H. L. Mencken

H. L. Mencken

Henry Louis Mencken (September 12, 1880 – January 29, 1956) was an American journalist, satirist, cultural critic and scholar of American English. Known as the "Sage of Baltimore", he is regarded as one of the most influential American writers and prose stylists of the first half of the twentieth century.

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No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.

Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.

The cynics are right nine times out of ten.

Life is a constant oscillation between the sharp horns of dilemmas.

Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage.

The theory seems to be that as long as a man is a failure he is one of God's children but that as soon as he succeeds he is taken over by the Devil.

There is a saying in Baltimore that crabs may be prepared in fifty ways and that all of them are good.

It is impossible to imagine Goethe or Beethoven being good at billiards or golf.

When a new source of taxation is found it never means in practice that the old source is abandoned. It merely means that the politicians have two ways of milking the taxpayer where they had one before.

A national political campaign is better than the best circus ever heard of with a mass baptism and a couple of hangings thrown in.

It is now quite lawful for a Catholic woman to avoid pregnancy by a resort to mathematics though she is still forbidden to resort to physics or chemistry.

Man weeps to think that he will die so soon, woman that she was born so long ago.

Nevertheless it is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man.

To die for an idea, it is unquestionably noble. But how much nobler it would be if men died for ideas that were true!

We are here and it is now. Further than that all human knowledge is moonshine.

Nine times out of ten in the arts as in life there is actually no truth to be discovered, there is only error to be exposed.

In the duel of sex, woman fights from a dreadnought and man from an open raft.

The penalty for laughing in a courtroom is six months in jail, if it were not for this penalty the jury would never hear the evidence.

Legend: A lie that has attained the dignity of age.

No man ever quite believes in any other man. One may believe in an idea absolutely but not in a man.

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