The perspicacious Mr. Mencken

September 13, 2014|By John E. McIntyre | The Baltimore Sun

I neglected to offer you anything from H.L. Mencken yesterday on his birthday. So today, I will let you judge for yourselves how much this passage from "On Being an American" (1922) rings true today:

"The United States, to my eye, is incomparably the greatest show on earth. It is a show which avoids diligently all the kinds of clowning which tire me most quickly--for example, royal ceremonials, the tedious hocus-pocus of haute politique, the taking of politics seriously--and lays chief stress upon the kinds which delight me unceasingly--for example, the ribald combats of demagogues, the exquisitely ingenious operations of master rogues, the pursuit of witches and heretics, the desperate struggles of inferior men to claw their way into Heaven."


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