Saturday 23 June 2012

A Shout Out to H.L. Mencken

 "One of the most irrational of all the conventions of modern society is the one to the effect that religious opinions should be respected....That they should have this immunity is an outrage. There is nothing in religious ideas, as a class, to lift them above other ideas. On the contrary, they are always dubious and often quite silly." 

H. L. Mencken

Dude lived in Baltimore and admired Friedrich Nietzsche.

I've never lived in Baltimore (yet?) and I admire B.F. Nietsche.

Dude knew Sinclair Lewis and Theodore Dreiser.

I met Jonathan Kozol ["All the money spent for public education in America ought to come from federal taxes that are equitably distributed with adjustments only for greater or lesser costs of living in various sections of the nation and the greater educational needs of certain children."]-- yes, that Jonathan Kozol-- in Boston in January 1978.  It was after a Marshall Tucker concert.  I found his number in the phone book and he answered.  This led to him picking me up at the Little Copley and taking me to his brownstone where we spent several hours engaged in deep conversation.  This meeting was after he'd been to Cuba.  He showed me a poster from Cuba which authorities had allowed him to bring back to the United States after he explained that he needed "it to understand the Cuban people."

Dude loved Huck Finn and so did I, albeit I suspect for different reasons.

Dude wrote under various pseudonyms and so do I.

Dude's pseudonyms were never spoken of as "sock puppets" and mine certainly have been accused of being trollish in purpose.  [I neither embrace nor deny my inner troll nature in this post.]

Dude had a chemistry set at home when he was a boy.

My dad gave me one of them for Christmas one year but my mother decided that it was dangerous and threw it out.  [To my mother, almost all Christmas presents from my dad must have been somehow "dangerous" because she threw out almost all of them].

Dude like photography as a kid.

I got to know and love my cheap digital camera as an adult.

Dude was a famous writer.

I am a non-famous blogger.

Dude is one of the people I would love to have coffee with, along with Oliver Sachs [#1, sorry H.L., I hope you don't mind being #2], and Martin Millar and my paternal grandmother.

So, H.L. Mencken, here's my shout out to you.  I'm sorry that you still aren't around but I'm glad that you lived.  Thank you for being you!

sapphoq itching for a coffee

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