Last Week with H. L. Mencken (Jan. 27, 2023 edition)

January 22 — Anthony J. DeBlasi on the intelligence of the American public: “H. L. Mencken had something to say about terminal dumbing, back in 1920, that makes me wonder if he was joking: ‘As democracy is perfected,’ he said, ‘the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. 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.’”

January 22 — from the funniest quotes of the week: “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.”

January 23 — DeWayne Wickham on Governor Wes Moore: “It’s talk like that, were he alive today, that might make H.L. Mencken — Baltimore’s 20th-century iconoclastic journalist — take back his criticism that, ‘A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.’”

January 25 — Reflection question on Psalm 73: “‘Humorist H. L. Mencken reportedly said (an exact source is hard to find) something like “in America, contentment is making $10 a month more than your brother-in-law.’ In Psalm 73, it was ‘the prosperity of the wicked’ that nearly destroyed faith in God. But envy can even strike when we look at other believers (see Mark 10:35-41). Whose prospects, possessions, or position do you envy? If you examine the thoughts behind the envy, are they accurate?”

January 24 — Thoughts for the week from Larry Moses: “I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible to any public office of trust or profit in the Republic.”

January 25 — Mencken quoted in a good story on Baltimore’s Union Station: “’That such a vast Union Station is needed is, of course, sheer nonsense,’ wrote H.L. Mencken in a 1928 Evening Sun. ‘I can recall only three or four occasions when it was uncomfortably crowded—and then it was crowded, not by passengers, but by idlers horning in to gape at [Calvin] Coolidge, or Jack Dempsey, or the Prince of Wales, or some other such magnifico.’”

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