Hitchens is still turning out his weekly column for Slate. The latest, “God’s bigmouths,” takes on the sorry spectacle of Bishop Eddie Long, using him as an example of mendacious black preachers. And I swear, the column almost exactly duplicates the language and cadences of H. L. Mencken:
The easiest way to gain instant acceptance as a black “leader” these days is to shove the word Reverend in front of your name.
Or, if you are really greedy and ambitious, the word Bishop. Bishop Eddie Long of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Georgia preaches that Bayard Rustin was a vile sinner who suffered from the curable “disease” of homosexuality. I have a rule of thumb for such clerics and have never known it to fail: Set your watch and sit back, and pretty soon they will be found sprawling lustily on the floor of the men’s room. It may be a bit early to claim the scalp of Eddie Long for this collection, but I doubt I shall have to withdraw . . .
The day can’t be far off when Long follows the traditional script and starts to yowl for prayer and repentance. And this would all be the greatest fun if it didn’t also involve the degradation of the King family and the steady erosion of the real memory of the civil rights movement, which is not safe when left in the keeping of God’s bigmouths and tree-shakers.
Is that Mencken-esque or not?