Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Checking in with Mencken..............
He explained that he lived in America for the same reason that people went to zoos.
Here the general average of intelligence, of knowledge, of
competence, of integrity, of self-respect, of honor is so low that
any man who knows his trade, does not fear ghosts, has read
fifty good books, and practices the common decencies stands
out as brilliantly as a wart on a bald head, and is thrown willy-
nilly into a meager and exclusive aristocracy. And here, more
than anywhere else that I know of have heard of , the daily
panorama of human existence, of private and communal folly -
the unending procession of governmental extortions and
chicaneries, of commercial brigandages and throat-slittings,
of theological buffooneries, of aesthetic ribaldries, of legal
swindles and harlotries, of miscellaneous rogueries, villainies,
imbecilities, grotesqueries, and extravagances - is so
inordinately gross and preposterous, so perfectly brought up
to the highest conceivable amperage, so steadily enriched
with an almost fabulous daring and originality, that only the
man who was born with a petrified diaphragm can fail to
laugh himself to sleep every night, and to wake every morning
with the eager, unflagging expectation of a Sunday-school
superintendent touring the Paris peep-shows.
-H. L. Mencken, as quoted in D. G. Hart's Damning Words: the life and religious times of H. L. Mencken