The Vintage Mencken Test | Final Test - Easy

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

Multiple Choice Questions

1. What did Mencken attribute to the fall of the "good man" in "A Good Man Gone Wrong"?
(a) A Presbyterian upbringing.
(b) A runaway automobile.
(c) A nagging housewife.
(d) An "unspeakable force in the universe."

2. According to Mencken, what if there had not been a Civil War in the United States?
(a) The South would have been devastated economically.
(b) The South would have retained slavery as an institution.
(c) The South would be a desolate place full of "cow towns" with no culture.
(d) The South would have gotten rid of slavery anyway.

3. What would best describe Mencken's attitude toward Oliver Wendell Holmes?
(a) He was a Liberal hero in name only.
(b) His rulings were thoroughly corrupt.
(c) He was a quack chiropractor.
(d) He was a fantastic advocate of progressive causes.

4. How do common folk read the Bible, according to Mencken in "Holy Writ"?
(a) They are fooled by its beautiful prose, and pay no attention to the ideas behind the words.
(b) They find it hilarious, for some strange reason.
(c) They read it, but find nothing to relate to their personal experience.
(d) They don't read the Bible at all, and are illiterate fools.

5. Which was NOT a reason Mencken used in his assessment that houses are ugly in "The Libido for the Ugly"?
(a) The houses had awkward, skinny chimneys.
(b) The houses were structurally misshapen.
(c) The houses were painted yellow.
(d) The houses were shabby and dilapidated.

6. In "Valentino," what did the press find in a men's bathroom that caused them to mock Valentino and his "Latin Lover" image?
(a) Pink talcum-powder.
(b) Women's perfume.
(c) Underwear with a hole in it.
(d) A bar of lavender-scented soap-on-a-rope.

7. What aspect of death did Mencken find most interesting?
(a) The physiological and chemical processes involved in death.
(b) How people are able to find God so quickly on their death bed.
(c) What the great poets have said about death.
(d) How so often people die not gloriously or with grace, but ridiculously.

8. What problem did Mencken have with Justice Holmes' final court case?
(a) The case was a clear violation of freedom from double jeopardy.
(b) The case violated the writ of Habeus Corpus.
(c) Holmes delivered an hour-long, and completely unnecessary, speech when rendering his verdict.
(d) The case involved a tainted jury pool.

9. According to Mencken, why was Samuel Johnson unique as an artist?
(a) He never cared about his own fame or legacy.
(b) He never turned against his country, unlike all artists.
(c) He has a particularly thrilling prose style.
(d) He always gave to charity, and artists are infamous misers.

10. How was plutocracy created, according to Mencken?
(a) From the ruins of proper aristocracy.
(b) From a desperate and starving peasant class.
(c) From the corrupting influence of money.
(d) Through dictatorial grabs for power.

11. How did Mencken describe the music of Puccini?
(a) "Two intertwined dogs yapping at each other."
(b) "Two embalmers at work upon a minor poet."
(c) "A dozen wind chimes in a hurricane."
(d) "Silver macaroni, exquisitely tangled."

12. What criticism did Mencken have for a book filled with sayings and writings about death?
(a) The book had three quotations attributed to the contemptible Oliver Wendell Holmes.
(b) The book failed to mention music at all.
(c) The book failed to include the work of Theodore Dreiser.
(d) The book had nothing from the ancient Greeks.

13. Why might the Anglo-Saxon race have entered into the Spanish-American war, according to Mencken?
(a) They knew they could seize the Spanish crown.
(b) It was a war they were sure to win.
(c) They were courageous and foolhardy.
(d) The war protected vital interests in the Caribbean.

14. What might Mencken say was Grover Cleveland's defining trait?
(a) A lust for life.
(b) Intelligence.
(c) Stubbornness.
(d) Political acumen.

15. What was Calvin Coolidge's chief trait, according to Mencken?
(a) "A great appetite for jams and jellies."
(b) "A terrific ability to arrive at the wrong place, but at the right time."
(c) "A hide as tough as a rhinoceros, and a horn to match."
(d) "Self-induced narcolepsy."

Short Answer Questions

1. Why did Mencken call democracy a "self-limiting disease"?

2. Which of the following might Mencken say about Calvin Coolidge?

3. How did Mencken appraise Valentino in their dinner meeting?

4. According to "The New Architecture," when will Man have "built his own prison"?

5. In "The Hills of Zion," why did a woman warn against the reading of books?

(see the answer keys)

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