Henry Louis Mencken

United States
12 Sep 1880 // 29 Jan 1956
Journalist / Satirist /Social critic


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The capacity of human beings to bore one another seems to be vastly greater than that of any other animal
The basic fact about human existence is not that it is a tragedy, but that it is a bore. It is not so much a war as an endless standing in line
Self-respect: the secure feeling that no one, as yet, is suspicious
Say what you will about the ten commandments, you must always come back to the pleasant fact that there are only ten of them
No matter how long he lives, no man ever becomes as wise as the average woman of forty-eight
No matter how happily a woman may be married, it always pleases her to discover that there is a nice man who wishes that she were not
No man ever quite believes in any other man. One may believe in an idea absolutely, but not in a man
Most people want security in this world, not liberty
Morality is the theory that every human act must be either right or wrong, and that 99% of them are wrong
Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who would want to live in an institution?
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On Anger: "For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind."
On Destiny: "Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today."
Human, All Too Human
On Friendship: "A crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love."