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H. L. on Warren G.



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“I rise,” H. L. Mencken wrote after President Harding’s inaugural address, “to pay my small tribute to Dr. Harding….he writes the worst English that I have ever encountered.”

It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it. It drags itself out of the dark abysm…of pish, and crawls insanely up to the topmost pinnacle of posh. It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash.

Your reader is certainly correct, Jonah, that Harding is in a terribly underrated president, but Mencken is most certainly correct about Harding’s inaugural address, as readers of this happy Corner may see for themselves.



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