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 was Mencken's current opinion of the American South, as revealed in "The Calamity of Appomattox"?
(a) It was a lightning-rod of controversy.
(b) It was an economic powerhouse.
(c) It was a culturally inferior place.
(d) It was a culturally superior place.

2. What was Mencken's general opinion of religion at the end of "Holy Writ"?
(a) Religion is valuable, but flawed.
(b) Religion is a pretty silly business.
(c) Religion is a great good, and responsible for much of what is good in civilization.
(d) Religion is evil, and should be outlawed.

3. Why did Mencken call democracy a "self-limiting disease"?
(a) Members of the Democratic Party inflict damage on themselves through numerous scandals.
(b) Democracy does damage, but the damage it can do is limited.
(c) Democracy achieves equality, and once equality is achieved, democracy has nothing to accomplish.
(d) Democracy is able to place limits on the power of politicians.

4. What was the point of the section, "Sententiae"?
(a) It was a collection of humorous and witty Mencken sayings.
(b) It was a personal letter from Mencken to his wife, in order to show Mencken's softer side.
(c) Mencken attempted to get a judge thrown off a case.
(d) Mencken railed against the European royal class.

5. How did Mencken describe the music of Chopin?
(a) A dozen wind chimes in a hurricane."
(b) "Two embalmers at work upon a minor poet."
(c) "Silver macaroni, exquisitely tangled."
(d) "Genesis I, I"

6. To what degree has "new architecture" impacted America?
(a) It hasn't reached American shores yet, and Mencken pleads with Europe to let America "borrow" it.
(b) It has come to dominate America, much to Mencken's chagrin.
(c) It has not had much of an impact.
(d) It has come to dominate America, much to Mencken's delight.

7. What theoretical scenario did Mencken pose in "The Calamity of Appomattox"?
(a) Mencken imagines a world in which the deli counter always got his sandwich order right.
(b) Mencken imagines if the North had surrendered in the Civil War instead of the South.
(c) Mencken imagines if the Civil War had never taken place, and the South had slaves to this day.
(d) Mencken imagines if Europe had never recovered from World War I, and was a smoldering ruin.

8. What did Mencken mean by the term "Ku Kluxry"?
(a) Cultural superiority.
(b) Bedsheets.
(c) Dressing in silly clothes.
(d) Racism.

9. How was Mencken able to get a taxi driver to drive him to a speakeasy in Pennsylvania?
(a) He threatened the driver with jail time.
(b) He gave the driver a ten dollar bill.
(c) He agreed to write an article about the driver.
(d) He showed the driver the musical score from a Bach concert.

10. What was Mencken's phrase for religious fundamentalism?
(a) "That Old-Time Religion."
(b) "The Shepherd's Porridge."
(c) "Ye Olde Honest Truth."
(d) "The Fluff of the Flock."

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

12. What might Mencken say about a writer's sense of beauty?
(a) The writer has an average sense of beauty.
(b) Beauty is irrelevant to the writer, who must deal with cold, hard facts.
(c) The writer has a very poor sense of beauty.
(d) The writer has a profound sense of beauty.

13. Which of the following might Mencken say about Calvin Coolidge?
(a) Coolidge was a practical agnostic.
(b) Coolidge was deeply flawed, precisely because of his Presbyterian upbringing.
(c) Coolidge pulled himself up from the most meager of upbringings.
(d) Coolidge was as energetic a man as ever graced the White House.

14. What was Roosevelt's strategy at the Democratic National Convention of 1932?
(a) He wished to rush motions through and bypass parliamentary procedures.
(b) He wished to bribe key officials for the nomination.
(c) He wished to delay as much as possible, and honor every minor parliamentary procedure.
(d) Roosevelt had a comic struggle to obtain the highest podium, so he might look the tallest.

15. What was the general atmosphere of the Democratic National Convention of 1932, as reported by Mencken?
(a) Stuffy and mannered.
(b) Quiet, like a gentlemen's club.
(c) Like Mafia men meeting at a restaurant, as the politicians are all corrupt.
(d) A complete circus.

Short Answer Questions

1. Why, according to Mencken, do virtuous people end up sinning the worst?

2. What happened when Mencken sent a junior reporter to get him liquor during the Republican National Convention?

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

4. What was Mencken's epitaph?

5. What was the subject of "The Noble Experiment"?

(see the answer keys)

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