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Posts tagged "Irvin S. Cobb"

PZ's Podcast: Without Which Not

PZ’s Podcast: Without Which Not

EPISODE 178: Without Which Not

The social-media fracas concerning General Seminary in New York is revealing. It has shown how far ideology can go in conceptualizing one’s enemies. It’s kept me thinking about the French Revolution. Everybody got further and further (and further) extreme until even the most thorough “liberal” was branded a reactionary. Off with his head! And so it did. Get cut off, I mean.

Where I find hope is a no-brainer in my world, tho’ maybe a stretch in yours. I find hope in a story by Irvin S. Cobb, entitled “Ex-Fightin’ Billy”. Cobb, that old Kentuckian, portrays the…

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The First Three Lessons for the Virtuous Raleigh W. Hayes

The First Three Lessons for the Virtuous Raleigh W. Hayes

As you’ll see in our summer issue of The Mockingbird, Michael Malone’s Handling Sin is belatedly perched upon the book shelf here at HQ. It’s a shame the 1983 novel (even taking place in the Piedmont, for crying out loud!), took this long to find us, because not since Wilder’s Theophilus North, or Cobb’s Old Judge Priest, have I had a copy so dogeared and underlined I’ve stopped doing so halfway through. And, much like the other two, it’s incredibly summer-friendly–my pages now smell like some mixture of coastal seaweed and SPF 30–and the 700-page journey ends faster than your…

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PZ's Desert Island Discs (But This Time It's Books!)

PZ’s Desert Island Discs (But This Time It’s Books!)

I’m just now beginning to emerge from two years of living in the desert, the howling waste of inwardness that is caused by the box canyon of life.

I’m coming out of it.

In addition to the New Testament, ten books, in particular, have proven sustaining to me in the wilderness. If you read Mockingbird, many of them will be familiar to you. But I wanted to list them here, in one place, for the readers and supporters of Mockingbird, in hopes of their being useful to you. “For you the living, this Mash was meant, too.”

Each work, and three of them…

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PZ's Podcast: "Unknown, And Yet Well Known" (II Cor 6:9)

PZ’s Podcast: “Unknown, And Yet Well Known” (II Cor 6:9)


Why this endless Easter Parade of unknown authors? Why this ‘Great Trek’ through ranks of old writers whom no one’s ever heard of today?

Well, there’s a reason for it. Here’s the reason: Popular philosophers and writers in every age touch a chord with the culture that surrounds them. They tap into something pre-existing in the world, sometimes close to term but not yet born, which comes alive at their word. David Foster Wallace could be an example of this, and maybe Jonathan Franzen. It’s as if these inspired people have dog-whistles to the ‘dog world’ of humans, which seems…

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PZ's Podcast: The Gothic

PZ’s Podcast: The Gothic


I’ve been thinking about this subject for 50 years, but only recently I think a little light has dawned.

In other words, I begin to understand now, in my head, what my ten-year-old Celine-Dion heart understood right from the beginning.

We’re talking about the Gothic, the “Gothic” strain in literature and movies — the spell cast by the Gothic on all who behold it with unveiled face.

What is the Gothic? Quoting The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales: “A Gothic tale will invoke the tyranny of the past (a family curse, the survival of archaic forms of despotism and of…

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Irvin S. Cobb's Exit Laughing

Irvin S. Cobb’s Exit Laughing

In 1941 Cobb published his autobiography Exit Laughing, which contained his mature thoughts on Christianity and the Bible, a number of which are wondrously expressed and very much worth sharing:

“… the work I read oftenest — a book which is in part authentic reporting but obviously in a greater degree purely apocryphal — is the Bible. I don’t mean all the Bible. I mean selected portions of it. Between these covers is my favorite compilation of splendid imaginative writings, my unapproachable budget of creative grandeur. For me the Book of…

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PZ's Podcast: Another Unread Author - But Wait! Hear Me Out

PZ’s Podcast: Another Unread Author – But Wait! Hear Me Out


I’ve written before about John Ford’s amazing 1953 movie The Sun Shines Bright, and have been showing that movie to people since the late 1970s. It’s not on DVD but a nice VHS copy does exist.

You can, however, order a DVD copy of Ford’s earlier Judge Priest, starring Will Rogers; as well as Ford’s Steamboat Round the Bend, which not only stars Will Rogers but features a certain power behind the throne: the popular writer Irvin S. Cobb.

Irvin S. Cobb (1876-1944) was a writer of short stories, chiefly for “The Saturday Evening Post”. He reigned…

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From Irvin S. Cobb & John Ford: Judge Priest Preaching in The Sun Shines Bright

From Irvin S. Cobb & John Ford: Judge Priest Preaching in The Sun Shines Bright

Here is a wonderful quote on preaching, from Irvin S. Cobb’s short story from 1914 entitled The Lord Provides. John Ford made this scene the climax of his 1953 masterpiece, The Sun Shines Bright. But the original, below, is purest Gospel, at least as I see it. Others of Cobb’s early-period short stories attain something close to this Christian power, but this — and there’s more to it than my excerpt — may be the high point.

At this point in the story, Judge William Pittman Priest has agreed to officiate and ‘say a few words’  at the…

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