THE END OF BIOGRAPHY. Ed Driscoll* has been dipping into H.L. Mencken, and likes him. That's the kindest thing I've ever said about Driscoll, so let's pause to savor it. Now to Driscoll's qualifications: he thinks Mencken's "deep cynicism and Nietzsche-inspired nihilism... does start to wear after a while." And this reminds him of a put-down of cynical Hunter S Thompson by... James Lileks, who also doesn't like nihilism, perhaps because without faith Target seems less of a Valhalla.
And Driscoll doesn't like that Mencken's tone "was the model for newspapermen since. And really is his tone that mattered, because they didn't pay much attention to his content, aside from his writings on the Scopes trial." Mencken didn't like FDR and other Democrats any better than he liked the backwoods booboisie, which consistency of outrage Driscoll finds lacking in modern journalists. Not that Driscoll approves of that consistency either: Mencken's notion of "permanent opposition in politics" dissatisfies him because "half the time it involves contrarianism for its own sake," as opposed to contrarianism for the sake of Republican candidates. Then back to complaining that you won't find this contrarianism among present-day Menckenites such as... Andrea Mitchell and Tavis Smiley.
Driscoll does approve "the writings of Mencken's mid-century successor," whom a link reveals to be... Ayn Rand.
Sometimes I think culture warriors approve of literature because they don't know what's in it.
*UPDATE. I originally attributed the article in question to Jules Crittenden. Driscoll and Crittenden are of course very different writers. For one thing, Driscoll has never been known to make an intentional joke, whereas Crittenden is capable of at least childish taunts. Also, Crittenden does not much bother himself with cultural issues (and a good thing, because even so pellucid a text as a racist anti-Obama poster gives him trouble); Driscoll frequently addresses sophisticated cultural subjects, usually with the same success seen here.