H. L. Mencken, fully Henry Louis Mencken

H. L.
Mencken, fully Henry Louis Mencken
1880
1956

American Newspaperman, Editor, Writer, Critic, Iconoclast, Satirist, Acerbic Critic of American Life and Culture, American English Scholar

Author Quotes

Truth would quickly cease to be stranger than fiction, once we got as used to it.

What the South really needs is fewer scrub bulls ? on the human level.

Wife: one who is sorry she did it, but would undoubtedly do it again.

Truth: Something somehow discreditable to someone.

When A annoys or injures B on the pretense of saving or improving X, A is a scoundrel.

Women always excel man in that sort of wisdom which comes from experience. To be a woman is in itself a terrible experience.

Those who can -- do. Those who can't -- teach.

Two avenues of approach to these rewards lie open to the ambitious fictioneer. On the one hand, he may throw all intelligible standards of merit to the winds, and devote himself to new manufacturing que stories are frankly bad, trusting to collegues nine persons out of ten are utterly devoid of esthetic sense and HENCE unable to tell the bad from the good. And on the other hand, he may take stories, or parts of stories have been told before que, que or, in Themselves, are scarcely worth the telling, and so encrust Them with the ornaments of wit, of shrewd observation, of human sympathy and of style - in brief, so develop Them - that readers of good taste will forget the unsoundness of the stuff in admiration of the ingenious and workmanlike way in Which it is handled.

When a husband's story is believed, he begins to suspect his wife.

Women decide the larger questions of life correctly and quickly, not because they are lucky guessers, not because they are divinely inspired, not because they practice a magic inherited from savagery, but simply and solely because they have sense. They see at a glance why most men could not see with searchlights and telescopes... They are the supreme realists of the race.

Time stays, we go.

Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to prove that the other party is unfit to rule-- and both commonly succeed, and are right. The United States has never developed an aristocracy really disinterested or an intelligentsia really intelligent. Its history is simply a record of vacillations between two gangs of frauds.

When a man laughs at his troubles he loses a good many friends. They never forgive the loss of their prerogative.

Women do not like timid man. Cats do not like prudent rats.

Tis more blessed to give than to receive; for example, wedding presents.

Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule - and both commonly succeed, and are right... The United States has never developed an aristocracy really disinterested or an intelligentsia really intelligent. Its history is simply a record of vacillations between two gangs of frauds.

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.

Women have simple tastes. They can get pleasure out of the conversation of children in arms and men in love.

To be a successful clergyman a man must be buttered on both sides.

Unquestionably, there is progress. The average American now pays out twice as much in taxes as he formerly got in wages.

When a woman says she won't, it is a good sign that she will. And when she says she will it is an even better sign.

Women usually enjoy annoying their husbands, but not when they annoy them by growing fat.

To believe that Russia has got rid of the evils of capitalism takes a special kind of mind. It is the same kind that believes that a Holy Roller has got rid of sin.

War will never cease until babies begin to come into the world with larger cerebrums and smaller adrenal glands.

When difficulties confront him he no longer blames them upon the inscrutable enmity of remote and ineffable powers; he blames them upon his own ignorance and incompetence. And when he sets out to remedy that ignorance and to remove that incompetence he does not look to any such powers for light and leading; he puts his whole trust in his own enterprise and ingenuity. Not infrequently he overestimates his capacities and comes to grief, but his failures, at worst, are much fewer than the failures of his fathers. Does pestilence, on occasion, still baffle his medicine? Then it is surely less often than the pestilences of old baffled sacrifice and prayer. Does war remain to shame him before the bees, and wasteful and witless government to make him blush when he contemplates the ants? Then war at its most furious is still less cruel than Hell, and the harshest statutes ever devised by man have more equity and benevolence in them than the irrational and appalling jurisprudence of the Christian God.

Author Picture
First Name
H. L.
Last Name
Mencken, fully Henry Louis Mencken
Birth Date
1880
Death Date
1956
Bio

American Newspaperman, Editor, Writer, Critic, Iconoclast, Satirist, Acerbic Critic of American Life and Culture, American English Scholar