Russell Baker quotes

  • It is fitting that yesteryear's swashbuckling newspaper reporter has turned into today's solemn young sobersides nursing a glass of watered white wine after a day of toiling over computer databases in a smoke-free, noise-free newsroom.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Wine #Nursing #Glasses

  • 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

    #History #Progress #Done

  • The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this notion rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn't require any.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Real #Work #Writing

  • 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

    #Education #Information #Educated

  • The worst thing about being a tourist is having other tourists recognize you as a tourist.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Inspirational #Funny #Travel

  • Life is always walking up to us and saying, "Come on in, the living's fine," and what do we do? Back off and take its picture.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Life #Helping #Fine

  • A solved problem creates two new problems, and the best prescription for happy living is not to solve any more problems.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Two #Problem #Solve

  • Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Summer #Nature #Suffering

  • 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

    #Break Up #Work #Science

  • It seems to be a law in American life that whatever enriches us anywhere except in the wallet inevitably becomes uneconomic.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Law #Wallets

  • When it comes to cars, only two varieties of people are possible - cowards and fools.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Clever #Two #People

  • It was dramatic to watch my grandmother decapitate a turkey with an ax the day before Thanksgiving. Nowadays the expense of hiring grandmothers for the ax work would probably qualify all turkeys so honored with gourmet status.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Grandmother #Funny Thanksgiving #Turkeys

  • Misery no longer loves company. Nowadays it insists on it.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Love #Misery #Company

  • 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

    #Car #Needs #Fuel

  • The worst thing about the miracle of modern communications is the Pavlovian pressure it places upon everyone to communicate whenever a bell rings.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Communication #Miracle #Bells

  • New York is the only city in the world where you can get run down on the sidewalk by a pedestrian.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Running #New York #Cities

  • Don't try to make children grow up to be like you, or they may do it.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Children #Growing Up #Parenting

  • People seem to enjoy things more when they know a lot of other people have been left out of the pleasure.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Funny #Sarcastic #People

  • Americans like fat books and thin women.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Book #Usa #Moral

  • A group of politicians deciding to dump a President because his morals are bad is like the Mafia getting together to bump off the Godfather for not going to church on Sunday.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Sunday #America #Political

  • There's so much spectating going on that a lot of us never get around to living.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Life #Live Life

  • A day spent praising the earth and lamenting man's pollutionist history makes you feel like a superior, sensitive soul.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Men #Soul #Earth

  • Listen once in a while. It's amazing what you can hear.
    -- Russell Baker

  • Gerald Boyd was a classic specimen of the self-made man. Born poor, he worked and studied his way up out of poverty under the guidance of his widowed grandmother.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Grandmother #Men #Self

  • Ireland really is my problem; the breaking point of the huge suppuration which all British and all European society now is
    -- Russell Baker

    #Point Break #Problem #British

  • After two years studying what rewrite men did with the facts I phoned them, I knew that journalism was essentially a task of stringing together seamlessly an endless series of cliches.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Men #Years #Two

  • The charm of television entertainment is its ability to bridge the chasm between dinner and bedtime without mental distraction.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Bridges #Television #Dinner

  • Feel good about linking hands in human chain for good causes.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Hands #Feel Good #Causes

  • It's good for the soul to hear yourself as others hear you, and next time maybe, just maybe, you will not talk so much, so loudly, so brilliantly, so charmingly, so utterly shamelessly foolishly.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Soul #Next #Next Time

  • Journalism talk is part of the nonstop background noise of American life.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Noise #Journalism #Backgrounds

  • I am sitting here 93 million miles from the sun on a rounded rock which is spinning at the rate of 1000 miles an hour... and my head pointing down into space with nothing between me and infinity but something called gravity which I can't even understand, and which you can't even buy any place so as to have some stored away for a gravityless day...
    -- Russell Baker

    #Science #Space #Rocks

  • 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

    #Smile #Opportunity #Feel Good

  • Live by publicity, you'll probably die by publicity.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Publicity #Live By

