H.L. Mencken

H.L. Mencken was a cranky, bedevilled curmudgeon in the fullest sense .  Here a few excerpts from a collection called ‘The vintage Mencken ‘ ( pub. Vintage – Random house ; 1955 )

The Author at work:

What keeps them from deserting it for trades that are less onerous , and , in the eyes of their fellow creatures , more respectable ? One reason, I believe , is that an author, like any other so-called artist , is a man in whom the normal vanity of all men is so vastly exaggerated that he finds it a sheer impossibility to hold it in. His overpowering impulse is to gyrate before his fellow men, flapping his wings and emitting defiant yells. This being forbidden by the police of all civilized countries , he takes it out by putting his yells on paper. Such is the thing called self-expression. ‘ (p.169)

 

The Y.M.C.A. and physical exercise:

All that the Y.M.C.A.’s horse and rings really accomplished was to fill me with an ineradicable taste , not only for Christian endeavor in all its forms, but also for every variety of callistehnics, so that I still begrudge the trifling exertion needed to climb in and out of a bathtub, and hate all the sports as rabidly as a person who likes sports hates common sense. If had my way no man guilty of golf would be eligible to any office of trust or profit under the United States , and all female athletes would be shipped to the white-slave corrals of the Argentine. ‘ (p.19)

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