WHEN things get so balled up . . .
July 4, 2010 1:05 PM   Subscribe

"The Declaration of Independence in American," by H.L. Mencken. "When things get so balled up that the people of a country got to cut loose from some other country, and go it on their own hook, without asking no permission from nobody, excepting maybe God Almighty, then they ought to let everybody know why they done it, so that everybody can see they are not trying to put nothing over on nobody." Why we did what we did. In American, so everyone can understand.
posted by John of Michigan (26 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
See also: Washington's Farewell Address Translated into Everyday Speech

See also also: The winners of Slate's "Turn the Declaration of Independence into a Tweet" contest
posted by Rhaomi at 1:10 PM on July 4, 2010


Well, so everyone who was born in ought-six or whatever can understand.
posted by Justinian at 1:19 PM on July 4, 2010


He wouldn't let us have no onions on our belt, which was the style at the time...
posted by chillmost at 1:27 PM on July 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


This reads like The Declaration of Independence as Explained by Holden Caulfield.
posted by Dreamcast at 1:28 PM on July 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


This reads like The Declaration of Independence as Explained by Holden Caulfield.

NEEDS MOAR CRUMMY
posted by codswallop at 1:31 PM on July 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


*He vetoed bills in the Legislature that everybody was in favor of, and hardly nobody was against.

*When the soldiers kill a man, framing it up so that they would get off.

*Interfering with business. Making us pay taxes without asking us whether we thought the things we had to pay taxes for was something that was worth paying taxes for or not.

*When a man was arrested and asked for a jury trial, not letting him have no jury trial.

*He never paid no attention whatever to the Constitution, but he went to work and repealed laws that everybody was satisfied with and hardly nobody was against, and tried to fix the government so that he could do whatever he pleased.

Man, this sounds very familiar.
posted by Malice at 1:33 PM on July 4, 2010 [8 favorites]


My Political Correctness antennae perked up at "South American yellowbellies" but I gave it a pass. But then "them coons"? Tell me he's talking about some raccoon revolutions that I've never heard of.
posted by dammitjim at 1:35 PM on July 4, 2010


dammitjim: "My Political Correctness antennae perked up at "South American yellowbellies" but I gave it a pass. But then "them coons"? Tell me he's talking about some raccoon revolutions that I've never heard of."

No.

"First printed as "Essay in American" in the Baltimore Evening Sun, Nov. 7, 1921."

Times change.
posted by barnacles at 1:36 PM on July 4, 2010


Is it a bad thing that I read that paragraph in the voice of Vicki Pollard?
posted by msbutah at 1:51 PM on July 4, 2010


If this was written today it would be full of all that "fo' shizzle" type stuff that out-of-touch people use when they do "hilarious" imitations of how rappers talk.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:55 PM on July 4, 2010 [6 favorites]


What was the original written in again?
posted by Tashtego at 2:04 PM on July 4, 2010


If this was written today it would be full of all that "fo' shizzle" type stuff that out-of-touch people use when they do "hilarious" imitations of how rappers talk.

Interesting. That's the first time I've ever seen anyone call H. L. Mencken out-of-touch.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:06 PM on July 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


... being as we are now a free country, we can do anything that free countries can do, especially declare war...

First things first.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:15 PM on July 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I guess fewer people know who H.L. Mencken is than I thought. For your edification.
posted by devinemissk at 2:27 PM on July 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


(And, perhaps more interestingly, this from the owner of the site that hosts the original link, said owner being someone I am distantly acquainted with and respect a great deal.)
posted by devinemissk at 2:31 PM on July 4, 2010


My Political Correctness antennae perked up at "South American yellowbellies" but I gave it a pass. But then "them coons"? Tell me he's talking about some raccoon revolutions that I've never heard of.

This is being written from the perspective, and in the dialect of, of an "average American" of 1921, for the purpose of parody.
posted by anazgnos at 4:09 PM on July 4, 2010 [6 favorites]


Imma dun-did red this
posted by Max Power at 4:20 PM on July 4, 2010


Have we done the Gettysburg Powerpoint yet?
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:26 PM on July 4, 2010


Hipsters, flipsters, and finger-poppin' daddies, knock me your lobes. I come to lay Caesar out, not to hip you to him. The bad jazz that a cat blows wails long after he's knocked out; the groovy is often stashed with his frame. So don't put Caesar down.
posted by kenko at 5:48 PM on July 4, 2010 [6 favorites]


Did someone mention Gettysburg rewrites?

Four score and like seven years ago our old daddies came on in this scene with a new group, grooved in free kicks, and hip to the Jazz that all cats make it the same. Now we're real hung up in a crazy big hassle, digging whether that group, or any group so grooved and so hip can keep on swinging.

We're making it on a wild spot of that hassle. We've got eyes to tag a little of that spot as a last lay-down pad for those who here conked out so that group might still score. It's frantically cool and jivey that we're on this kick. But in a bigger ribble we can't shake up, we can't sound, we can't even clue in this jazz. The cool cats, with us and down under, who flipped here, have pegged it straighter that we could ever mess with. The squares will never buy this bit, nor dig the lyrics we spiel here; but they can't ever put down what those studs did here. It's for us, the on-cats, who ought to pick up on those still-wailing blues which the off-cats who goofed here have blown so crazily up till now. Man! Like we really ought to be here with eyes fixed on this wild gig that still needs action, that those from those far-out D.O.A.'s we get a little higher on that kick for which they really went and flipped their gaskets; that we take it on to set straight that these cats show not have kicked off square; that this group under God, shall blow a crazy new sound, and that a hot combo of the hipsters, by the hipsters, and for the hipsters, shall not cut out from this scene.
posted by kenko at 5:51 PM on July 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


Mencken was great, but I'm not sure this is a good introduction to or example of his work.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:08 PM on July 4, 2010


Have we done the Gettysburg Powerpoint yet?
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:26 PM on July 4 [+] [!]


No Powerpoint but how about diagrammed?
posted by etaoin at 6:42 PM on July 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Boy, nothing sucks the life out of language like a diagram, eh?
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:04 PM on July 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Physical destruction of the language centers of the brain?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:56 PM on July 4, 2010


No, that only destroys the ability of a person to speak or comprehend language. The language itself is untouched.
posted by kenko at 12:39 PM on July 5, 2010


Stewardess, I speak jive.
posted by threeturtles at 7:56 AM on July 6, 2010


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