  • Situation comedy on television has thrived for years on 'canned' laughter, grafted by gaglines by technicians using records of guffawing audiences that have been dead for years.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Laughter #Years #Records

  • Life seemed to be an educator's practical joke in which you spent the first half learning and the second half learning that everything you learned in the first half was wrong.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Firsts #Half #Educator

  • Television was the most revolutionary event of the century. Its importance was in a class with the discovery of gunpowder and the invention of the printing press, which changed the human condition for centuries afterward.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Discovery #Class #Events

  • Schoolteachers seemed determined to persuade me that 'classic' is a synonym for 'narcotic'.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Classic #Determined #Synonym

  • Poetry is so vital to us until school spoils it.
    -- Russell Baker

    #School #Poetry #Poetry Is

  • The twentieth century seems afflicted by a gigantic... power failure. Powerlessness and the sense of powerlessness may be the environmental disease of the age.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Society #Age #Environmental

  • Notice, for example, that people who talk about "the joys of childhood" are always adults. Only an adult, utterly remote from the reality of childhood, could suppose it is time of joys.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Children #Reality #People

  • Industrial-strength foolishness sets in-in males, at least-at about the age of 18. This is why the military prefers males in the 18-to-25-year-old range when there's combat to be done.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Military #Years #Age

  • A man doesn't amount to something because he has been successful at a third-rate career like journalism. It is evidence, that's all: evidence that if he buckled down and worked hard, he might some day do something really worth doing.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Successful #Men #Careers

  • Grass is the least rewarding of all status symbols... The grass does nothing but drink money, exhaust energies, crush spirits, destroy sleep, create tensions and interfere with the watching of baseball games, and sprout insolent signs ordering humans to keep off it.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Crush #Baseball #Sleep

  • Research is a scientific activity dedicated to discovering what makes grass green.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Research #Green #Grass

  • When you're the only pea in the pod, your parents are likely to get you confused with the Hope diamond.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Confused #Parent #Peas

  • Goat cheese... produced a bizarre eating era when sensible people insisted that this miserable cheese produced by these miserable creatures reared on miserable hardscrabble earth was actually superior to the magnificent creamy cheeses of the noblest dairy animals bred in the richest green valleys of the earth.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Animal #People #Valleys

  • The dirty work at political conventions is almost always done in the grim hours between midnight and dawn. Hangmen and politicians work best when the human spirit is at its lowest ebb.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Dirty #Government #Political

  • There are no liberals behind steering wheels.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Wheels #Steering #Behinds

  • The sinister nature of the American soil is apparent in places like Gettysburg. Fertilize it with the blood of heros, and it brings forth a frozen-custard stand.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Peace #War #Hero

  • Skinny women don't enjoy being told they're skinny nowadays. They enjoy telling you how they got that way, as though starvation were an achievement.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Sex #Achievement #Way

  • How many more years will our educators continue to lecture us on the evils of whipping children until they bring home high grades? Year after year we listen to these fellows tell us that it is not the grade that counts but the development of the child's personality. After the lecture they go back to all the best schools and reject our children because they have C averages.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Education #Children #School

  • A $10 million windfall? At today's prices, I'd feel almost as rich as I did one day in 1936 when I found a dime on the sidewalk and blew the whole wad on 20 Mary Jane candy bars, a box of jujubes, and a double feature.
    -- Russell Baker

    #One Day #Bars #Modern Life

  • Now scarcely a week goes by without a news story about the cops swooping down on some adolescent prowler who is as skilled at breaking into computer systems as defense contractors are at breaking into the Federal budget.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Defense #Modern Life #News

  • Sending grown-ups up the wall is one of the things adolescence is all about. A few years ago it was done with rock 'n' roll music. Now at least they can do it quietly with a home computer.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Wall #Home #Rocks

  • I worry about people who get born nowadays, because they get born into such tiny families--sometimes into no family at all. When you're the only pea in the pod, your parents are likely to get you confused with the Hope Diamond. And that encourages you to talk too much.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Family #Children #Confused

