Friday, June 29, 2007

United States a British Colony (1923)

Author and critic Henry L. Mencken makes some pretty bold predictions in the February 12, 1923 article, "Thinking Men and Women Predict Problems of World Century Hence," published in the Bridgeport Telegram (Bridgeport, Connecticut).

A hundred years hence the United States will be a British colony, its chief function will be to supply imbeciles to read the current English novels and docile cannon fodder for the British Army.

I believe that Prohibition will be overthrown and restored several times before 2022. There will be periods of Prohibition and wholesale drunkeness, as now, and periods of license and moderation. Just how the wave will be running in 2022 I hesitate to predict.

The American who will be most agreeably discussed by Anglo-American historians in 2022 will be Woodrow Wilson, the first Premier of the United American Colonies.

The greatest living American author is Dr. Frank Crane. He will be remembered long after Walt Whitman is forgotten.

See also:
Sinclair Lewis Will Be Read Until Year 2000 (1936)
Thinking Men and Women Predict Problems of World Century Hence (1923)
Pictures Stately Edifices (1923)
Thinks We'll Do Our Reading on Screen (1923)
Work Days of Two Hours (1923)

2 comments:

Jim Wise said...

It's worth noting that this `prediction' should be read in the context of Mencken's bitterness that the US had joined the allied side in the first world war, rather than -- as Mencken had repeatedly advocated -- siding with the Kaiser.

With this in mind, this article is perhaps more a sign of what hasn't changed than what has, with Mencken's dig at Wilson as a stooge of the British government finding an interesting echo in today's (pole-shifted) world, where Brits unhappy with their country's involvement in Iraq deride Blair as a lap-dog of the Americans.

Mark Plus said...

Funny that Mencken should mention Americans' role in consuming British novels. How many of us have had to wait in line at bookstores at midnight so that our kids can buy the next installment of Harry Potter's adventures?