The Bathtub Hoax, and Other Blasts & Bravos from the Chicago Tribune

The Bathtub Hoax, and Other Blasts & Bravos from the Chicago Tribune

The Bathtub Hoax, and Other Blasts & Bravos from the Chicago Tribune

The Bathtub Hoax, and Other Blasts & Bravos from the Chicago Tribune

Excerpt

Ours is a curious culture indeed. Moon-rocketry flourishes compatibly with such necromantic practices of the Middle Ages as palmistry and astrology.

Only recently, protective legislation was sought in one southern state to outlaw fortune-telling, so serious is the financial loss among the gullible.

Elsewhere in the nation, shop clerks happily consult their horoscopes and maiden ladies tremulously submit their palms to gypsies while a scientist next door plots the course of a man-made satellite hurtling through space.

Mencken would never have questioned the congruity of this arrangement had he survived into the space age. For he believed that, scientific and intellectual progress among a minority notwithstanding, most of his countrymen were afflicted with a compulsion to accept as gospel that which is obviously untrue.

A Neglected Anniversary , the now famous but fake bathtub history that follows, was first published December 28, 1917, in the New York Evening Mail as an amusing if somewhat vacuous whimsicality.

To Mencken's delight, it began cropping up periodically as a sound reference source over the next ten years, and . . .

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