" Unless wicked ideas take root in a naturally depraved mind, human nature, in a right and wholesome state, revolts at crime. Still, from an artificial civilization have originated wants, vices, and false tastes, which occasionally become so powerful as to ... lead us into guilt and wickedness. "
Alexandre Dumas

Back in the day


UK Court Finds Gay News and Its Editor Guilty of Blasphemy

The June 3, 1976, issue of the British newspaper Gay News included James Kirkup's poem "The Love that Dares to Speak Its Name," which depicts Jesus as a homosexual. Mary Whitehouse—a media watchdog known for her "Clean Up TV" campaign—described the poem as a "blasphemous libel" and sought charges against Gay News and its publisher, Denis Lemon. On July 11, 1977, a jury found Lemon guilty, and his later appeal to the House of Lords was unsuccessful. What was Lemon's sentence?



St. Isidore

In the 4th and 5th centuries, Gothic invaders terrorized the Roman Empire, sacking Rome and establishing a Gothic kingdom in Spain. St. Isidore, archbishop of Seville, set out to convert the various peoples of the Gothic Empire to Christianity, eventually eradicating the Visigoths' religion of Arianism. Later hailed by the Church as "the most learned man of the latter ages," Isidore was the first Christian writer to compose a compendium of universal religious knowledge. What was it called?

Born on a day like today


Elwyn Brooks "E. B." White

After starting his writing career as a reporter, White settled in New York and became known for his impeccable prose style as a contributing editor of New Yorker magazine. Talented in diverse genres, he collaborated with James Thurber on satire, wrote the classic children's books Stuart Little and Charlotte's Web, and revised William Strunk Jr.'s grammar and composition text The Elements of Style, which became a definitive writing guide. How did White know Strunk?

Last updated on Thursday, 11th July 2013

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