Saturday, February 11, 2017


Our purpose, of course, has not been altruistic.  We are surely not uplifters, either as critics or as editors.  We have run our magazine as we have written our books - primarily to please ourselves, and secondarily to entertain those Americans who happen, in general, to be of our minds.  We differ radically in many ways.  For example Nathan is greatly amused by the theater, even when it is bad, whereas I regard it as a bore, even when it is good.  Contrariwise, I am much interested in politics, whereas Nathan scarcely knows who is Vice-President of the United States.  But on certain fundamentals we are thoroughly agreed, and it is on the plane of these fundamentals that we conduct the Smart Set, and try to interest a small minority of Americans.  Both of us are against the sentimental, the obvious, the trite, the maudlin.  Both of us are opposed to all such ideas as come from the mob, and are polluted by stupidity:  Puritanism, Prohibition, Comstockery, evangelical Christianity, tin-pot patriotism, the whole sham of democracy.  Both of us are against socialism and in favor of capitalism, believe that capitalism in the United States is ignorant, disreputable, and degraded, and that its heroes are bounders.

-H. L. Mencken, as culled from D. G. Hart's  Damning Words:  the life and religious times of H. L. Mencken

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