest.”
Why, were other reasoning wanting, in favor now of elevating this question of the reception of Texas into the Union, out of the lower region of our past party dissensions, up to its proper level of a high and broad nationality, it surely is to be found, found abundantly, in the manner in which other nations have undertaken to intrude themselves into it, between us and the proper parties to the case, in a spirit of hostile interference against us, for the avowed object of thwarting our policy and hampering our power, limiting our greatness and checking the fulfillment of our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions.[6]
(From an editorial on slaves held by Choctaws) The conduct of some is beyond endurance: and it is to the interest of their owners, if they want to derive any benefit from their labor, to have them under better subjection; and above all they should keep them at home after night, so that some rest might be obtained by those who do not like to be disturbed. Should there not be a patrol company organized to maintain better order in town, on a Sabbath and after night?[7]
Especially enlightening is the distinction the Fort Smith paper made between the Five Civilized Tribes and other tribes on the frontier – one to which the Choctaw editors clearly subscribed:
The Cherokees, Choctaws, Creeks, Seminoles and other small tribes, have a large amount of business unsettled, and have expended thousands of dollars, by sending delegates to Washington, employing lawyers at an enormous per cent to attend to their affairs but without success. And from present appearances, Indian affairs, will remain as they are until doom’s day. A change in the Indian department is called for, and the old system of conducting Indian matters, needs remodelling. This department of government, and its policy has not been changed, in the least, since its foundation in the infancy of our government, while many of our Indian tribes, especially those upon our border, have made rapid advances in civilization since that period. But at the present day you will hear from the grave officers of government, addresses and speeches, made to these Indians in the same style and manner, as when their fathers wore the flap and leggings, and sported the tomahawk and scalping knife. Many of these Indians possess as much intelligence, and are as well acquainted with their affairs, and know the relationship they bear to the government, as any officer of government, we do not except the President, or any of the heads of the departments in Washington. They are better qualified to take care of their funds and would keep them more secure from the wily speculator than the government. How can men, who have never seen an Indian, or have no knowledge of their rights, be capable of giving direction to Indian affairs, in such a manner to do justice to the Indians? The whole system, in Washington, is adapted to such Indians as the roving Comanches, or those Indian that have little or no knowledge of the government of the United States – are ignorant – follow the chase, and will listen to a long pow-wow from their Great Father, the President, with a string of wampum beads, a pipe hatch, a few plugs of tobacco, and end with a few puffs of the pipe, a shake of the hand, and a few good promises, which are forgotten, or lost in the mist of politics, while the poor Indian returns to his home highly delighted with his interview, and looks long and anxiously for the fulfilment of the promises of their Great Father, who never speaks with a forked tongue, to his red children. But before, these pledges or promises are fulfiled, the President who made them has retired and his successor who knows nothing or rather cares nothing about them, lets them pass, and so it goes from one Presidential term to another, until the Indians loose all confidence in the government; or perhaps are informed their funds have all been paid out to some person or persons, who have managed during the delay of government, to get hold of their money.[8]
In 1850-1852, serious journalistic talk of statehood for what is now Oklahoma and the legal intricacies surrounding individual allotment of Indian-held land – hot topics for a later era of Indian journalists -- was still decades away.
(From a letter-to-the-editor) Cuba is under a government tyrannical and oppressive; no doubt some desire a change; but the desire of wealthy Creoles, I apprehend, have lived so long in awe of their rulers, that they have lost that irrepressible nobleness and energy to proclaim themselves free, and then sustain that decision, if need be, to the death. There has not, to our mind, been any indication of the right spirit yet there. … I am no friend to Spanish rule in Cuba. Yet the parties who have thus far joined in the expeditions cannot be justified by the sober, reflecting part of the community, under the circumstances. We say nothing of motives that actuated these unfortunate, and we think, misguided men. We presume they had no mercenary or selfish thought of agrandizement, but actuated from the best impulses of our nature. Their sad fate is lamentable, and their relatives entitled to our best and warmest sympathies. Peace to their ashes.[9]
(Editorial) We shall part with the officers of company K, 5th reg’t with much regret. Their kind and gentlemanly deportment since they have been stationed here – not quite twelve months – has won for them the esteem of all who had any intercourse with them, and their removal from among us will be much regretted. We regret the change at this particular time, for their sakes, as they had made such improvements about the garrison as to make them, with their families, so comfortable, and were just beginning to enjoy the sweets of their labor
(Editorial) In a few years, we trust that our nation will be well supplied with educated men. Yet we will still be destitute – comparatively speaking – of good farmers, and without them, no nation can prosper. Although the young men are taught to work, and the young females are instructed in housewifery, sewing, &c. – there is yet something wanting on the part of the nation; and that is, to encourage industry. Cannot we devise some plan to encourage farmers? or shall we leave our young men, to do the best they can, resking their falling back in the footsteps of our forefathers, to make a living by hunting. The art of hunting has not, been acquired by our youths, consequently it would be difficult for the to obtain a living in that way.[10]

1] Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., The Age of Jackson (Boston: Little, Brown & Company, 1945), 350-351.

[2] Grant Foreman, Indian Removal, 234-235; Bass, 129-160. In Bass, 155, Jackson’s words, perhaps apocryphal but succinctly describing his attitude toward the court, are slightly different: “John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it.” Debo, in A History of the Indians of the United States, 122, repeats the Bass version but seems to doubt whether Jackson uttered the words, always considered informal, at all.

[3] Andrew Jackson, “On Indian Removal,” in The Annals of America, vol. 5, ed. Mortimer J. Adler (Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., 1968), 420. Original, Message to Congress, 6 December, 1830.

[4] Holland, 295.

[5] Annie H. Abel, “The History of Events Resulting in Indian Consolidation West of the Mississippi,” in Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1906, vol. 1, by Charles H. Haskins, corresponding secretary (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1907), 241-242.

[6] John L. O’Sullivan, “Our Manifest Destiny,” in The Annals of America, vol. 7, ed. Mortimer J. Adler (Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., 1968), 289. Originally published as “Annexation,” in United States Magazine and Democratic Review (July 1845).

[7] Choctaw Telegraph, November 22, 1839, p.2., col. 2. The editors complained specifically at least one other time about slaves’ behavior on the Sabbath: “a portion of the Colored gentry in this immediate vicinity … make the Lords day a season of drunken carousing. … Add to this, many of them go armed and are extremely chivalrous in the defence of their honor and their Liege Ladies. A few more such scenes as last Sunday and we should not wonder at seeing them attempt to turn the tables on the American race.” Choctaw Intelligencer, October 2, 1850, p. 2, col. 1.

[8] Ibid., p. 3, col. 1.

[9] Choctaw Intelligencer, September 17, 1851, p. 1, col. 5.

[10] Ibid.

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