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 memorable simile did Mencken use for Grover Cleveland?
(a) Cleveland was like a steel ship loaded with monoliths of granite.
(b) Cleveland was like a fragile butterfly with wings of dynamite.
(c) Cleveland was like a crocodile waiting to snap his jaws around the American public.
(d) Cleveland was like a newborn babe gazing at the stars for the first time.

2. In "The Wallace Paranoia," who was Mencken referring to with the phrase "raisins in the bread."
(a) Extremists and the mentally unstable.
(b) Bible-belt evangelists.
(c) Honorable, career politicians.
(d) Sweet, young ladies amid a bunch of old men.

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

4. 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."

5. What was the subject of "A Good Man Gone Wrong"?
(a) A man who was jailed for protesting World War I.
(b) A man who robbed in order to feed his family.
(c) A man who heckled an animal at the zoo, and got arrested.
(d) A man who murdered at the request of another man's wife.

6. According to Mencken, how might Calvin Coolidge had handled the Great Depression?
(a) By nationalizing many sectors of the economy.
(b) By taking a more active role than FDR ever had.
(c) By cowering under his desk.
(d) By sleeping through it.

7. Why, according to Mencken, do virtuous people end up sinning the worst?
(a) Virtuous people give of themselves so much, they are empty inside.
(b) To be "virtuous" is a lie: the virtuous are among the most sinful among us.
(c) Virtuous people do difficult work, and this work drives them insane.
(d) The virtuous don't know how to handle sin, and thus get carried away.

8. What was NOT a feature of chiropractors, according to "Chiropractic"?
(a) They had a good deal of anatomical knowledge.
(b) They were quacks.
(c) They did no good, and may in fact cause harm.
(d) They were retired baseball players or piano movers.

9. What was the function of the Bill of Rights, per "Mr. Justice Holmes"?
(a) To protect religion from devil worshippers.
(b) To ensure a pistol or shotgun is available in every household.
(c) To protect the aristocracy from the low classes.
(d) To protect Americans from the tyranny of the state.

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

11. Which of the following was NOT a name applied to William Jennings Bryan by Mencken?
(a) Yellow-bellied sapsucker.
(b) Mountebank.
(c) Fly-catcher.
(d) Charlatan.

12. Who were the two attorneys in the Scopes monkey trial?
(a) William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow.
(b) William Jennings Bryan and Andrew Still.
(c) Theodore Dreiser and John Pershing.
(d) Clarence Darrow and Henry Cabot Lodge.

13. 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.

14. How had Wallace behaved in "The Wallace Paranoia"?
(a) He had been a bumbler and an "ass."
(b) He had managed difficult times with great elegance.
(c) He was convinced there are Communist space aliens.
(d) He was flirting with "most every thing in a dress."

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

Short Answer Questions

1. What point did Mencken make when referring to the picture of a French soldier who was deformed with multiple amputations in war?

2. What was "lamentable" about the North beating the South in the Civil War, according to Mencken?

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

4. How do common folk read the Bible, according to Mencken in "Holy Writ"?

5. What was Mencken's phrase for religious fundamentalism?

(see the answer keys)

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