Quotations by Baker, Russell


One may speculate whether the contemporary idea of American society in decay is not a false notion which has been created, at least partially, by this old movie portrait of a society that was once stable, orderly and governed by the immutable justice of the Hollywood censorship code. This is the ever-popular myth of a golden age which persuades so many generations that there was once a wonderful moment in the past when the world was sound and good people ruled and evil was justly punished. After Camelot came chaos and despair, except, of course, that Camelot never existed, any more than the world portrayed by those old Hollywood films existed.

Russell Baker (1925-2019) American journalist, author, humorist
“Golden Oldies,” So This Is Depravity (1980)
Added on 15-Oct-10 | Last updated 15-Oct-10
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Baker, Russell

I am unclear what a “role model” is, but those who used the term seemed to be saying that teachers are people children tend to emulate. In any event, many Miamians must have thought their children would become homosexual if subjected to homosexual teachers. That prompted me to ponder teachers I haven’t seen, and scarcely thought about, for decades, and for the first time I reflected on how their sex lives had affected my own. My first thought was that it was curious, perhaps perverse, that I have not turned out to be a spinster. 

Russell Baker (1925-2019) American journalist, author, humorist
“Role Models,” So This Is Depravity (1980)
Added on 8-Oct-10 | Last updated 8-Oct-10
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Baker, Russell

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 (1925-2019) American journalist, author, humorist
“Talking Clothes,” So This Is Depravity (1973)
Added on 15-Apr-15 | Last updated 15-Apr-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Baker, Russell

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 (1925-2019) American journalist, author, humorist
“The Becoming Looseness of Doom,” There’s a Country in My Cellar (1990)
Added on 22-Oct-10 | Last updated 21-Oct-10
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Baker, Russell

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 (1925-2019) American journalist, author, humorist
“The Fact About Progress,” New York Times (24 Feb 1970)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 30-Jul-10
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Baker, Russell

In America, it is sport that is the opiate of the masses.

Russell Baker (1925-2019) American journalist, author, humorist
“The Muscular Opiate,” New York Times (3 Oct 1967)
Added on 10-Apr-14 | Last updated 10-Apr-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics:
More quotes by Baker, Russell

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 (1925-2019) American journalist, author, humorist
“The Unfairness of It All,” So This Is Depravity (1980)
Added on 1-Oct-10 | Last updated 1-Oct-10
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Baker, Russell

One of the many burdens of the person professing Christianity has always been the odium likely to be heaped upon him by fellow Christians quick to smell out, denounce and punish fraud, hypocrisy and general unworthiness among those who assert the faith. In ruder days, disputes about what constituted a fully qualified Christian often led to sordid quarrels in which the disputants tortured, burned and hanged each other in the conviction that torture, burning and hanging were Christian things to do .

Russell Baker (1925-2019) American journalist, author, humorist
New York Times (Dec. 1988)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Baker, Russell

Why do we expect our Presidents to control destiny when they cannot even control the House of Representatives?

Russell Baker (1925-2019) American journalist, author, humorist
Poor Russell’s Almanac, 2 August (1972)
Added on 2-Aug-12 | Last updated 2-Aug-12
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Baker, Russell

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

Russell Baker (1925-2019) American journalist, author, humorist
The Norton Book of Light Verse, Introduction (1986)
Added on 14-Oct-05 | Last updated 14-Oct-05
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Baker, Russell

The cheap contractions and revised spellings of the advertising world which have made the beauty of the written word almost unrecognizable — surely any society that permits the substitution of “kwik” for “quick” and “e.z.” for “easy” does not deserve Shakespeare, Eliot, or Michener.

Russell Baker (1925-2019) American journalist, author, humorist
Column, New York Times
Added on 5-Aug-13 | Last updated 15-Jul-13
Link to this post | No comments
More quotes by Baker, Russell