Tomorrow, tomorrow, I hate ya, tomorrow

UPDATE: I should have done my usual checking, as the quote appears inaccurate, with the word “narcissistic” added. The correct quote is given in the comments, which is still pretty good, though we’ve had people close to downright morons in the Oval Office before.

As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

*******

The prescient and always entertaining H. L. Mencken, writing nearly a hundred years ago:

fullsizerender

42 Comments

  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    I’d be careful about the “narcissistic” part – this quote has been going around a few months … more?… now, and I suspect people were adding to the original, which I THINK is only different by that word.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      https://en.m.wikiquote.org/wiki/H._L._Mencken

      It appears the “narcissistic” was in fact added in recent months, for some reason, oh I wonder what it could be….

    • Dominic
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      Looks like you are correct… It has become an internet meme. When I was checking quotes for PCC[E] I came across a few cases where things had got repeated without reference to an original source, and mangled in the retelling. A cursory look suggests that the quote was revived for GW Bush in Feb 2001, & is to be found at the end of an essay that I assume was originally in the Baltimore Sun for June 1926, see page 21 of “On Politics: A Carnival of Buncombe”
      http://tinyurl.com/gsqu6qj

      • Christopher Bonds
        Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:35 am | Permalink

        For convenience, here’s the quote (copied from Snopes):

        The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum.

        The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

        • Christopher Bonds
          Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:37 am | Permalink

          Perhaps Prof. CC can remove my comment above as the correct version has already been posted by another reader.

    • Historian
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      It appears that you are correct. The narcissistic part is a hoax. Here is what appears to be the correct quote with the preceding paragraph of Mencken’s article plus additional background information in the link:

      ————
      “The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum.”

      “The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

      http://www.snopes.com/politics/quotes/whitehousemoron.asp

      ————–
      In regard to Mencken’s first paragraph, he did not anticipate that modern communications would allow the force of personality to be shown to all, even in a nationwide race. And when this is the case, the force of personality can elect a Trump as well as a “first-rate man.”

      If Mencken were alive today, what a field day he would have! However, I fear that few organizations in the mainstream media would dare to publish what Mencken did regularly a century ago. Too bad. His disdain for the “mob” is about as politically incorrect as you can get.

      • Christopher Bonds
        Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        Sorry! I posted the same quote before scrolling down to see if anyone else had.

      • chris moffatt
        Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

        Disdain for the mob is universal; no-one thinks himself or herself a part of it. Rather they think themselves to be among those few discriminating persons who were able to see through the smokescreen to the sacred truth.

        • Historian
          Posted January 19, 2017 at 11:19 am | Permalink

          I think you are correct, but for every politician in at least the U.S. at any time in its history (except perhaps in its early years) it is de rigueur to mention in a speech about the wisdom of the American people despite what they really believe. Most people in the media repeat the trope. No politician would say “the American people are pretty much political ignoramuses, so I am going to ignore them and do what I think is best despite what they may want.” Politicians may very well ignore the will of their constituents and do what they please, but they will do this while simultaneously denying it. The Republicans are masters of this technique. An example is their claim to be saving Medicare, which their constituents greatly support, while actually working to destroy it.

    • Filippo
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      I suppose one can be a moron without being a narcissist, eh? I wonder if narcissism was as prevalent in Mencken’s time.

  2. Posted January 19, 2017 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    sub

    • rickflick
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      sub

  3. Craw
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    And not for the first time!

  4. Tom Czarny
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    From one of my favorite novels: “The common folk; when they aren’t being sheep are swine.”

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      “The peasants are revolting”
      “You can say that again”

      cr

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted January 20, 2017 at 8:58 am | Permalink

        I feel a need to get a box-set of Andy Hamilton’s excellent, lamented, “Revolting People”. Or, for that matter, more “Old Harry’s Game.”

  5. Posted January 19, 2017 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Talk about seeing how things were progressing in the country. Some people say if you understand what motivates individuals, you can accurately predict what they will do. This guy must have really understood people well. Hugs

    • sensorrhea
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      In Trump’s case, all you need to know is that he is a pathological narcissist with delusional and sociopathic features. Everything comes out of that.

  6. Dominic
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    This is the problem with democracy – you sometimes get results that half the people who voted do not like. But then look at Turkey as Jerry did the other day, & there you have democracy overturned… People are stupid, and selfish, and nasty. But they are also capable of being generous, selfless & caring.

