Cory Leonard

The British Gift to American Letters – NYTimes.com

In politics on August 8, 2012 at 2:48 pm

WHATEVER happened to American polemic? The land of the free is also the land of H.L. Mencken and Dwight Macdonald, who lacked for nothing in jaunty, bitter wit. Here is Mencken on the South: “There are single acres in Europe that house more first-rate men than all the states south of the Potomac.” Or Macdonald on Secretary of State Cordell Hull: “a narrow-minded, petty, pompous, provincial reactionary who has never made a speech that says anything.”That would barely be published today, at least in those parts of the American media that make a solemn cult of accuracy and balance, fearful of even honest opinion, to the point that statements of the obvious must be sterilized by such quaint circumlocutions as “analysts say that …” I’ve no doubt at all that there have been budding homegrown heirs to Mencken and Macdonald, but they’ve been educated out of their wits. And so when America wants guilty journalistic pleasure, it has to bootleg in bad boys from the old country. It might be our final revenge for Yorktown.

via The British Gift to American Letters – NYTimes.com.

via The British Gift to American Letters – NYTimes.com.

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