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Texas Topics Post by :carlillo Category :Essays Author :William Cowper Brann Date :July 2011 Read :5944

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Texas Topics

I note with unfeigned pleasure that, according to claims of Baylor University, it opens the present season with a larger contingent of students, male and female, than ever before. This proves that Texas Baptists are determined to support it at any sacrifice--that they believe it better that their daughters should be exposed to its historic dangers and their sons condemned to grow up in ignorance than that this manufactory of ministers and Magdalenes should be permitted to perish. It is to be devoutly hoped that the recent expose of Baylor's criminal carelessness will have a beneficial effort--that hence forth orphan girls will not be ravished on the premises of its president, and that fewer young lady students will be sent home enciente. The ICONOCLAST would like to see Baylor University, so called, become an honor to Texas instead of an educational eye-sore, would like to hear it spoken of with reverence instead of sneeringly referred to by men about town as worse than a harem. Probably Baylor has never been so bad as many imagined, that the joint-keepers in the Reservation have been mistaken in regarding it as a rival, that the number of female students sent away to conceal their shame has been exaggerated; still I imagine that both its morale and educational advantages are susceptible of considerable improvement. The ICONOCLAST desires to see Baylor a veritable pantechnicon of learning--at least a place where the careful student may acquire something really worth remembering--instead of a Dotheboys (and girls) hall, a Squeeritic graft to relieve simple Baptist folk of their hard-earned boodle by beludaling the brains of their bairns with mis-called education. Unfortunately there is more brazen quackery in our sectarian colleges than was every dreamed of by Cagliostro. The faculty of such institutions is usually composed of superficially educated people who know even less than is contained in the text-books. As a rule they are employed because they will serve at a beggarly price, but sometimes because their employers are themselves too ignorant to properly pass upon the qualifications of others. You cannot estimate a man's intellect by the length of his purse, by the amount of money he has made and saved; but it is quite safe to judge a man's skill in his vocation by the salary he can command. I am informed that there has never been a time when the salary of the president of Baylor University exceeded $2,000 per annum--about half that of a good whisky salesman or advertising solicitor for a second-class newspaper. If such be the salary of the president, what must be those of the "professors"? I imagine their salaries run from $40 a month up to that of a second assistant book-keeper in a fashionable livery-stable. Judging by the salaries which they are compelled to accept, I doubt if there be a member of the Baylor faculty, including the president, who could obtain the position of principal of any public high school in the state. People cannot impart information which they do not possess; hence it is that the graduates of Baylor have not been really educated, but rather what the erstwhile Mr. Shakespeare would call "clapper-clawed." There is no reason, however, why the institution should be in the future so intellectually and morally unprofitable as in the past. Change is the order of the universe, and as Baylor cannot very well become worse it must of necessity become better. It will have the unswerving support of the ICONOCLAST in every effort to place itself upon a higher educational plane, to honestly earn the money it pockets as tuition fees. I am even willing to conduct a night school free of charge during three months in the year for the instruction of its faculty if each member thereof will give bond not to seek a better paying situation elsewhere as soon as he learns something. In any event, when Baylor can send me a valedictorian fresh from its walls who is better informed than the average graduate of our public schools, I'll give it a thousand dollars as evidence of my regard, and half as much annually thereafter to encourage it in the pursuit of common sense.

. . .

I greatly regret that my Baptist brethren, Drs. Hayden and Cranfill, Burleson and Carroll, should have gotten into a spiteful and un-Christian snarl over so pitiful a thing as Baylor's $2,000 presidency--that they should give to the world such a flagrant imitation of a lot of cut-throat unregenerates out for the long green. If one-half that Hayden and Cranfill are saying about each other in their respective papers be true--that I presume that it is--then both ought to be in the penitientiary. Brethren, please to remember that ye are posing as guardians of morals, as examples for mankind--as people out of whom the original sin has been soaked in the Baptist pool and whose paps are filled to the bursting point with the milk of human kindness. If you must fight and scratch like a brace of Kilkenny cats, why the hell don't you sneak quietly into the woods and fight it out instead of exhibiting your blatant jackasserie to the simple people of Dallas and McLennan counties and thereby bringing our blessed church into contempt! Gadzooks! if you splenetic-hearted old duffers don't sand your hands and take a fresh grip on your Christian charity I'll resign my position as chief priest of the Baptist church and become a Mormon elder. I'll just be cofferdamned if I propose to remain at the head of a church whose educators, preachers and editors are forever hacking away at each other's goozle with a hand-ax and slinging slime like a lot of colored courtesans.

