Tuesday, December 18, 2001

Declaration of Independence, 1921

When things get so balled up that the people of a country have 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 on the level, and not trying to put nothing over on nobody.

All we got to say on this proposition is this: first, you and me is as good as anybody else, and maybe a damn sight better; second, nobody ain’t got no right to take away none of our rights; third, every man has got a right to live, to come and go as he pleases, and to have a good time however he likes, so long as he don’t interfere with nobody else...

So begins a reinterpretation of the Declaration of Independence, from the pen of HL Mencken. Mencken was one of the most well known, and prolific newspaper writers, and political commentators of his day. He is also well known for his commentary on American English, and American slang. The Declaration that he updated, in a unique style, is filled with poor english, and bad grammar, with a lot of political incorrectness. But, in many ways, Mencken's translated sentences are much more understandable than some of the 18th century language they replace.
- William Slawski

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