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

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