The Vintage Mencken Test | Mid-Book Test - Easy

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This test consists of 15 multiple choice questions and 5 short answer questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. According to Mencken, what was Christianity's history with lying?
(a) Lying is not expressly forbidden, and is oftentimes even encouraged.
(b) Every sermon uttered by a priest is a lie.
(c) One must lie to oneself in order to adhere to religious beliefs.
(d) Lying is a great sin before God.

2. What is democracy's "aim," according to Mencken?
(a) To indoctrinate everyone in religious "poppycock."
(b) To pull everyone down to the same level.
(c) To ensure great wealth for all.
(d) To protect the children of a society.

3. What did Gene the magistrate do with respect to an old man in his court accused of wife beating?
(a) Gene applauded the man for keeping his wife well-behaved.
(b) Gene put him in jail for two years.
(c) Gene threatened the man with made-up punishments to get him to reform.
(d) Gene had the court bailiff beat the man, just as he had beat his wife.

4. Why do "handsome men" deserve suspicion?
(a) They are "ugly" inside.
(b) They are always self-serving and vain.
(c) They are terrible conversationalists.
(d) The human body is inherently ugly.

5. Why does the typical man have a poor conception of beauty?
(a) The entire world, with very few exceptions, is hideously ugly.
(b) Even mirrors are manufactured to lie about a woman's beauty.
(c) Even a man's enemy will tell him his wife is pretty.
(d) Make-up is made with a chemical that confuses the brain.

6. What must modern religions do to "escape absurdity"?
(a) They must disband immediately.
(b) They should accept a small element of agnosticism.
(c) They should encourage a much more relaxed church service.
(d) They must allow gay marriage.

7. What did Mencken satirize in "Quid Est Veritas"?
(a) Those who insisted Latin was not a dead language.
(b) Aristocrats.
(c) Country doctors.
(d) Organized religion.

8. What cheeky nickname did Mencken give Theodore Dreiser?
(a) The Clown Prince of prose.
(b) The Jack Ripper of the novel.
(c) The Hindenburg of the novel.
(d) The Frankenstein of the short story.

9. In "Gore in the Caribees," what was Mencken's perspective on the revolution in Cuba?
(a) Mencken thought it is newsworthy, and he asks to cover it.
(b) Mencken refused to cover the event, and is fired by his newspaper.
(c) Mencken thought the event is not newsworthy, and only reluctantly does he travel to cover it.
(d) Mencken was fervently pro-Cuba, and travels to the country to engage in propaganda.

10. What criticism did Dr. William Bayard Hale have for Woodrow Wilson?
(a) Wilson had the gall to pardon Eugene Debs.
(b) Wilson was more interested in tea parties and social functions than policy discussions.
(c) As an orator, Wilson was dull, and focuses too much on foreign policy.
(d) His rhetoric was lofty, but ultimately empty of substance.

11. Which is NOT one of the reasons winters were difficult in 1880s Baltimore?
(a) Cellars could flood.
(b) Water pipes could burst.
(c) Snow caused many roofs to cave in.
(d) The cold was severe, and furnaces did not help much.

12. What did Mencken think about Woodrow Wilson's biography of George Washington?
(a) He was relieved that someone finally showed George Washington for who he really was.
(b) The biography had such a small print run as to be insignificant.
(c) It was poorly written and factually inaccurate.
(d) "Woodrow Wilson couldn't shine George Washington's shoes."

13. Why did Mencken disagree with contemporary assessments of Abraham Lincoln?
(a) Abraham Lincoln did not get nearly enough credit for freeing the slaves, according to Mencken.
(b) Mencken believed a much broader conspiracy was in place in regards to Lincoln's assassination.
(c) Critics maligned Lincoln for his handling of the Civil War, and Mencken thinks he did a fine job.
(d) Critics praised him as a hero and don't question some dubious sections of his biography.

14. According to "Quid Est Veritas?," what kind of religion professes to know God exactly and completely?
(a) Primitive religions.
(b) Admirable religions.
(c) Perfect religions.
(d) American religions.

15. Which was NOT a source of terrible smell in the Baltimore of the 1880s, according to Mencken?
(a) Wilkins Hair Factory.
(b) The St. Helen's insane asylum.
(c) The Back Basin.
(d) The glue factory.

Short Answer Questions

1. What stance can Mencken be said to have taken in "Star-Spangled Man"?

2. In "The National Letters," what was the cause of all the "diseases" which afflict America?

3. What does Mencken state about the literary influence(s) of Theodore Dreiser?

4. Why shouldn't men trust other men?

5. Which book was Mencken's touchstone into literature?

(see the answer keys)

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