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Russell Baker – 30 Quotes

 

30 Quotes by Russell Baker

 

Americans like fat books and thin women.

– Russell Baker


Poetry is so vital to us until school spoils it.

– Russell Baker


Listen once in a while. It’s amazing what you can hear.

– Russell Baker


Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.

– Russell Baker


Don’t try to make children grow up to be like you, or they may do it.

– Russell Baker


Except for politics, no business is scrutinized more exhaustively than journalism.

– Russell Baker


When it comes to cars, only two varieties of people are possible – cowards and fools.

– Russell Baker


A day spent praising the earth and lamenting man’s pollutionist history makes you feel like a superior, sensitive soul.

– Russell Baker


Newspaper people, once celebrated as founts of ribald humor and uncouth fun, have of late lost all their gaiety, and small wonder.

– Russell Baker


Is fuel efficiency really what we need most desperately? I say that what we really need is a car that can be shot when it breaks down.

– Russell Baker


Rereading A.J. Liebling carries me happily back to an age when all good journalists knew they had plenty to be modest about, and were.

– Russell Baker


Anything that isn’t opposed by about 40 percent of humanity is either an evil business or so unimportant that it simply doesn’t matter.

– Russell Baker


Reporters thrive on the world’s misfortune. For this reason they often take an indecent pleasure in events that dismay the rest of humanity.

– Russell Baker


Usually, terrible things that are done with the excuse that progress requires them are not really progress at all, but just terrible things.

– Russell Baker


I gave up on new poetry myself 30 years ago when most of it began to read like coded messages passing between lonely aliens in a hostile world.

– Russell Baker


Anticipating that most poetry will be worse than carrying heavy luggage through O’Hare Airport, the public, to its loss, reads very little of it.

– Russell Baker


Inanimate objects can be classified scientifically into three major categories those that don’t work, those that break down and those that get lost.

– Russell Baker


Roosevelt’s declaration that Americans had ‘nothing to fear but fear itself’ was a glorious piece of inspirational rhetoric and just as gloriously wrong.

– Russell Baker


In an age when the fashion is to be in love with yourself, confessing to be in love with somebody else is an admission of unfaithfulness to one’s beloved.

– Russell Baker


The best discussion of trouble in boardroom and business office is found in newspapers’ own financial pages and speeches by journalists in management jobs.

– Russell Baker


You can always tell folks from nonfolks. Folks like to feel good, like to smile for the camera when there’s a big photo opportunity for a really good cause.

– Russell Baker


Children rarely want to know who their parents were before they were parents, and when age finally stirs their curiosity, there is no parent left to tell them.

– Russell Baker


An educated person is one who has learned that information almost always turns out to be at best incomplete and very often false, misleading, fictitious, mendacious – just dead wrong.

– Russell Baker


What the New Yorker calls home would seem like a couple of closets to most Americans, yet he manages not only to live there but also to grow trees and cockroaches right on the premises.

– Russell Baker


When sudden death takes a president, opportunities for new beginnings flourish among the ambitious and the tensions among such people can be dramatic, as they were when President Kennedy was killed.

– Russell Baker


There is a growing literature about the multitude of journalism’s problems, but most of it is concerned with the editorial side of the business, possibly because most people competent to write about journalism are not comfortable writing about finance.

– Russell Baker


Few expected very much of Franklin Roosevelt on Inauguration Day in 1933. Like Barack Obama seventy-six years later, he was succeeding a failed Republican president, and Americans had voted for change. What that change might be Roosevelt never clearly said, probably because he himself didn’t know.

– Russell Baker


Like all young reporters – brilliant or hopelessly incompetent – I dreamed of the glamorous life of the foreign correspondent: prowling Vienna in a Burberry trench coat, speaking a dozen languages to dangerous women, narrowly escaping Sardinian bandits – the usual stuff that newspaper dreams are made of.

– Russell Baker


Those who remember Washington’s cold war culture in the 1980s will recall the shocked reactions to Reagan’s intervention. People interested in foreign policy were astonished when in 1985 he met alone at Geneva – alone, not a single strategic thinker at his elbow! – with the Soviet Communist master Gorbachev.

– Russell Baker


Strategic thinkers were naturally rattled to find this outsider fooling around with their work. They had been thinking strategically when Reagan was just another movie actor playing opposite a chimpanzee, for heaven’s sake. They think Reagan is too naive, too innocent, to grasp the intellectual complexities of cold war strategy.

– Russell Baker