Mencken's Pen

from COLD PIZZA FOR BREAKFAST

SPOKEN INTRODUCTION:

H. L. Mencken was born in Baltimore in 1880, died there in 1956,
and was the most influential American journalists during the first half of the 20th century.  
He continues to have an impact today.

Mencken was controversial and quite opinionated and some called him "The Barb Of Baltimore."  
Though he couldn't have known exactly who would be elected TWICE to the office of president
during the first decade of this century, listen to the words he wrote on July 26, 1920:

"As democracy is perfected, the office [of the president] represents,
more and more closely, the inner soul of the people.  
We move toward a lofty ideal.  
On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land
will reach their heart's desire at last,
and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."

H.L. Mencken wrote that
more than 80 years ago    
he understood more than we'll ever know
we think we're making progress
we better think again
when we read what was written by
H. L. Mencken's pen
Mencken's pen

A church is a place in which gentlemen who have never been to heaven
brag about it to persons who will never get there

A judge is a law student who marks his own exam papers

In the United States, doing good has come to be, like patriotism,
a favorite device of persons with something to sell

All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it.
I myself deny it.

Adultery is the application of democracy to love

Conscience is a mother-in-law whose visit never ends,
and the inner voice that warns us that someone might be looking

Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods

Never let your inferiors do you a favor -- it will be extremely costly

I believe in only one thing: liberty; but I do not believe in liberty enough to want to force it upon anyone

H.L. Mencken wrote that
more than 70 years ago
but the words still echo true although
we think we're making progress
we better think again
when we read what was written by
H. L. Mencken's pen
Mencken's pen

I never lecture, not because I am shy or a bad speaker,
but simply because I detest the sort of people who go to lectures
and I don't want to meet them

I never smoked a cigarette until I was nine

If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents,
he would promise them missionaries for dinner

Criticism is prejudice made plausible

It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth
when you know that you would lie if you were in his place

In war the heroes always outnumber the soldiers ten to one

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable

In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for;
as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican

H.L. Mencken wrote that
more than 60 years ago
got a kick out of tweaking the status quo
we think we're making progress
we better think again
when we read what was written by
H. L. Mencken's pen
Mencken's pen

A legend is a lie that has attained the dignity of age

As the arteries grow hard, the heart grows soft

Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence

Puritanism: the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy

The theory seems to be that as long as a man is a failure he is one of God's children,
but that as soon as he succeeds he is taken over by the Devil

Say what you will about the ten commandments,
you must always come back to the pleasant fact that there are only ten of them

Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance

War will never cease until babies begin to come into the world with larger cerebrums
and smaller adrenal glands

H.L. Mencken wrote that
more than 50 years ago
today it is still apropos
we think we're making progress
we better think again
when we read what was written by
H. L. Mencken's pen
Mencken's pen



Credits:

Christine Lavin:  guitar and vocal
Steve Doyle:  bass
Robin Batteau:  violin

Music by Christine Lavin
Words by H. L. Mencken from A MENCKEN CHRESTOMATHY, © 1916, 1918, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1924, 1926, 1927, 1932, 1934, 1942, 1949 by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
From MINORITY REPORT, © 1956 by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
From PREJUDICES: THIRD SERIES, © 1922 by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc., copyright renewed  1950 by H. L. Mencken.  Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
For on-line information about Random House, Inc. books and authors:  Random House

updated 4 years ago