Sorely Missed

If only H. L. Mencken were with us today. We do have some gratifyingly caustic talents currently in harness, but when Mencken was feeling the warp-spasm he was incomparable. I have no doubt that Christopher Hitchens would go dry for a year just to have lunch with the man.

What Mencken would have to say about recent political and economic events will have to wait until we meet on the far bank of the river, but the acerbic conservative writer John Derbyshire has recently excerpted a pungent morsel that might give us some idea. Taken from the Chrestomathy, the passage imagines the hatching of the New Deal by Harry Hopkins and his chums:

Four preposterous nonentities, all of them professional uplifters, returning from a junket at the taxpayer’s expense, sit in a smoking car munching peanuts and talking shop. Their sole business in life is spending other people’s money. In the past they have always had to put in four-fifths of their time cadging it, but now the New Deal has admitted them to the vast vaults of the public treasury, and just beyond the public treasury, shackled in a gigantic lemon-squeezer worked by steam, groans the taxpayer.

If you cup your hand to your ear, you can hear them stoking the boiler.

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One Comment

  1. JK says

    So that’s what it is. I thought it was perhaps tinnitus. Fresh batteries in my hearing aids put an end to that notion. With the fresh batteries I thought, “Maybe there is something to the Langoliers.”

    Now I realize what it is. With my new batteries, I don’t need to cup my hand.

    Thanks for the post.

    Posted December 22, 2008 at 3:46 pm | Permalink