I was first introduced to H.L. Mencken by a Jewish friend when I was in my 20’s. I’ve been hooked ever since. Times have changed a lot since then and the Republic is no more. But even so, there once was a time in this country when the press wasn’t controlled and paid to spit out propaganda. For one brief shining moment, it published freely, unfettered by dictate from the government or the mob.
This man lived on the edge of that time. His wit, his intellectual ability to think outside the box of events, the people and their culture, taking place around him then, would by today’s intellectually fascist standard, fuzzily defined as political correctness by Bill Clinton back in 1990, will not be welcome by those of the strictly herd mentality of today. some of which sit, sadly to say, at Amazon today deleting reviews and comments from like-minded individuals, who will call a spade a spade rather than lie or gloss over their own opinions. I take no pleasure in saying that. In fact, it vexes me deeply, but it is an opinion that has become quite apparent to me when reading book reviews and their comment threads. And it smacks of the dictatorship behind political correctness. I would much rather read what someone actually thought, than what any apparatchik anywhere thinks anyone should say, imply or convey. And no, I’m not talking about name calling. But with the loss of freedom of the press, it only follows that those who value it, lose our freedom of speech as well.
If you’re someone who also appreciates hearing someone’s unvarnished opinion, has a sense of humour towards your culture, yourself, religion, and doesn’t think the government and politicians are the greatest things since sliced bread, you will find reading this book to be a breath of much needed fresh air from today’s stifling, politically correct pollution that passes for informative commentary and opinion.
These are the most valuable, interesting and refreshing aspects of reading H.L. Mencken IMHO and why I give this book 5 stars. He spoke his unvarnished opinion, as did many others of his time. It’s what made people real and news and events informative, not glossed over. And they were allowed to have different opinions. They didn’t have to tow the line of the opinion of the editor or the owner of the newspaper to keep their job.
This is a keeper.