Monday, October 08, 2007

The ‘Bad Boy of Baltimore
by: Schvach Yid

That was H.L. (Henry Louis) Mencken folks. Sorry, but I can’t mention Friedrich Nietzsche without writing something about Mencken, who died in 1956, although his most famous literary work may be the multi-volume The American Language.

He was a journalist in the ‘old mold’ – he supposedly sloshed lots of booze down his gullet, smoked lots of cigars (his German-derived family manufactured them in Baltimore), and wrote whatever he damned pleased. He was the first to write a book on the works of Nietzsche in English.

He founded his own magazine, The American Mercury, and worked as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun newspaper for most of his career. His name is ensconced in the lobby of the Baltimore Sun.

Where Yiddin are concerned, I think, Mencken has left his mark as a controversial figure. Some remember him as having been unfriendly to Jews. Some have labeled him an anti-Semite. Others say no, that he befriended Jews during the rise and rage of the Third Reich, that he took Jew-haters to task in his writings, and that he chose Alfred A. Knopf, a Jew, as his long time publisher.

I have no idea concerning Mencken’s tilt concerning Jews. He died a half century ago, in an age that pre-dates political correctness. Back then, one could write what one wished without fear of losing one’s career (except, of course, in matters concerning communism and the late Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin). Had he lived today, who knows, he might have contributed to Arutz Sheva.

Credit: The 'Bad Boy of Baltimore' is taken from the subtitle of Marion Elizabeth Rodgers' biography of Mencken.

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