NEW: The excerpt is from my “Remembering H. L. Mencken,” at Chronicles magazine.
H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) may no longer seem relevant, but that is not his fault. Mencken was a well-read bon vivant with a taste for Teutonic philosophy and a fidelity to what he understood as truth. He was also a brilliant satirist, a longtime writer for the Baltimore Sun, and editor
of The American Mercury. His facility with the English idiom and grasp of intellectual history are unsurpassed. How can an aristocratic individualist like Mencken appeal to an age which makes idols out of equality and “democracy”?
He can’t and shouldn’t.
Henry Louis Mencken was a contrarian polemicist and consummate critic, who wrote prolifically and prodigiously from 1899 until 1948. It is inconceivable that he would appeal to our bumper crops of humorless, dour social justice warriors. He couldn’t possibly resonate with those who are afraid to question received opinion, left and right, who cannot conjugate a verb correctly, use tenses, prepositions, and adjectives grammatically and creatively, or appreciate a clever turn of phrase.
How can Mencken, author of The American Language (1919), be relevant in an America that regards the rules of syntax as passé, politicizes and neuters pronouns, and employs “editors” who think nothing of letting mangled phrases and lumpen jargon spill onto the page like
gravy over a tablecloth? …
… READ ON. “Remembering H. L. Mencken” is at Chronicles magazine, now edited by paleoconservative thinker, my friend Paul Gottfried.
Haven’t yet read this, but my guess is that American Conservative didn’t cite our