I got a call yesterday from a fact checker at The New Yorker who wanted to know whether H.L. Mencken actually sent the following form letter to angry correspondents: Dear Sir or Madam: You may or may not be right. Would that he had–it’s a great story–but in the decade I spent researching and writing The Skeptic, I found not the slightest bit of evidence that he ever sent such a letter to anyone.
What tickled me about this call was that it made me feel like a Grand Old Man. The nice young fellow from The New Yorker asked, “Is this Terry Teachout, author of The Skeptic?” in tones that made me wonder whether I’d just heard a preview of my obituary….
Read the whole thing here.