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"...you and me is as good as anybody else, and maybe a damn sight better..."
H.L. Mencken is one of my literary heroes, and not just because we share a birthday. His erudite, curmudgeonly wit never fails to charm me, even though his now-dated cultural references often fly right over my head. I've read many scattered pieces of his here and there, but only one full book, the anthology The Vintage Mencken
. With so much of his material available, I've struggled over which book of his to read next. But after reading this mention
yesterday of The American Language
on the Barnes & Noble site, I think my search has ended. Here's Mencken's "American" translation of the famous "all men are created equal" passage from the Declaration of Independence:
...All we got to say on this proposition is this: first, you and me is as good as anybody else, and maybe a damn sight better; second, nobody ain't got no right to take away none of our rights; third, every man has got a right to live, to come and go as he pleases, and to have a good time however he likes, so long as he don't interfere with nobody else. That any government that don't give a man these rights ain't worth a damn; also, people ought to choose the kind of goverment they want themselves, and nobody else ought to have no say in the matter. That whenever any goverment don't do this, then the people have got a right to can it and put in one that will take care of their interests.
Thank goodness Thomas Jefferson was so much more eloquent than the rest of us schmoes.
September 13, 2013 in Books | Permalink