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    Chapter 35

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    Chapter 35
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    The first thing I did on Sunday morning was to pick up the "Western City Times," to see what it had done to Carpenter. I found that he had achieved the front page, triple column, with streamer head all the way across the page:

    PROPHET IN TOWN, HEALS SICK, RAVES AT RICH AMERICA IS MOBLAND, ALLEGED IN RED RIOT OF TALK

    There followed a half page story about Carpenter's strenuous day in Western City, beginning with a "Bolshevik stump speech" to a mob of striking tailors. It appears that the prophet had gone to the Hebrew quarter of the city, and finding a woman railing at a butcher because of "alleged extortion," had begun a speech, inciting a mob, so that the police reserves had to be called out, and a riot was narrowly averted. From there the prophet had gone to the Labor Temple, announcing himself to the reporters as "fresh from God," with a message to "Mobland," his name for what he prophesied America would be under his rule. He had then healed a sick boy, the performance being carefully staged in front of moving picture cameras. The account of the "Times" did not directly charge that the performance was a "movie stunt," but it described it in a mocking way which made it obviously that. The paper mentioned T-S in such a way as to indicate him as the originator of the scheme, and it had fun with Mary Magna, pawning her paste jewels. It published the flash-light picture, and also a picture of Carpenter walking down the street, trailed by his mob.

    In another column was the climax, the "red riot of talk" at Grant Hall. James, the striking carpenter, had indulged in virulent and semi-insane abuse of the rich; after which the new prophet had stirred the mob to worse frenzies. The "Times" quoted sample sentences, such as: "Do not think that I am come to bring you ease and comfort; I am come to bring strife and disorder to this world."

    I turned to the editorial page, and there was a double-column leader, made extra impressive by leads. "AN INFAMOUS BLASPHEMY," was the heading. Perhaps you have a "Times" in your own city; if so, you will no doubt recognize the standard style:

    "For many years this newspaper has been pointing out to the people of Western City the accumulating evidence that the men who manipulate the forces of organized labor are Anarchists at heart, plotting to let loose the torch of red revolution over this fair land. We have clearly showed their nefarious purpose to overthrow the Statue of Liberty and set up in its place the Dictatorship of the Walking Delegate. But, evil as we thought them, we were naive enough to give them credit for an elemental sense of decency. Even though they had no respect for the works of man, we thought at least they would spare the works of God, the most sacred symbols of divine revelation to suffering humanity. But yesterday there occurred in this city a performance which for shameless insolence and blasphemous perversion exceeds anything but the wildest flight of a devil's imagination, and reveals the bosses of the Labor Trust as wanton defilers of everything that decent people hold precious and holy.

    "What was the spectacle? A moving picture producer, moved by blind, and we trust unthinking lust for gain, produces in our midst an alleged 'prophet,' dressed in a costume elaborately contrived to imitate and suggest a Sacred Presence which our respect for religion forbids us to name; he brings this vile, perverted creature forward, announcing himself to the newspapers as 'fresh from God,' and mouthing phrases of social greed and jealousy with which for the past few years the Hun-agents and Hun-lovers in our midst have made us only too sickenly familiar. This monstrous parody of divine compassion is escorted to that headquarters of Pro-Germanism and red revolution, the Labor Temple, and there performs, in the presence of moving picture cameras, a grotesque parody upon the laying on of hands and the healing of the sick. The 'Times' presents a photograph of this incredible infamy. We apologize to our readers for thus aiding the designs of cunning publicity-seekers, but there is no other way to make clear to the public the gross affront to decency which has been perpetrated, and the further affronts which are being planned. This appears to be a scheme for making a moving picture 'star'; this 'Carpenter'--note the silly pun--is to become the latest sensation in million dollar movie dolls, and the American public is to be invited to pay money to witness a story of sacred things played by a real 'prophet' and worker of 'miracles'!"

    "But the worst has yet to be told. The masters of the Labor Trust, not to be outdone in bidding for unholy notoriety, had the insolence to invite this blasphemous charlatan to their riot of revolutionary ranting called a 'protest meeting.' He and other creatures of his ilk, summoning the forces which are organizing red ruin in our city, proceed to rave at the police and the courts for denying to mobs of strikers the right to throw brickbats at honest workers looking for jobs, and to hold the pistol of the boycott at the heads of employers who dare to stand for American liberty and democracy! We have heard much mouthing of class venom and hate in this community, but never have our ears been affronted by anything so unpardonable as this disguising of the doctrine of Lenin and Trotsky in the robes of Christian revelation. This 'prophet fresh from God,' as he styles himself, is a man of peace and brotherly love--oh, yes, of course! We know these wolves in sheeps' clothing, these pacifists and lovers of man with the gold of the Red International in their pockets, and slavering from their tongues the fine phrases of idealism which conveniently protect them from the strong hand of the law! We have seen their bloody work for four years in Russia, and we tell them that if they expect to prepare the confiscation of property and the nationalization of women in this country while disguising themselves in moving picture imitations of religion, they are grossly underestimating the intelligence of the red-blooded citizens of this great republic. We shall be much mistaken if the order-loving and patriotic people of our Christian community do not find a way to stamp their heel upon this vile viper before its venom shall have poisoned the air we breathe."
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