They didn’t have blogs back in the day. They had speeches. They had theses. They had pamphlets. They had tracts. They had samizdat. To get to a lot of those documents you either have to choose a famous one — like I just did in that listing — or know how to operate a microfiche machine or just hang out in library archives. If you’re lucky, they are permanent — somewhere.
Blogs are more fleeting. There are more spelling errors, more goofy lolcat pictures, more viral videos. But they are more . . . present than any of the others. And more dangerous.
You probably don’t know who Ted Mercer is. The first time I heard about him was ~1993 when I was listening to my first graduate audition in the Division of Speech. A young man from Bryan College was applying for a graduate assistantship. And one of the senior, hoary-headed members of our faculty said to us all (something like), “Are we sure we should let him in? He is, after all, from Bryan.” Her words were pregnant with a mysterious and sinister meaning.
Now I was the youngest faculty member in this group. And . . . I’m a little bit clueless as I’ve said before. So, in typical fashion, I just asked earnestly, “What do you mean? What’s wrong with Bryan?” Another less-junior-than-I colleague nodded and agreed, “Yeah, I’d like to know too! I have no idea.” And the senior member just sighed and shook her head, disappointed with these children these days about how they know nothing of the past. . . . I think. I don’t know why she was sighing. But I never heard the details that day.
So I’m going to tell you the story. With the actual documents themselves. A friend just passed them along to me last night, and I stayed up too late reading them.
If Ted were alive today and had been fired from Bob Jones University, he’d have his own blog where he’d publish such things. But in 1953, all he had was a mimeograph machine and an address book. So let’s take a look. . . .