29 January 2007

Yes, Kate, There Really is an H.L. Mencken

Back on 01 April 2006, I wrote in this blog about how we missed the anniversary of the invention of the bathtub. (See entry here.) At the end of the entry, I thanked "Mr. Mencken in New York for this tip."

I was a little disappointed that none of my readers noticed this little homage to Mr. H.L. Mencken -- one of the greatest newspaper men in history; and, as a fellow journalist, a personal hero.

My bathtub story was, of course, relating Mr. Mencken's fake bathtub story published in 1917 that, similarly, was not detected then as being the hoax is was.

Well, finally, today, a young woman named Kate in Washington state, posted a comment gently pointing out to me that the bathtub story was a fake.

Yes, Kate, it was.

I had sprinkled my entry with a few clues to that fact, not the least being that I took the exact same title as his work, I made that entry on 01 April -- April Fool's Day, traditionally considered a day for playing little tricks; and actually referenced Mr. Mencken at the end of the article.

When Mencken wrote his original work, he was making fun of an American public that would pretty much believe anything that was written in the newspapers. He derided the lack of critical thinking by the readers in general; and, specifically, the solid belief they placed in anti-German propaganda written during The Great War (which we have renamed World War One).

I am glad someone actually did notice that my weblog entry was a fake; but I guess I am a little sad that the obvious clues were not picked up on; that people were, again, too quick to believe what they read in print. Perhaps subtlety is as lost on the reading public today as it was nearly 90 years ago.

Kate's comment will be found at the end of my original entry.

Mencken's original article will be found here.

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