Tuesday, September 12, 2006
A carnival of buncombe
Today, all over the world, people should drink a good beer and taste of a fine cigar (if they can stomach it) and celebrate the birthday of one Henry Louis Mencken, who was born on this day a mere one hundred and twenty six years ago.
Mr. Mencken was the original pundit, a journalistic beacon of the first half of the 20th century. He bore witness to presidents, trials, writers, and a plethora of various and sundry events, both as a journalist for the Baltimore Sun and as an individual marvelling at the peccadillos and proclivities of the modern man. He wrote on all manner of subjects, as the titles of his editorials suggest:
A Gang of Pecksniffs
On Being an American
Morals and the Moron
On Bald Heads
How Much Should a Woman Eat?
Mencken Tells How Magic Word "Beer" Brought the Cheers (and this from the 1932 Democratic Convention)
And so on, and so forth.
One of my great regrets in life was that I was born a bit too late to have known Menck. He was never politically correct, full of snark, and prejudicial of everyone in equal measure. Yet he had a way with words, an ability to speak the absolute truth with cynicism, humor and honesty.
"If, after I depart this vale, you ever remember me and have thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner, and wink your eye at some homely girl."