CRITICS MAY BE CALLED MINIATURE MENCKENS
"LET SILLY PLAYGOERS GO TO PLAY," HIS VIEW
"Any writer, nowadays, who disparages anything typical of America or Americans is immediately branded an imitator of H. L. Mencken," declared Herbert Asbury in an interview with the CRIMSON. Asbury, who is on the staff of the New York Herald-Tribune, is known as the author of "Hatrack," a short story which caused the suppression of the American Mercury last spring, and of "Up from Methodism."
"And to call these writers merely imitators is to do them an injustice," he continued. "I have to fight the thing myself. Often, I go out of my way, avoiding words I would otherwise naturally use, to try not to suggest Mencken. I admire Mencken very much, but I know he has his faults. What I write, I feel to be a sincere and original effort, not an attempt to follow a path someone else has opened up for me.
"So it is that the so called Mencken school has developed. It is perfectly natural to criticise American Rotaryism, religious Ligotry, and other popular foibles, vet whenever anyone does it, Mencken is immediately blamed or credited, because he was the first to find similar faults glaring enough to attract attention.
"There is, however, another side to the question. Mencken has got imitators. Why, Mencken himself has to combat that very problem in men writing for the the Mercury, who believe in the precept that imitation is sincerest flattery.
"Censorship? I am absolutely against all forms of censorship. I don't believe plays or books can hurt an adult though I do think a play like "The Captive" might prove injurious to a young girl. I would not take a daughter of mine to it but if another man wants to take his, it is no affair of mine. Some plays are undeniably bad from all points of view, but if people are silly enough to go to see them, let them."