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Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Jerry Stahl, Mencken "moron" quote, & David Foster Wallace

Came across this quote in this Salon interview with Jerry Stahl. After speculating that Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh are drug buddies, he busts out with this:

Salon: What about Bush getting reelected? Any sage predictions as to the character and achievements of the second term?

Stahl: I'd have to go back to H.L. Mencken and quote something he said in the Baltimore Sun in 1920: "As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."

It seems to good to be true, and others have apparently thought so as well, as it's apparently been cited quite a bit this fall. But apparently Mencken really did write that in 1920: see this Snopes.com page.

PS: The Stahl interview is strangely compelling. Read some reviews of "I, Fatty" this year, and I'm tempted to put the Permanent Midnight DVD on the Netflix queue (OK, I just did). But he won me over by mentioning David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest: "It's just genius, man." I've had that fatty on the shelf for about 4 years now; maybe I'll make it my next big book.

PPS: I'll have to do another entry on DFW (after I actually read something by him, how about). But he must have a thing for infinity: have a couple reviews of Everything and More: A Compact History of Infinity saved somewhere, which I could work in to a more general post about Cantor's transfinite numbers which I've been contemplating. Also picked up a long while back this little-mentioned book co-authored by DFW: Signifying Rappers: Rap and Race in the Urban Present.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've heard Bush been called a moron, but WHY exactly is he called that?

t0m said...

Beats me. Bush talks like he thinks everyone else is a moron.