The Press: Off-His Chest

"I find I still preach best," Pastor Edmund Wylie once said, "when the congregation is against me." His son, Author Philip Wylie, felt much the same way. As a slick-paper fictioneer and essayist (Generation of Vipers'), he had profitably entertained large congregations, often as not by insulting them. But as a newspaper columnist he had emptied the church. Off My Chest was a vitriolic series of sermons against clericalism, bigotry, and the worship of "Mom." Last week, after three years as a syndicated columnist, Philip Wylie admitted defeat:

"This is the last of my columns," he wrote. "A column is...

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