by Max Brantley
Some interesting feature articles in today's New York Times on people with Arkansas roots.
On the positive side, there's Al Bell. He's the Brinkley native, Bryant resident and former head of the legendary Stax Records who's subject of a sprawling profile for his work to reinvigorate the Memphis Music Foundation. It's a great story of a fascinating life -- fortunes made and lost -- full of song titles that will set you singing.
On the other side you'll find Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, evangelists preaching their prosperity gospel under increasing government scrutiny. Even in hard times, the hard-up pour millions into buckets for the Copelands hoping to be rewarded a hundred-fold by "God's stimulus package." The offerings finance the likes of fancy motorcycles and jets to wing the Copelands to their rural Arkansas retreat. (She's a native of Howard County.)