Monday, May 18, 2009

Some Wonderfully Cynical Quotes from H. L. Mencken

Via an e-mail correspondent:
A celebrity is one who is known to many persons he is glad he doesn’t know.

A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.

A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers.

All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it.

An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.

Any man who afflicts the human race with ideas must be prepared to see them misunderstood.

Conscience is a mother-in-law whose visit never ends.

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

For centuries, theologians have been explaining the unknowable in terms of the-not-worth-knowing.

Injustice is relatively easy to bear; what stings is justice.

Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.

Misogynist: A man who hates women as much as women hate one another.

Platitude: an idea (a) that is admitted to be true by everyone, and (b) that is not true.

Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.

Say what you will about the Ten Commandments, you must always come back to the pleasant fact that there are only ten of them.

The chief value of money lies in the fact that one lives in a world in which it is overestimated.

And finally, two for this Age of Obama:
In the United States, doing good has come to be, like patriotism, a favorite device of persons with something to sell.

The demagogue is one who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.
And McAdams’ corollary to the above:
Sometimes the idiots outvote the sensible people.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Brian said...

Did you invent, "the two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and incompetence"? You once said it in a blog post and I quote it constantly.

4:36 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

Brian,

No, a fellow named Dave Stager (who was frequently in JFK assassination discussions on Compuserve and on the Internet) did that.

11:52 AM  

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