Mencken-Barnum Awards Announced

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By:Thomas Fleming | January 28, 2015

For months there have been rumors circulating about the establishment of a set of annual prizes, commemorating two great American geniuses, H.L. Mencken and P.T. Barnum. The prizes are inspired by a single sentence from each genius:

Mencken: “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public”

Barnum: “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

While Mencken has the merit of correctly evaluating the character and taste of the American people, it was Barnum who got rich by acting on this insight.

Because of the richness and variety of the American knavery and boobery, the sponsors of the awards have devised seven categories: Movies, pop music, sports, literature, the fine arts, scholarship, and politics. In addition, special awards will be given to  recognize the lifetime achievements of both living and dead cultural and political entrepreneurs who lived up to the high standards set by Barnum.

Successful candidates will not merely have got rich by peddling junk—anyone, even James Cameron, Roger Ailes,  and Jackie Suzann can do that. But could they do anything else? Our winners must have sufficient talent and intelligence to know what they are doing. They must positively revel in the degradation they are inspiring in the American character.

Winners will be announced at a star-studded gala event in Las Vegas. The good news for Chronicles and its readers is that our editors have been contracted to oversee the nomination and election. 

Then let the contest begin, and may the worst man (or woman) win! Nominations are now being received.



1/28/2015 07:24 PM

  I nominate Al Sharpton for his "American knavery, boobery" and leadership in expanding freedoms in the fields of religion, law, politics and embecile advice and counsel to leaders of the free world and cable news television.

San Antonio
1/28/2015 10:50 PM

  I nominate Dick Cheney who totally ripped-off the character of Elmer Fudd and was elected Vice President of the United States. W stands for Wetarded!

Clyde N. Wilson
Columbia, SC
1/28/2015 11:04 PM

  I nominate that eminent philosopher and statesman George W. Bush. Imagine what Mencken could have done with him!

Mark Schaeber
Syracuse, NY
1/28/2015 11:38 PM

  "They must positively revel in the degradation they are inspiring in the American character." There is only one clear choice; only one possible nominee that stands above all the others: Barack Hussein Obama. How's that "hope and change" working out ?

robert m. peters
coushatta, louisiana
1/29/2015 03:00 AM

  Let the nominee be Senator John McCain who has posed with terrorists and usurpers from Syria to the Ukraine, who wants to bomb Iran and go to war with Russia every opportunity, while fostering the invasion of what is left of America by legal and illegal aliens.


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