. . .

Our little boiler-plate contemporary, the Austin Statesman, prints a court docket containing 69 divorce cases--side by side with 12 church notices. Which is cause and which effect I will not assume to say; but Austin is headquarters for camp-meetings--and every neurologists endorsed the ICONOCLAST'S theory that emotional religion is a terrible strain on the Seventh Commandment.

. . .

"Our heroic young," etc., etc., announces himself a candidate for the United States Senate to succeed Roger Q. Mills. The young man's modesty is really monumental. Having succeeded by all manner of petty chicanery in capturing the governorship, I am surprised that he isn't seeking the job of Jehovah. Displacing Mills with Culberson were much like substituting a Chinese joss for the Apollo Belvedere or an itch bacillus for a bull-elephant. I really cannot consent that the little fellow be sent to Washington lest some hurdy gurdy man should swipe him. Chawles says: "Next spring and summer I shall canvas the state thoroughly, presenting my views of public questions to the people." Which is to say that while we are paying him a good stiff salary for doing his little best to discharge the duties of one office, he will "canvas the state thoroughly" chasing another. If he attempts to perpetuate such a brazen swindle on the tax-payers of Texas, I'll camp on his trail to some extent, and see that he has a hot time in at least a few old towns. I cannot afford to trail him at my own expense all spring and summer, while he's cavorting around on free passes and drawing $11 a day from the public purse for unrendered services; but I'll trump his card in all the large Texas towns as quick as it strikes the table. I'm getting dead rotten tired of helping pay the salaries of Texas officials for time devoted to fence-building, and it will afford me considerable SATISFACTION to place this cold-blooded little ward on the body politic properly before the people. The duties of the governor's office were supposed to be so onerous that a board of pardons was created at the tax-payers' expense to lighten his labors; yet Mr. Culberson proposed to spend the spring and summer, not in a reasonable effort to earn his salary, but in explaining why he should be sent to the senate. Coming before us thus self-evidently unfaithful over a few things, this "heroic young Christian" poker-player and red-light habitue has the supernal gall to ask us to make him lord over many things,--to accord him political promotion for dereliction of duty! In the name of Balaam's she-ass, does this snub-nosed little snipe suppose that we are all hopeless idiots? You are the state's hired hand, Charlie boy--duly employed to remain at Austin and display your anserine ignorance in the governor's office. The people don't care two whoops in hades what your "opinions" may be on any subject within the purview of the United States Senate. If you want to spend the "spring and summer" rainbow chasing, a proper sense of duty to your employers, even a slight conception of commercial honor, would induce you to resign your present position. If you are destitute of both honor and decency you will probably campaign at our expense as you have promised; but I opine that I can pour enough hot shot under your little shirt-tails in a few engagements to drive you back to your duty, and that you will go in a gallop. What the devil do you suppose that Texans want with a two- faced little icicle like yourself in the United States Senate? What taxpayer has asked you to become a candidate? Despite all your wire-pulling, your trading and self-seeking, and the further fact that you are employing the state machinery to strengthen your pull, you really stand no more show of succeeding Roger Q. Mills than you do of succeeding the Czar of Russia. You have managed to get thus far, not on your own merits, but solely because you are "Old Dave" Culberson's son. Yours is simply a case of magni nominis umbra, and the umbra is getting deuced thin at the edges, is no longer capable of concealing the ass. For many years past we have been paying men fat salaries for gadding about the country exploiting their supposed "opinions." It is high time we put an end to such idiocy, and I have selected you, as probably the worst specimen of these political malefactors, of which to make an example in the interest of honesty.

. . .

