Russell Baker Quotes

The goal of all inanimate objects is to resist man and ultimately defeat him.

Russell Baker

The worst thing about being a tourist is having other tourists recognize you as a tourist.

Russell Baker

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

All politicians are humble, and seldom let you forget it. They go around the country boasting about their humility. They are proud of their humility. Many are downright arrogant about their humility and insist that it qualifies them to be President.

Russell Baker

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

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

So there he is at last. Man on the moon. The poor magnificent bungler! He can't even get to the office without undergoing the agonies of the damned, but give him a little metal, a few chemicals, some wire and twenty or thirty billion dollars and, vroom!

Russell Baker

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

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

You talk a great deal about building a better world for your children, but when you are young you can no more envision a world inherited by your children than you can conceive of dying. The society you mold, you mold for yourself. It was this way with my generation. We were unhappy with what we inherited and we tried to reshape it in ways that would make it more tolerable to us. You were not uppermost in our thoughts. Now, in middle age, some of us are trying to rewrite history. Some of us tell you, "We labored and dared and sacrificed all for you yet we hear no thanks." You will not be unduly moved, I hope, by these laments. They are sentimental cries from persons so attached to the society they have rebuilt that they cannot bear the thought of seeing it overhauled by new proprietors.

Russell Baker

Of all the people insistently expressing their mental vacuity, none has a better excuse for an empty head than the newspaperman: If he pauses to restock his brain, he invites onrushing headlines to trample him flat.

Russell Baker

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

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

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

This may be why New Yorkers instinctively avoid making eye contact with each other in crowded places, why they "look right through you," as dismayed visitors often complain. They are not looking right through you at all; they are discreetly avoiding an intrusion into your space. They sense the danger in a place where a one-degree temperature rise can mean an explosion.

Russell Baker

The odd thing is not that we are in the business of overthrowing other people's governments, but that we can still be surprised when somebody reminds us of it. In Asia, in Latin America, Africa, the Mediterranean and the Middle East we have been propping up and knocking down governments more or less openly for the past twenty-five years. It is an established policy. Everybody knows it. It is supposed to be done covertly, which is only sensible if you hope to succeed since publicity in matters of this sort can only make the natives restless and defeat the project. Imagine the chauvinistic rallying around President Nixon that would have occurred if Canada, say, had announced that her agents were going to destabilize United States society so that discontented Americans could heave the Nixon Administration out of office.

Russell Baker
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