MENCKEN, H.L. Great US writer: "The men that American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest the most violently are those who try to tell them the truth."

Henry Louis "H. L." Mencken (September 12, 1880 – January 29, 1956) was a very influential  American journalist, essayist, magazine editor, satirist, critic of American life and culture, and a scholar of American English. Dubbed the "Sage of Baltimore". H.L. Mencken wrote “The American Language”, a multi-volume study of American English usage. A resolute critic of religion, H.L. Mencken covered the famous Scopes Darwinism trial which he named the "Monkey trial” (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._L._Mencken ) .

 

Some quotations from or attributed to H.L. Mencken regarding truth and reportage:

 

"The most common of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind". [1, 2].

"The curse of man, and cause of nearly all of his woes, is his stupendous capacity for believing the incredible". [1, 2].

"The world always makes the assumption that the exposure of an error is identical with the discovery of truth -- that error and truth are simply opposite. They are nothing of the sort. What the world turns to, when it has been cured of one error, is usually another error, and maybe one worse than the first one". [2].

"For it is the natural tendency of the ignorant to believe what is not true. In order to overcome that tendency it is not sufficient to exhibit the true; it is also necessary to expose and denounce the false". [2].

"The men that American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest the most violently are those who try to tell them the truth". [2].

[1]. H.L. Mencken, “A Mencken Chestomathy” (1949)

[2]. Quotes from or attributed to H.L. Mencken, Positive Atheism’s Big List of H.L. Mencken quotations: http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/quotes/mencken.htm .
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