In 1956 Mencken could look back on a long and distinguished career that included years at the top of his profession, the publication of three volumes of memoirs, and a steady stream of journalism that made him loved and hated, sometimes by the same person. For "Minority Report", he read through his notebooks, extracting those pieces he thought most true, most pertinent, most precise or most likely to blow the dust out of a reader's brain. Here he shows off his skill with the aphorism, or "stinger": "The most expensive thing on earth is to believe in something that is palpably not true"; "We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart"; "Metaphysics is a refuge for men who have a strong desire to appear learned and profound but have nothing worth hearing to say".
H. L. Mencken was born in Baltimore in 1880 and remained a lifelong resident. Opinionated and controversial, his column for the 'Baltimore Sun' earned him a national reputation. He died in 1956.