Tag Archives: h.l. mencken

Regulation of the Day 138: Dwile Flonking

Britons sure do seem to have a lot of time on their hands. Take, for example, the colorfully-named pastime of dwile flonking. Players soak a rag in beer and put it on top of a pole. Then they use the pole to hurl the rag at other players.

A player who misses twice in a row is called a “flonker.” Flonkers are required to drink a beer before the opposing team can pass the errant rag all the way around him in a circle.

This year’s dwile flonking world championship was to be held in Norfolk. Then regulators got involved. As one can tell by the rules, dwile flonking is a drinking game. And drinking games are forbidden now. Legislation passed earlier this year banning them.

The American journalist H.L. Mencken defined Puritanism as “The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” He may as well have been talking about regulators.

And thanks to the new Puritanism, we may never know who the world’s top dwile flonkers are.

How We Choose Our Leaders

There is a great deal of romance in politics. Why else would we spend $170 million on an inauguration? H.L. Mencken had a more sober view of political animals. They are rarely chosen for their merit, or their stances on the issues of the day. The successful candidate actively avoids such things in his speeches. No:

“They are chosen normally for quite different reasons, the chief of which is simply their power to impress and enchant the intellectually underprivileged. It is a talent like any other… [B]ut it is obviously not identical with a capacity for the intricate problems of statecraft.”A Mencken Chrestomathy, pp. 148-49.