Ed Driscoll

The Only Cure for Contempt is Counter-Contempt

Roger Kimball wonders what H.L. Mencken would have thought of President Obama’s speech on Iraq this week:

An erudite reader, responding to my judgment that it was “one of the worst speeches in modern memory,”  sent along a bit of tonic abuse from H.L. Mencken on Warren G. Harding’s perfromance as a speaker: “It reminds me,” wrote Mencken:

“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 a dark abysm (I was about to write abcess!) 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.”

I thought it worth sharing Mencken’s little detonation with you. I have a feeling it will come in handy in the months ahead.

Mencken has also been quoted as saying, “The men the American public admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.”


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