Finally, I am finishing reading this very entertaining and very pessimistic book. And the last 20% of the book is even more fun to read than the previous chapters. One funny thing about Mencken is that he is against all the major wars. He doesn’t like the Civil War and he thinks the South should be allowed to go independent; he doesn’t like the Revolutionary War either and he has one chapter about the Revolutionary War in which he lists all the reasons for his argument. The interesting thing is he also doesn’t think it is a good thing to remain in the Commonwealth. I guess he doesn’t want to support anything–the only thing he supports is his own complaint. And he is the best complainer. He is so funny that people would love to listen to his complaints all day long.
Here are some quotes from “Mencken Chrestomathy” by H.L. Mencken
Friendship is a common belief in the same fallacies, mountebanks and hobgoblins.
The chief value of money lies in the fact that one lives in a world in which it is overestimated.
Men are the only animals that devote themselves, day in and day out, to making one another unhappy. It is an art like any other.
Every failure teaches a man something, to wit, that he will probably fail again next time.
Hope is a pathological belief in the occurrence of the impossible.
Every man is his own hell.
Immortality is the condition of a dead man who doesn’t believe that he is dead.
A celebrity is one who is known to many persons he is glad he doesn’t know.
Morality is the theory that every human act must be either right or wrong, and that 99% of them are wrong.
The difference between a moral man and a man of honor is that the latter regrets a discreditable act, even when it has worked and he has not been caught.
Truth – Something somehow discreditable to someone.
Popularity – The capacity for listening sympathetically when men boast of their wives and women complain of their husbands.