    As you Americans would say, “Go figure”!

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Would that, as the “Annie” tune you allude to has it, tomorrow (with its unfortunate inauguration) were always to remain a day away.

  8. ascanius
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Democracy perfected? If the US were a democracy, Hillary would be president.

  9. Christopher Bonds
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    I’m sorry to say that I too posted that meme without checking it for accuracy. I try not to do that, but that one slipped by me.

  10. busterggi
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Mencken was an optimist.

  11. E.A. Blair
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    “Tomorrow, tomorrow, I hate ya, tomorrow”

    You think you hate tomorrow? Tomorrow is my birthday and look at what I’m getting. In my life I’ve gone from being born on the day of Eisenhower’s second inauguration to turning sixty on Trump’s. If that isn’t an example of going from the sublime to the ridiculous, I don’t know what is. I’ve often said that every four years I get a turkey on my birthday – and they put him in the White House. An overwhelming majority of them have been so disappointing.

    • Mark R.
      Posted January 19, 2017 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      I feel for you! No use celebrating tomorrow…you should eat cake today. 🙂

      • E.A. Blair
        Posted January 19, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

        I’m baking this evening, plan to share cake with friends and avoid any exposure to TV or news coverage. By the calendar and clock, I turn sixty at 11:54, so the swearing in will be almost an hour past by that time (legally, of course, I am considered to have aged at midnight.)

  12. Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    “…But when to their feminine rage the indignation of the people is added; when the ignorant and the poor are aroused; when the unintelligent brute force that lies at the bottom of society is made to growl and mow…” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

  13. merilee
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    sub

  14. Posted January 19, 2017 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  15. Posted January 19, 2017 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    I think Steely Dan should have agreed to play Trump’s inauguration. They should have played this one song, then dropped the mic and walked off the stage.

  16. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    PCC(E) – people are retw##ting this….

  17. revelator60
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    I regret to say that Mencken is wrong. Democracy has not been “perfected”–if it was, Clinton would be the President, because the majority of voters chose her. Instead she was denied the presidency by a flagrantly undemocratic institution, the Electoral College, which was instituted to give slave states more power and because the Founding Fathers distrusted direct democracy!
    The Presidency therefore cannot represent “the inner soul of the people,” since the majority of the people did not vote for the President.

    The United States has victimized itself by adhering to an antiquated relic of the Founding Fathers, one which no other civilized nation on earth uses. Wise as the Founding Fathers were, I wonder if the US would not have been better off with a Parliamentary government.

    • jeremy pereira
      Posted January 20, 2017 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      You cannot say for sure that Clinton would be president. If the result had been determined by simple majority of the popular vote, Trump’s campaign (and Clinton’s) would have been less focused on only the swing states.

      • revelator60
        Posted January 20, 2017 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        Not with absolute certainty, but with near certainty I could. Clinton won the popular vote by nearly three million votes and probably would have increased that amount if she had campaigned outside the swing states.

  18. Posted January 19, 2017 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    So the quote evolved: a mutation (insertion) proved beneficial and was picked by natural selection and eventually turned into the new wildtype.
    (Of course, the analogy is not too good, because the insertion was not random.)

    • Dave B
      Posted January 20, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      ..but it was from behind…

  19. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    On the bright side, I can stop saying “he’s not even the president yet”…. I think that’s better… if only for it meaning there’s that many fewer days til he isn’t.

  20. RossR
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    At least we still have a few nore hours to hope it has all been an elaborate Candid Camera hoax.
    And after that we can wish it was.

  21. Mark Joseph
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    And the timeliness of this quote follows by a scant 2 1/2 months the timeliness of another Mencken quote, sourced at his Wikiquote page: “the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.”

  22. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted January 20, 2017 at 2:33 am | Permalink

    “The world is grown so bad,that wrens make prey where eagles dare not perch.”

    Shakespeare, RichardIII

    Via tw##t by A.C. Grayling

    Also I think the picture with the Mencken quote should get an X through the added word, it’s what will be picked up in searches.

  23. Mike
    Posted January 20, 2017 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Very perceptive the “Sage of Baltimore” I love his quotes.

  24. Posted January 20, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    It is people like Mencken that I think should make us realize that there is goodness in the world. 😉


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