The Vintage Mencken Test | Lesson Plans Final Test - Easy

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Final Test - Easy

Name: _________________________ Period: ___________________

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

Multiple Choice Questions

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

2. Complete the following aphorism found in "Sententiae": "Democracy is..."
(a) "...the application of love to money. Everybody's love."
(b) "...the Declaration of Independence after a trip to the dentist for a full root canal."
(c) "...the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."
(d) "...the weapon waved by the fairer sex."

3. Who was Mencken with at a Bach concert in Pennsylvania when he decided to get some liquor?
(a) Gene the magistrate.
(b) Alfred Knopf.
(c) Henry Cabot Lodge.
(d) Woodrow Wilson.

4. In "The Hills of Zion," why did a woman warn against the reading of books?
(a) Reading would require too much effort.
(b) She asked, What knowledge could exist outside of the Bible?
(c) She believed that books are full of snakes and corn cobs.
(d) Only a congregation's preacher should take on the responsibility of reading.

5. What aspect of old-time education did Mencken miss most in modern education?
(a) The charm of the one-room schoolhouse.
(b) The insistence on only male teachers.
(c) Corporal punishment.
(d) The tolling of the dinner triangle.

6. How did Mencken describe the music of Bach?
(a) "Heaven upon a creamy macaroon."
(b) "The Deaf leading the Equally-Deaf."
(c) "Genesis I, I"
(d) "Silver macaroni, exquisitely tangled."

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

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

9. What did Mencken conclude in his examination of rulings in "Mr. Justice Holmes"?
(a) Justice Holmes ruled too often in favor of the powers that be, rather than the people.
(b) Mencken slyly suggests Holmes should tuck chickens under his arms because of his chicken-like cowardice.
(c) Justice Holmes ruled too often for rabble-rousers, and not often enough for the aristocracy.
(d) Justice Holmes rendered fantastically bizarre rulings, and should be impeached.

10. 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) The case involved a tainted jury pool.
(d) Holmes delivered an hour-long, and completely unnecessary, speech when rendering his verdict.

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

12. 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) A bar of lavender-scented soap-on-a-rope.
(c) Women's perfume.
(d) Underwear with a hole in it.

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

14. What would best describe how Mencken felt about stage acting?
(a) It gladdens the heart with falsity.
(b) It is completely unworthy of the price of admission.
(c) It stabs at the soul with genuine feeling.
(d) Like portrait painting, stage acting provides a window into the truth.

15. Complete the following aphorism found in "Sententiae": "Adultery is..."
(a) "...a willingness to get what's yours."
(b) "...like a marriage with a bad cold."
(c) "...the destruction of love, life, and money."
(d) "...the application of democracy to love."

Short Answer Questions

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

2. What was Calvin Coolidge's chief trait, according to Mencken?

3. What was Mencken's opinion of Gothic architecture?

4. What was the function of the Bill of Rights, per "Mr. Justice Holmes"?

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

(see the answer keys)

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