H. L. Mencken

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patrace
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H. L. Mencken

Post by patrace » Wed May 21, 2008 7:32 pm

I found H.L. Mencken a few days ago while randomly reading a Wikipedia article about President Harding, his writing is like a thick creamery butter compared to the margarine spread across most pages. I don't agree with everything he says but I'm irresistibly drawn to his writing. I think it's his voice, attitude, candor, and flourish.
Although a commanding and powerful speaker, Harding was notorious for his verbal gaffes. His errors were compounded by his insistence on writing his own speeches. Although it might not have been a mispronunciation as some thought, Harding's most famous "mistake" was his use of the word "normalcy" when the more correct word to use at the time would have been "normality." Harding decided he liked the sound of the word and made "Return to Normalcy" a recurring theme.

Critic H.L. Mencken disagreed, saying of Harding, "He writes the worst English that I have ever encountered. It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it. It drags itself out of the dark abysm of pish, and crawls insanely up the topmost pinnacle of posh. It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash."
"An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup."
- H. L. Mencken

"The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom."
- H. L. Mencken
There are some audio books at archive.org if anyone is interested and a ton of print editions floating around.
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