Rare Recording of Controversialist, Journalist and American Literary & Social Critic, H.L. Mencken


Click anywhere to listen to interview.

Quotes from the interview (don’t read if you want the pleasure of first hearing them from the proverbial horses mouth):

“So called experts are just ordinary men at bottom.”
– H.L. Mencken

“I think beer is a cheap and excellent drink.”
– H.L. Mencken

“The reporter with literary ambitions is one that I always respected.”
– H.L. Mencken

“In my time, a press agent was looked on as a loathsome creature. Nobody paid any attention to him and there was a rule on the [Baltimore] Sun for many years that if a man ever became a press agent he never could come back to the Sun…The thing that distresses me about press agentry [and PR] is a simple one: I have seen so many good men become press agents of one kind or other, and there’s a subtle corruption of their minds that they never get over, they simply can’t recover from that horror they’re engaged in. If they’re a good journalist – some of ’em are, remember the worst men men didn’t become press agents, but often the best – and, oh, they know deep in their hearts that the thing is not a dignified trade and they rationalize their necessities in one way or other, but they don’t rationalize them enough to get rid of them.”
– H.L. Mencken

“I think [television] is a curse to newspapers and I wish it could be separated from them. I am sorry that the Federal Communications Commission did not prohibit ownership of radio stations [or TV stations] by newspapers. I don’t think it’s a good thing, in a public sense, for any one agency to control rival news sources. They ought to be kept separate and in active rivalry. That’s one objection to it. Secondly, human nature being what it is, as soon as a television or any kind of radio enterprise gets into a newspaper, an enormous number of men – including some of the best men – become radio crooners, not newspaper men, actors. They get stage struck in brief, that’s the truth, and it shows in the newspaper instantly. The way for newspapers to meet the competition of radio and television is simply to get out better newspapers. They can always keep miles ahead of these other agencies which haven’t the machinery for doing what newspapers can do. Newspapers ought to print better papers. They’re going downhill and anytime you find a newspaper that’s got a radio department, you’ll find a newspaper deteriorating.”
– H.L. Mencken

“…[A] fine restaurant…is one of the greatest of all human enterprises, one of the most socially useful things. A man that runs a good eating house is a valuable citizen.”
– H.L. Mencken

Click anywhere above to listen to the interview and get more links

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