  • Though Americans talk a good deal about the virtue of being serious, they generally prefer people who are solemn over people who are serious. In politics, the rare candidate who is serious, like Adlai Stevenson, is easily overwhelmed by one who is solemn, like General Eisenhower. This is probably because it is hard for most people to recognize seriousness, which is rare, especially in politics, but comfortable to endorse solemnity, which is as commonplace as jogging.
    -- Russell Baker

    #People #Serious #Jogging

  • Most English speakers do not have the writer's short fuse about seeing or hearing their language brutalized. This is the main reason, I suspect, that English is becoming the world's universal tongue: English-speaking natives don't care how badly others speak English as long as they speak it. French, once considered likely to become the world's lingua franca, has lost popularity because those who are born speaking it reject this liberal attitude and become depressed, insulted or insufferable when their language is ill used.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Attitude #Long #World

  • There is no business like show business, Irving Berlin once proclaimed, and thirty years ago he may have been right, but not anymore. Nowadays almost every business is like show business, including politics, which has become more like show business than show business is.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Years #May #Berlin

  • The young cult of sociology, needing a language, invented one. There are many dead languages, but the sociologists' is the only language that was dead at birth.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Birth #Language #Sociology

  • 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

    #Jobs #Office #Speech

  • What sweeter words can fall on the human ear? It's going to be May all week long.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Fall #Long #Ears

  • The best thing about being President is that it gets you out of American life. I don't know what the theory is behind this, but it is a fact. The first thing we do with a President is shunt him off to a siding where nothing American can ever happen to him.
    -- Russell Baker

    #President #Firsts #Facts

  • Americans treat history like a cookbook. Whenever they are uncertain what to do next, they turn to history and look up the proper recipe, invariably designated "the lesson of history.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Lessons #Recipes #Next

  • I frankly admit to not knowing who I am. This is why I refuse to buy clothes that will tell people who I want them to think I am.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Thinking #Who I Am #Clothes

  • The Government cannot afford to have a country made up entirely of rich people, because rich people pay so little tax that the Government would quickly go bankrupt. This is why Government men always tell us that labor is man's noblest calling. Government needs labor to pay its upkeep.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Country #Men #People

  • While it is very sturdy of comfortable men to point out that life is unfair, the people it is unfair to are not apt to be morally or philosophically elevated by the announcement. If you are going to preach that unfairness is inescapable for some, good sense suggests that you also accept the inevitability of beastly behavior by people who have to carry the burden.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Men #People #Life Is

  • The old notion that brevity is the essence of wit has succumbed to the modern idea that tedium is the essence of quality.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Essence #Ideas #Quality

  • Inanimate objects can be classified scientifically into three major categories: those that don't work, those that break down and those that get lost. The goal of all inanimate objects is to resist man and ultimately to defeat him, and the three major classifications are based on the method each object uses to achieve its purpose. As a general rule, any object capable of breaking down at the moment when it is most needed will do so.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Men #Goal #Inanimate Objects

  • Long words, fat talk they may tell us something about ourselves. Has the passion for fat in the language increased as self-confidence has waned?
    -- Russell Baker

    #Passion #Self Confidence #Long

  • Urban people, of course, are terribly scared nowadays. They may yearn for society, but it is risky to go around talking to strangers, for a lot of reasons, one being that people are so accustomed not to have many human contacts that they are afraid they may find out they really prefer life that way.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Talking #People #May

  • Watergate left Washington a city ravaged by honesty.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Honesty #Cities

  • Unpleasant questions are being raised about Mother's Day. Is this day necessary? . . . Isn't it bad public policy? . . . No politician with half his senses, which a majority of politicians have, is likely to vote for its abolition, however. As a class, mothers are tender and loving, but as a voting bloc they would not hesitate for an instant to pull the seat out from under any Congressman who suggests that Mother is not entitled to a box of chocolates each year in the middle of May.
    -- Russell Baker

    #Mother #Years #Class