It's Wednesday again, which means another installment of Shakespearean Imagination!
On this day in 1925, the infamous “Monkey Trial” began in Dayton, Tennessee, USA. John Thomas Scopes, a high school science teacher, was accused of teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution, in violation of a recent state law making it a crime to "teach any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals." William Jennings Bryan assisted in the prosecution, and Clarence Darrow agreed to represent the defence on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union. During the trial, the presiding judge ordered that the proceedings should be moved out onto the courthouse lawn amidst fears that the weight of the several thousand spectators to the trial might cause the courthouse floor to collapse. Darrow played to the crowd, humiliating Bryan and then, in a highly unorthodox move, asked the jury in his closing argument to return a guilty verdict so that the case could be appealed. Scopes was found guilty and given the minimum sentence of a $100 fine. In 1927, the verdict was overturned by the Tennessee Supreme Court on a technicality, but the core issue of the constitutionality of such a law remained unresolved until 1968, when the US Supreme Court overturned a similar Arkansas law, citing First Amendment rights to free speech.
When looking back at Darrow’s performance in the courtroom (and outside it), one might even say he catered to his audience. In honour of that, the word for today is:
- Provide (food, drink, entertainment), typically at social events and in a professional capacity.
- Provide what is needed or required, often in a specialised or niche fashion.
Synonyms: provide – supply – treat – indulge – serve
First seen in Shakespeare's As You Like It (written 1599 - 1600). The full text of the play may be found here.
If you’d like to read more about the “Monkey Trial,” you can do so here .