H L Mencken

A great and funny writer. I recommend his Chrestomathy as a great intro.

Not necessarily a nice person. 2003-01-30-HLMenckenBio

Covered the Scopes Monkey Trial (the basis for the play/movie "InheritTheWind"). Those essays , and his obit for William Jennings Bryan are classic.

http://www.mencken.org/

http://www.io.com/~gibbonsb/mencken.html

http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/mencken.htm

Public Domain books:

Great essay about Mark Twain.

In the story "The BumsChristmas": * Despite all the snorting against them in works of divinity, it has always been my experience that infidels--or Free Thinker-s, as they usually prefer to call themselves--are a generally estimable class of men, with strong overtones of the benevolent and even of the sentimental... Fred was determined, he said, to give a party that would be devoid of all the blemishes of the similar parties staged by the Salvation Army, the mission helpers, and other such nefarious outfits... Fred leaned forward eagerly, curious to hear what their next selection would be. He found out at once. It was "Are You Ready for the Judgment Day?," the prime favorite of the period in all the sailors' bethels, helping-up missions, Salvation Army bum traps, and other such joints along the waterfront. Fred's horror and amazement and sense of insult were so vast that he was completely speechless, and all I heard out of him while the singing went on was a series of sepulchral groans. The man was plainly suffering cruelly, but what could I do? What, indeed, could anyone do?*

His translation into "American" of the Declaration Of Independence. All we got to say on this proposition is this: first, me and you is as good as anybody else, and maybe a damn sight better; second, nobody ain't got no right to take away none of our rights; third, every man has got a right to live, to come and go as he pleases, and to have a good time whichever way he likes, so long as he don't interfere with nobody else. That any government that don't give a man them rights ain't worth a damn; also, people ought to choose the kind of government they want themselves, and nobody else ought to have no say in the matter. That whenever any government don't do this, then the people have got a right to give it the bum's rush and put in one that will take care of their interests.

And his US Constitution for the New Deal: We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish social justice, draw the fangs of privilege, effect the redistribution of property, remove the burden of liberty from ourselves and our posterity, and insure the continuance of the New Deal, do ordain and establish this Constitution... All governmental power of whatever sort shall be vested in a President of the United States.


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