A choice selection of H.L. Mencken's previously out-of-print writings. Highly recommended!
Museum of Hoaxes: Mencken's History of the Bathtub
Goodreads: A Mencken Chrestomathy by HL Mencken
Let's set the scene...
Rory and Lorelai are at The Independence Inn when a call comes in from Richard. Lorelai assumes it's for her, and is surprised (and a little taken aback) when she learns that he actually wants to speak to Rory. Of course, Lorelai needs to know what the call was about.
Rory: No. He just found this book we were talking about.
Lorelai: Oh. And he just called to tell you?
Rory: Yeah, why?
Lorelai: Nothing. It's just weird. He doesn't call the inn that much. Or ever, actually.
Rory: Well he knew that I was looking for it, so --
Lorelai: Oh, sure. What book was it?
Rory: Mencken's "Chrestomathy"
Lorelai: Oh, that one.
A few days later, at the infamous Friday night dinner...
Richard: Rory, I have a surprise. Not only did I find that copy of Mencken's "Chrestomathy" we discussed, I also found a first edition of his memoirs as well.
Rory: You're kidding?
Richard: It's in my office if you'd like to see them.
Rory: Oh my God, I totally would.
I love a bitter, cynical man. They always make for such hilarity. And Henry Louis Mencken is no exception. The proud Baltimore native refuses to suffer fools... something I can definitely relate to. Although I, too, am a fool. And this gave me a lightbulb moment about myself. I can barely add and subtract and I think that's perfectly acceptable and normal. However, I think there is no excuse for someone beyond third grade to not understand the difference between your/you're. I'm a hypocrite. I guess we all think the ways in which we are intelligent are the most important. Huh!
Chock full of one-liners that assess and insult the American public, I discovered (more than once) that it was dangerous to read anything by Mencken while taking a sip of any sort of beverage... because inevitably, it exited through my nose. The man's acerbic wit and biting commentary on the social clusterfuck that is America offends and amuses all at the same time. I find myself going "HEY!!!.........................yeah, okay." HLM is unapologetic in his despising people who don't hold themselves to a higher intellectual standard and who insist on trusting fully in conventional wisdom.
Reader be warned: this is not the book for you if you dislike (or are incapable of) critical thinking, if you're easily offended or if you are an idealist. Just put the book down and walk on by (and maybe look at a photo of a unicorn). But if you appreciate cynicism, candor and and a good curmudgeon... pick it up! You wont be disappointed.
Who do I see reading this in the Stars Hollow gazebo?
Although the easy route would've been to pick Rory or Richard (as they are the ones discussing H.L. Mencken in this episode), this particular book just screams "Paris" to me. The feeling that she's constantly surrounded by imbeciles, the idea that nobody around her cares as much as she does and the unparalleled level of cynicism as never before seen in a 16 year old girl... I can see Paris and HLM sitting together and laughing as they slash their contemporaries to pieces.