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H.L. Mencken (1880–1956). The American Language. 1921.

Page 145

more readily than in England. Men are distinguished by being called president of a corporation. I know one president whose staff consists of two typists. Many firms have four vice-presidents. Or there is a press-representative, or a purchasing-agent. In the magazines you seldom find merely an editor; the others need their share of honor, so they are associate (not assistant) editors. A dentist is called a doctor. The hotel valet is a tailor. Magistrates of police-courts are judges instead of merely Mr. I wandered into a university, knowing nobody, and casually asked for the dean. I was asked, ‘Which dean?’ In that building there were enough deans to stock all the English cathedrals. The master of a secret society is royal supreme knight commander. Perhaps I reached the extreme at a theatre in Boston, when I wanted something, I forget what, and was told that I must apply to the chief of the ushers. He was a mild little man, who had something to do with people getting into their seats, rather a come-down from the pomp and circumstance of his title. Growing interested, I examined my program, with the following result: It is not a large theatre, but it has a press-representative, a treasurer (box-office clerk), an assistant treasurer (box-office junior clerk), an advertising-agent, our old friend the chief of the ushers, a stage-manager, a head-electrician, a master of properties (in England called props), a leader of the orchestra (pity this—why not president?), and a matron (occupation unknown).” George might have unearthed some even stranger magnificoes in other play-houses. I once knew an ancient bill-sticker, attached permanently to a Baltimore theatre, who boasted the sonorous title of chief lithographer.
  I have already spoken of the freer use of Jew in England. In American newspapers it seems likely to be displaced by Hebrew, largely through the influence of Jewish advertisers who, for some strange reason or other, look upon Bebrew as more flattering. The Jews in England—that is, those of enough public importance to make themselves heard—are in the main of considerable education, and so they are above any silly shrinking from the name of Jew. But in the United States there is a class of well-to-do commercial Jews of a peculiarly ignorant and obnoxious type—chiefly department-store owners, professional Jewish philanthropists, and their attendant