America’s favourite anti-American, part 2

Book review of Prejudices by H.L. Menken

We previously looked at Menken’s withering attacks on US involvement in WWI, the lack of protest against wartime curbs on Constitutional freedoms, sheep-like political views and Prohibition.

In Prejudices, Menken goes into some of the underlying human traits that prompt such cruelty and stupidity.  On the over-the-top violence committed against olde-time sinners – “saloon keepers, prostitutes, . . . believers in the Darwinian hypothesis, . . . adulterers”, he says: Read More

America’s favourite anti-American, part 1

Book review of The American Credo by H.L. Menken.

There was a girl I knew from a perfectly bourgeois, conventional family in the suburbs.  The mother was a high-school teacher.  The father sold computers.  One day her middle-aged parents, after years of dreaming about it, set off on a trip to America to visit Disneyland.  Unfortunately, they were denied entry to the United States as the father was recorded in US security files as being ‘anti-American’.

It wasn’t a complete misunderstanding – turns out he’d Read More

The good news from Tacos

Book review of Finally, Some Good News by Delicious Tacos.

Have you ever had one of days when you thought your life would be improved by a nuclear holocaust?

Delicious Tacos, of the eponymous blog, has days like that, too.  So many, it seems, that he wrote a book about it.  He takes his real life, known to many of us intimately through his long-running blog, hurls some really big bombs into it, and sees what happens.

The results are quite impressive.

Mr. Tacos has a very strange problem with women – they only want him for Read More

Diary of a Madman review

Book review of Diary of a Madman, and other stories by Lu Xun.

At what point do you stop respecting a communist?  Some people set an upper age limit, say, twenty.  Others go by an educative event such as the Hungarian Uprising of 1956.  And some let it pass all the way up to 1991, arguing that it seemed like a good idea at the time and who knew how badly it would all go.

I’ve decided I’ll forgive Lu Xun his communism because Read More