A correspondent writes me from Nacogdoches, Texas: "The Baptists of this town have forced your agent to promise to discontinue selling the ICONOCLAST under penalty of expulsion from the church." That's all right; having purchased and paid for a Baptist ticket to the heavenly henceforth, he doesn't want to be bounced from the boat. Being thrown overboard in a canal two feet wide and four feet deep is not so bad by itself considered, but contumacious recalcitrants are invariable boycotted in business by the hydrocephalous sect which boasts that it was the first to establish liberty of conscience and freedom of speech in this country, yet which has been striving desperately for a hundred years to banish the last vestige of individuality and transform this nation into a pharisaical theocracy with some priorient hypocrite as its heierach. The ICONOCLAST is in its seventh volume and has never yet been caught in a falsehood or published an unclean advertisement. I am proud to say that no honest man or virtuous woman was ever its enemy, but that holy hypocrites and sanctified harlots regard it with the same aversion that a pickpocket does a policeman. Yes; the action of the Baptists of Nacogdoches was perfectly natural. What they want is a paper that will afford them a charming mixture of camp-meeting notices and syphilitic nostrums, prayer-meetings and abortion pills, Prohibition rallies and lost manhood restorers. I cheerfully recommend the Baptist Standard to their kindly consideration.

. . .

When J. S. Hogg was governor of Texas he compelled the Southern Pacific road to move a train-load of Coxey-ites, whom it had, carried in from California and side tracked west of San Antonio to starve. As counsel for that impudent corporation--whose officials seem to have been formed of the quintessential extract of the exerementitious matter of the whole earth--he now makes a "compromise" with the Culberson crew whereby it is some $975,000 IN and the state that much OUT. James Stephen can scarce be blamed for securing every possible advantage for his client, even tho' it be such a notorious criminal as the "Sunset"; but had he been attorney for the state instead of for the corporation there would have been no compounding of a felony "for the good of the people," no sacrifice of both dignity and dollars. It is amusing to see Culberson and Crane making a house of refuge of the coat tails of Reagan. "He approved it! he approved it!" Of course he approved it--Attorney General Crane "not having time during his term of office to prosecute all the cases." But he'll "have time" just as hard to spend half of next year chasing the governorship on time paid for by the people. Reagan was compelled to accept the compromise because the Culbersonian crew were too busy office-chasing to prosecute the corporation. If the Culbersonian crowd lined their pockets by that compromise they are a set of thieves; if they didn't line their pockets they simply suffered the corporation to play 'em for a pack of damphools. As neither a thief nor a fool is fit to hold a public office, I move that we build a large zinc-lined political coffin and bury the whole crowd.

. . .

The St. Louis Mirror, the brightest weekly in the world, recently had a remarkably interesting article on Texas politics; but somehow it suggested to my mind that German metaphysician who, having never seen a lion or read a description of one, undertook to evolve a correct idea of the king of beasts from his own inner consciousness.

. . .

It were interesting to know what kind of a swindle W. L. Moody & Co. have in soak this season for the guileless cotton grower. I have provided this office with a car-load of nickel-plated tear-jugs for the benefit of cotton men who will call later to tell me their troubles. My idea is to build a condenser, start a wholesale salt store and supply Baptist dipping-tanks with water free of wiggletails. Say! There's millions in it. Col. Mulberry Seller's eye-water enterprise were as nothing to my graft when I get it agoing.

. . .

I note that the Wrong-Reverend E. H. Harman, formerly presiding elder of the Methodist church at Brenham, but given the grand bounce for getting too gay at Galveston, where, in company with another sanctified ministerial hypocrite named Wimberly, he had "a hot time in the old town," with hacks, harlots and barrel-house booze, has been converted to the Christian (or Campbellite) faith and proposes to preach. Possibly his conversion is genuine; but it is worthy of remark that he saw nothing attractive in the Christian cult until no longer allowed to occupy a Methodist pulpit--until reduced to the necessity of either seeking a job in a new corner of the Lord's vineyard or taking a fall out of the lowly cotton patch. He ought to make an excellent running mate for the "Rev." Granville Jones, the poorty preacher who puts his picture on his evangelical guttersnipes to show the people how a holy man of God looks after confessing to having forged a letter derogatory to a poor motherless working girl's reputation. As my father is a Christian preacher I feel I have a right to protest against his being placed on a clerical parity with bilkers of hack bills and crapulous associates of two-for-a-penny prostitutes. If Harman attempts to defile the Christian pulpit with his presence, I hope to the good Lord that the decent members of that denomination will tie him across a nine-rail fence and enhance the torridity of his rear elevation with a vigorous application of pine plank.


(The end)
William Cowper Brann's essay: Texas Topics

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