a beyond the Italian drama. There are single chapters in the Old Testament that are worth all the poetry ever written in the New World and nine-tenths of that written in the Old. The Jews of those ancient days had imagination, they had dignity, they had ears for sweet sound, they had, above all, the faculty of grandeur. The stupendous music that issued from them has swept their barbaric demonology along with it, setting at naught the collective intelligence of the human species; they embalmed their idiotic taboos and fetishes in undying strains, and so gave them some measure of the same immortality. A race of lawgivers? Bosh! Leviticus is as archaic as the Code of Manu, and the Decalogue is a fossil. A race of seers? Bosh again! The God they saw survives only as a bogey-man, a theory, an uneasy and vexatious ghost. A race of traders and sharpers? Bosh a third time! The Jews are as poor as the Spaniards. But a race of poets, my lords, a race of poets! It is a vision of beauty that has ever haunted them. And it
Forty-seven brief essays (some of them only a paragraph long) about whatever gripes--usually hypocrisy--struck Mencken as ironic or ridiculous. Art, morality, music, religion, actor's egos, pessimism, temperance, and many more topics are satirized for audiences too dull to have his keen perception.
They get tedious after a while, you may want to absorb his wisdom a bit at a time, rather than at one sitting.
H. L. Mencken is one of those rare entities, A griping, opinioated curmudgeon whose ideas are still fresh today. In Damn! A book of calumny he raves on topics ranging from religion to popular culture, from science to race .He namedrops and idolizes figures in history from Moses to Cotton Mather.At times Mecnken can incite humor, horror and rage in the reader. If you don't mind having your feathers ruffled and your mind expanded, this is a good read.