Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Minority Report. HL Mencken. Significant Sentences 10

Significant sentences from HL Mencken's Minority Report, acerbic thoughts on American life and culture.

"The papers printed in the English Journal, the Proceedings of the Modern Language Association and similar periodicals seldom show any professional competence or contribute anything worth knowing to the subject. Would certainly be unusual to find any similar rubbish in a journal of chemistry, astronomy or zoology, or even in a medical journal." p. 122.

"The thirst for liberty does not seem to be natural to man; most people want security in this world, not liberty." p. 123.

"Liberty puts people on their own, and so exposes them to the natural consequences of their congenital stupidity and incompetence."

"Scratch the average American and you will find a Puritan." p. 125.

"All the leaders of groups tend to be frauds." p. 125.

"Of all the classes of men, I dislike most those who make their living by talking--actors, politicians, pedagogues, and so on." p. 126.

"...the applause of today was almost invariably followed by the indifference of tomorrow." p. 126.

"The critic challenges other men's work and is exposed to no comparable challenge of his own." p. 129.

"The human race has probably never produced a wholly admirable man." p. 130.

"A woman of the highest order of intelligence entering into the sciences, or into commerce or manufacturing, always finds herself subordinate to some man, and it not infrequently happens that he is her inferior on all...counts." p. 131.

"What is the function that a clergyman performs in the world? He gets his living by assuring idiots that he can save them from an imaginary hell." p. 132.

"A one who spends his whole life trying to prolong the lives of persons whose deaths, in nine cases out of ten, would be a public benefit." p. 132.

"Whenever a given school system turns out to be relatively rational and effective, no one remembers the school ma'ams who make it so, for all the credit and glory are hogged by the super-gogues at the head of it." p. 133.

"When another school system is discovered to be ineffective the blame is heaped on the school ma'ams, and the super-gogues proceed to supplant them with others trained in some new abracadabra." p. 133.

"On some bright tomorrow, so I hope and pray, someone will write a history of common sense." p. 133.

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